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Parking garage murals planned

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  • | 4:00 a.m. August 18, 2011
  • Sarasota
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The city’s Palm Avenue parking garage walls may soon become a haven for artists.

Chris Gallagher, senior planner for Sarasota-based Jonathan Parks Architect, told the Public Art Committee last week that he is seeking $25,000 from the committee to solicit the work of five artists to paint murals on five of the garage’s six floors.

The only problem is Gallagher’s firm wants city approval soon because it hopes the project can begin near the end of October and be complete by the first week in November.

Jonathan Parks Architect, which designed the garage, planned to incorporate art into the project, Gallagher said.

“We have a policy of putting art in all our buildings downtown,” Gallagher said. “Wouldn’t it be great if we could do something to get art there and encourage people to visit every floor of the garage to see the art?”
The concept includes the painting of sweeping, colorful murals, with a different theme planned for each floor.

“The idea is to attract a separate artist for each floor to do something extraordinary,” Gallagher said.

Examples include a dance theme for the second floor, a film theme for the third floor, a music theme for the fourth floor, a theater theme for the fifth floor and an opera theme for the sixth floor.

Gallagher estimates the cost of the project will be $25,000, with $5,000 being allocated to each of the five artists.

The city’s zoning code requires that every new downtown project set aside .5% of the construction cost toward downtown artwork, which means $54,000 was set aside from the garage project for future artwork purposes.

Although the Public Art Committee was receptive to the project, it was unwilling to approve the project until a special meeting can be held to discuss the project further and the types of murals that would be created.

“We have never approved artwork we have never seen before,” said committee member George Haborak.

Gallagher hopes the project can be approved soon to meet the project deadline.

“We could be turning something as mundane as a parking garage, into something dynamic,” Gallagher said.

The following artists for a Palm Avenue parking garage mural project are being proposed:
• Eduardo Kobra —
• Chor Boggie —
• Erni Vales —
• Skip Dydra —
• Marco and Monica Bell —


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