Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Carlton: Public art seeks a place in the heart of Tampa

Tampa has its interesting public art, from metal horses on Bayshore Boulevard to theatrically lighted downtown bridges to all the sculpture, statuary and such in between.

But sometimes we struggle, artwise. A massive metal sculpture nicknamed the Exploding Chicken once graced (or marred, depending on your perspective) a respectable corner outside a tall downtown office building. A bona fide Sugarman piece, it was nonetheless shunned and exiled until it was recently reborn at a kitschier spot in a traffic roundabout near the Channelside entertainment complex. It seems much happier there.

The latest dustup is over a piece by Yaacov Agam titled Visual Welcome — 10 feet high, brightly colored aluminum panels that appear to move as you pass. Tucked near the edge of a park where pretty much no one saw it, Visual Welcome was bound for better digs at a spot along Tampa's graceful, well-traveled Bayshore Boulevard.

Not so fast. Some residents objected, worried that the art would block water views. Apparently, there was also some confusion about its size. And at least one person thought Visual Welcome meant city officials were about hoist a big "Welcome!" sign in front of the mansions on Tampa's toniest street. As if.

The good news: Bayshore is a long and winding road with enough median for everyone, says City Council member Harry Cohen. "The key with these things is finding the right spot," he says. "In a city that is hundreds of square miles, we can find the right spot."

Hey, the chicken found its roost. It can happen.

Speaking of art, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn says he is not against that patchwork of colorful graffiti visiting rowing crews traditionally paint along the Hillsborough River seawalls. He says he's only interested in erasing a piece of it by the Kennedy Boulevard bridge to make way for a public art light installation on the Riverwalk.

Me, I think it would be nice if art-to-come could work around art-already-here. But if the City Council is inclined to agree to removing piece after hearing from the public, hopefully they will be able to give firm assurances this isn't the first step toward ending a Tampa tradition.

And did Buckhorn, a man who does not shy from a camera, miss a major photo opportunity this week — at the opening of his public park legacy, no less?

(Want proof of said legacy? Note what's etched in stone at the entrances to the new park on the river just north of downtown: WATER WORKS PARK ESTABLISHED 2014 MAYOR BOB BUCKHORN, it says in deeply grooved letters. Yes, one of those park plaques that includes the names of City Council members is coming, too, the mayor confirmed.)

Contenders for what's best in the new park abound: The sweeping river views? The flowing spring? And right up there is a giant elevated yellow bucket at the splash park that regularly fills with water and tips to soak everyone below.

So if you are a mayor who does love his photo ops — in a fighter jet, clad in shamrocks, riding a bike in a tie — how are you not in that splash shot?

"I thought about that all weekend long," the mayor said. "You don't know how close I came" — held back only by thought of himself pictured in a soaked T-shirt and an 8-year-old daughter who might never speak to him again.

Carlton: Public art seeks a place in the heart of Tampa 08/15/14 [Last modified: Friday, August 15, 2014 10:05pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. On the Camino de Santiago, Day 24: A pilgrim reaches the Cruz de Ferro, an important milestone on the journey to Santiago

    Travel

    Day 24: Foncebadon to Molinaseca: 20.3 km, 6 hours. Total for Days 1-24 = 561 km (349 miles)

  2. Sprint is reportedly seeking a merger with Charter, the nation's second-biggest cable company

    Business

    Sprint, the nation's fourth-largest wireless network, is pursuing a merger with the cable company Charter Communications, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal.

  3. Steve Cishek latest bullpen upgrade for Rays, who now must translate that to wins

    The Heater

    NEW YORK — The Rays made another addition to change the look of their bullpen Friday in acquiring veteran side-armer and former closer Steve Cishek from Seattle.

    Reliever Steve Cishek has a 3.15 ERA in 20 games after recovering from offseason hip surgery and a 1.86 ERA since a rocky second outing of the season.
  4. Ex-priest in Boston sex abuse scandal released from prison

    Nation

    BOSTON — A convicted pedophile priest at the center of Boston's Roman Catholic clergy sex abuse scandal settled into an apartment in western Massachusetts on Friday, across the street from a children's dance studio.

    Paul Shanley, 86, has completed a 12-year sentence for the rape of a boy in the 1980s.
  5. Russia seizes 2 U.S. properties and orders embassy to cut staff

    World

    MOSCOW — Russia took its first steps Friday to retaliate against proposed U.S. sanctions for Moscow's suspected meddling in the 2016 election, seizing two U.S. diplomatic properties and ordering the U.S. Embassy to reduce staff by September.