BROOKSVILLE — Brooksville's annual Founders Week always brings a host of low-key events geared toward showcasing the Southern city's charm.
There are tours of Brooksville Cemetery, scones and tea at the Brooksville Woman's Club, and walking tours of homes and historic places in and around the downtown district.
The city's 157th birthday celebration, which runs Oct. 5 to 12, will include an artful twist with the unveiling of 10 sidewalk sculptures that will adorn locations throughout the downtown area. Dubbed citySCULPT, the sidewalk art gallery kicks off Oct. 5 with a gala at Hernando Park that will include an afternoon tea and sculpture walk, followed by a catered fundraising dinner.
The joint community project between the Brooksville Vision Foundation and the Brooksville City Hall Art Gallery will feature creations by regional and statewide artists whose works will remain on display for a year, said event chairwoman Michael Heard.
For the past several weeks, Heard and other committee members have been scouring the city in search of locations for the sculptures that will ensure maximum visibility to the public. Interest in the project has been strong among business owners and residents, Heard said.
"People I've talked to are very excited about having such a unique attraction here," she said. "I think everyone believes the sculptures will give Brooksville an identity and an image boost that we could really use right now."
The idea of hosting the sculpture gallery came from City Hall gallery director Rachel Fogarty-Oleson, whose husband, artist James Oleson, created the Knight Returns sculpture that is outside City Hall.
Fogarty-Oleson said she has visited several Florida cities where sculpture walks have proved successful in drawing visitors and pedestrian traffic. Several municipalities, including Winter Haven and DeLand, annually plan community events that coincide with the displays.
According to Heard, participating artists will be paid a stipend to help transport their works and will receive proceeds from the sale of their pieces.
The sculptures, all of which will be mounted on concrete pedestals, will be located primarily in a four-block area bordered by Liberty Street and Fort Dade, Lemon and Brooksville avenues. Heard said she plans to put some of the sculptures near the city's collection of historic murals.
The sculpture project will be paid for by pedestal sponsorships and proceeds from the dinner. Proceeds from the event will also go toward completing the pergola project at Hernando Park.
Logan Neill can be reached at [email protected] or (352) 848-1435.