Orange County officials, artists and citizens recently gathered for the unveiling of a new art exhibit of five large sculptures on the lawn of the Orange County Government Administration Center.
“Thanks to the hard work of so many arts supporters, today we are experiencing a wonderful renaissance of the arts in Central Florida,” Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs said. “Events like this are truly a collective effort – we’re so proud to support the arts, but without the individual artists, and without those who believe in the arts, we wouldn’t be here today.”
The five sculptures were selected by Orange County’s Public Art Review Board from more than 100 sculptures submitted by nearly three dozen artists. The sculptures will be displayed for a year.
The Public Art Review Board, overseen by the Orange County Arts & Cultural Affairs Advisory Council (ACAAC), surveyed temporary sculpture programs throughout the state before committing to the exhibit. The board raised $20,000 in private funds to present the exhibition and rent the sculptures from the artists. Lighting will be installed in the near future, and the board hopes to make the exhibit an annual event.
“During the past decade of working at Orange County, that lawn has been crying out to me for some art,” said Terry Olson, director of Orange County Arts & Cultural Affairs. “I’m very grateful for the Public Art Review Board’s leadership under Jennifer Quigley in making this come true so that the thousands of citizens who pass this lawn each year can be surprised and delighted by the sculptures.”
The selected artists and their sculptures are: Jacob Harmeling, Orlando, “Micro Banyan,” a tree-like vine that culminates in a beautiful glass blossom; Julia Ousley, Dallas, “Skyline II,” recycled wood in a vertical puzzle with carved figures that evokes the buildings and people of a city skyline; Chris Scala, Orlando, “Red Ladder,” a geometric totem made with a red mesh; and Jonathan Schork, St. Petersburg, “For the children of astrios & eos i: canticle,” a fourteen-foot wind chime that gently gongs in the breeze. The one-month installation by Dale Wayne, Altamonte Springs, called “Joy’s Horizon – Building Bridges,” is made of more than 10,000 recycled water bottles collected by school children and others that create a colorful floral wall.
"The opportunities our city has created not only for performing artists, but now for three-dimensional artists to be seen and allowed to thrive as a business is a breath of fresh air,” said Orlando artist Jacob Harmeling of QUI Design Studios Inc. “Being a native to Florida and an artist with a business here, I couldn't be more honored to be at the forefront of Orlando's renaissance in art."
Sponsors of the four sculptures who each gave $5,000 were Picton and Carla Warlow; Ford Kiene and Jennifer Quigley; the Downtown Arts District and Power2Give.org. The crowdsourcing site Power2Give raised its $5,000 through donations by local art lovers Lauren Buckner, David Freeman, Tim Grogan, Edward Hensley, Terry Olson and John Terwilliger, which were matched 50 cents for every dollar by Bank of America. The Sponsor of the opening reception was The Awesome Foundation, Orlando Chapter.
The mission of the ACAAC is to elevate Central Florida’s arts and culture to a status benefitting a world-class community. A resolution of the Orange County Board of County Commissioners (BCC) created the Council in 2002 and also called for the formation of a public art committee. The Public Art Review Board was launched in 2003 and its first project was the establishment of a rotating exhibition in the BCC chamber. Every four months a new exhibition of loaned artwork is put on display inside the BCC chambers to showcase both art from local museums and/or collections created by nationally-known artist that live or work in Orange County.
A collection of photos from the Sculpture Dedication Event is available on Flickr for use by the media.