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3 artists selected as finalists for US 41-Fruitville roundabout sculpture

The Sarasota Public Art Committee has chosen its three preferred artists for a sculpture inside the roundabout at U.S. 41 and Fruitville Road.

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More than six months after the Sarasota City Commission sent it back to the drawing board, the city’s Public Art Committee has narrowed its list of sculptors for public art in the U.S. 41-Fruitville Road roundabout to three.

In April, commissioners rejected the committee’s choice of Dwell, a coral sculpture, by Canton, New York, artist Sujin Lim, and instructed committee chair Wendy Lerner to bring back three choices — not just one — and to provide additional guidance in the design of proposed pieces.

After seeking re-submittals from artists, the PAC on Wednesday selected three finalists for the project, including Lim. It will now invite proposals for what will be the third roundabout sculpture on U.S. 41, with more to follow in the city’s Art in the Roundabouts program.

In a first-of-its-kind program on Florida state-maintained highways, scheduled for installation in 2023 are sculptures in the roundabouts on U.S. 41 at 10th and 14th streets. The city’s public arts program is funded by a 0.5% fee on all new developments that cost at least $1 million.

Lim is joined as a finalist by Shan Shan Sheng of San Francisco and Mark Reigelman of Brooklyn, New York. Like Lim, both had submitted designs in the prior selection process. Alternates are Mark Aeling of St. Petersburg and Volkan Alkanoglu of Portland, Oregon.

An example of work by San Francisco sculptor Shan Shan Sheng. (Courtesy)
An example of work by San Francisco sculptor Shan Shan Sheng. (Courtesy)

Commissioners previously rejected the PAC’s recommendation and other higher-ranked submissions the first time around because they felt the sculptures did not reflect Sarasota’s environmental or cultural history. The committee then set about asking artists to reapply and reopened the application process via request for qualification.

It could still be more than two years before the selected piece is installed in the roundabout. A timeline developed by Sarasota Senior Planner and public art guru Mary Davis Wallace projects City Commission approval in January 2024 and submittal for concept review to FDOT two months later.

An example of work by Brooklyn, New York sculptor Mark Reigelman. (Courtesy)
An example of work by Brooklyn, New York sculptor Mark Reigelman. (Courtesy)

At least two members of the PAC won’t be involved in the Fruitville Road roundabout going forward. Their terms expiring, Leslie Butterfield and Joanne McCobb have attended their final meeting.

“When I started all these years ago it was a very different committee,” Butterfield said. “I think the members of this committee are much more engaged with art. They're not just on a public committee to be advisors. They are actually all very deeply interested in art and are becoming very knowledgeable.”




Andrew Warfield

Andrew Warfield is the Sarasota Observer city reporter. He is a four-decade veteran of print media. A Florida native, he has spent most of his career in the Carolinas as a writer and editor, nearly a decade as co-founder and editor of a community newspaper in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina.

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