Monday, November 25, 2013

The Sea Urchin

11-19-13SeaUrchinOn November 18th, Mayor Buddy Dyer dedicated Orlando's permanent contemporary sculpture collection. See Art Orlando was responsibly for bringing eight sculptures to downtown. Most of the sculptures are around lake Eola. See Art Orlando’s mission is to enhance the aesthetic experience and cultural image of Downtown Orlando through a major Public Sculpture Community Project. The installation of iconic works of art throughout the City will bring National and International attention to Orlando and will add to the economic viability of the community. The operating funds come from partnerships with corporations, family trusts, charitable grants and individual donations.
This sculpture by Wendy Ross is in the Seaside Plaza (201 S. Orange Avenue Orlando FL) just 2 blocks from City Hall. It's erect similarity to the Asparagus in front of City Hall is astounding. One patron approaching the site said, "It looks like a Sea Urchin." The mayor and his entourage walked past me just as I was starting this sketch. Rick Singh, the Orange County Property Appraiser stopped to tell me that there was a collection of art work in his offices. Yulissa Arch, his outreach coordinator gave me her card. I had met Rick's wife at a Mennello Museum event and she impressed me as someone who truly appreciates art. Obviously so does Rick.

I had walked past many of the other sculptures on my way to Seaside Plaza. Each sculpture site had live musicians and libations. It was nice that the city lifted the ordinance that usually shuts down live performances on the streets of downtown for one night. As you approached each sculpture, you would hear musicians at work. Barricades surrounded sculptures where beer was being served. One woman walked away from a sculpture of a woman partially buried in the Lake Eola landscape. A policeman stopped the woman with the beer and told her she had to drink it inside the barricades. She took the order with good humor and returned to chug her drink.

The biggest party seemed to be at the Jacob Harmeling sculpture at Central and Osceola Avenue next to where the Farmers Market sets up and where "Food Not Bombs" used to share food before the police arrests and endless law suits shut this site down. This food sharing program now happens at City Hall. Jacob is the one local artist who is part or the sculpture project. Most of the sculptures light up using color changing diodes like those used in the Asparagus. I have to admit that the polished chrome illuminated sculptures do light up downtown, but I doubt many tourists will leave International Drive or the theme parks.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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