No matter how you feel about roundabouts, at least putting public art in them can offer eye candy.
Following a call to artists last year, the City of Sarasota's Public Art Committee yesterday selected one of three artists' work to recommend to City of Sarasota commissioners. The commissioners will then officially select a finalist and the artwork will be installed at the center of the roundabout circle at Fruitville Road and Tamiami Trail.
Sujin Lim of Canton, New York, won the Public Art Committee's recommendation with her colorful, resin-cast sculpture of a coral called Dwell, pictured above. Committee members appreciated that it was "playful, colorful and easy to understand."
During yesterday's presentation, Lim said, "This site is a gateway to the beaches. I wanted to bring what's offshore, onshore and incorporate the color of the sky and sun. There's the habitat underwater, and the new buildings nearby are the habitat of the humans. The coral would merge the two habitats."
Lim also made her sculpture colorful, to pop against the neutral colors of the surrounding buildings.
The City Commission is expected to pick the finalist in March. Although Dwell was unanimously recommended by the Public Art Committee, the commission does have the option of denying it and choosing one of the other two contenders instead.
One option is an orchid-inspired piece called Whorligig by Mark Aeling of St. Petersburg.
Another option is a rendering by Shan Shan Sheng of San Francisco, who presented a painted-glass sundial concept called Open Gate to welcome visitors and new residents. It would have been lit at night using solar power. (Click here to learn more about Whorligig, and here to learn more about Open Gate.)
Criteria for submissions included compatibility with the neighborhood, safety, a message that promotes diversity, and a piece that—along with the existing collection of public roundabout art—showcases a broad range of styles and has little need for maintenance.
The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) must also sign off on the final pick. Commissioners also hope to have a discussion with FDOT about increasing the sculpture's scale, since the roundabout is so large. Currently, the height limit for the sculpture is 20 feet.
There’s a budget of no more than $175,000 for the sculpture, which will be funded by developer contributions to the city's Public Art Fund. When completed, the piece will become part of the city’s permanent public art collection.
Building Dwell could take up to six months. It would be created in Wisconsin and transported to Sarasota. The hope is to install it by summer 2023.