Tarpon public art committee ID’ing potential sites

TARPON SPRINGS — Seeking to add to the city’s aesthetic and cultural appeal, the Tarpon Springs officials and a group of volunteers are busy locating just the right spot for a future work of public art.
Lynn Pierson, chair of the Tarpon Springs Public Art Committee, presented the group’s annual report to city commissioners last month and provided an update on the project.
The committee’s been working closely with city staff in identifying potential sites, but it wants to include as many voices among the community as possible.
“We’re putting together a contact list of various business leaders in town as well as nonprofit community leaders that we want to invite on a monthly basis to come and listen in and give us some thoughts in terms of how they see public art in the community,” Pierson said Monday. The committee meets on the third Tuesday of every month from 10 a.m. to noon at the Tarpon Springs Public Library, 138 E. Lemon St.
Some of the preliminary targeted locations include the historic downtown, the Fred Marquis Pinellas Trail, Live Oak Street and Safford Avenue, where a recreation area is under construction, Lemon Street and around Spring Bayou.
The committee is collaborating with the city in reviewing these initial sites and others to determine their individual suitability.
“We’ve looked at a lot of other potential areas but we first needed to go to the city to see if these were even buildable,” Pierson said. “There’s a lot of infrastructure underground so that narrowed our list considerably.”
Once the list of potential locations is narrowed, she said, then actual types and styles of artwork can begin to be imagined.
Beyond just adding pleasant visuals around town, the expansion of public art displays can benefit the city in a number of ways, Pierson said at the July meeting.
“Developing public art in a community has a lot of long-range implications in terms of offering opportunities for visitors to see unique art that represents the community and allowing the community itself to begin to have ownership of creative aspects,” she said. “They can take some pride in new ways of showing off who we are.”
Pierson said the committee has finished developing artist’s plaques that will be mounted with existing and future works around town. The first is expected to be installed this fall at the large “Sunburst of Energy” mural that artist and writer Elizabeth Indianos created on the wall of the Craig Park Recreation Center. Indianos painted the mural in 1978 and it has been restored twice.
Residents and community members interested in getting involved with the Tarpon Springs Public Art Committee can call Cultural and Civic Services at (727) 937-0686.
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