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Parking garage mural project approved

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  • | 4:00 a.m. September 29, 2011
  • Sarasota
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The city’s first interior public-art project, planned for the walls of the Palm Avenue parking garage, received approval from the Public Art Committee Tuesday.

The project, which now must be reviewed by the Sarasota City Commission at its Monday, Oct. 3 regular meeting, will begin near the end of October if commissioners approve the project and its $25,000 funding request.

Public art board members voted 5-0 to approve the expenditure of $25,000 in public-art funds to create the first downtown public art mural project. The funds will be equally divided among five artists, who will each be responsible for painting one floor of the garage.

The concept for a Palm Avenue parking garage includes painting sweeping, colorful murals, with a different theme planned for each floor.

The mural themes 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.

The Sarasota Chalk Festival will likely be incorporated into the project; the artists will save some mural space for the artwork of local children.

Chris Gallagher, senior planner for Sarasota-based Jonathan Parks Architect, assuaged past concerns that public art should only be placed on the outside of public buildings, by explaining city code allows for it if the inside of the building is accessible to the public.

The city already set aside money for art in the facility. The city’s zoning code requires that for every new project downtown it sets aside a half-percent of the construction cost toward downtown artwork, which means $54,000 was set aside from the garage for future artwork purposes.

The garage officially re-opens Nov. 1, and Gallagher hopes the five artists selected could begin work on the project before the structure re-opens.

Chalk Festival Director Denise Kowal told board members that the festival can help promote the mural project and that the public could watch the murals being painted during the festival.

“We feel this is a jewelry box people can keep discovering and will help the public discover the reasons why you do want to park downtown,” Kowal said. “The exposure this will get (through the festival) is 10-fold than it would get if it were (painted) on its own (without festival exposure).”


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