Life in the Seagrass, by Casto Solano, is intended for the roundabout at U.S. 41 and 10th Street. A call to artists will soon provide a vision for the roundabout at U.S. 41 and Fruitville as well. 

Whether you’re a fan of Sarasota’s myriad roundabouts when it comes to traffic flow or not, they do provide a canvas for public art. The City of Sarasota has just issued another competitive call to artists to create a sculpture in the newest completed roundabout, at U.S. 41 and Fruitville Road. The submission process for ideas is open through Sept. 16.

Submissions must complement the roundabout’s downtown location and meet the required criteria, including height, lighting, noninteractive form and the ability to meet the demands of our climate.

There’s a budget figure of no more than $175,000 for the sculpture, which will be funded by developer contributions to the Public Art Fund. When completed, the piece will become part of the City’s permanent public art collection.

Three finalists selected by the Public Art Committee (PAC) will make in-person presentations to the committee, which will then make a recommendation to the City Commission for consideration. The final candidate will be asked to “engage the City and community stakeholders before designing the artwork” at the highly visible location, according to the press release. And the selected piece will also be submitted to the Florida Department of Transportation for review and approval.

By the way, in case you’re wondering what’s happening with two roundabout pieces already accepted for the intersections at U.S. 41 and 10th and 14th streets, Public Senior Art Planner Mary Davis Wallace says those artworks (Casto Solano’s Life in the Seagrass and Nancy Hou’s Poly, respectively) are in fabrication. However, "due to impacts of Covid-19 and construction scheduling for roundabouts downtown, we anticipate installation will take place mid- to late-summer 2022,” rather than as originally intended months earlier.

A request for qualifications for the Fruitville Road roundabout art is available here. Professional artists may submit proposals online at no cost. For more info, contact Mary Davis Wallace at [email protected] or call (941) 263-6349.

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