Sarasota Public Art Committee choose art sculptures for roundabouts

Roundabout Art Installations

SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Over the past several years, a number of art structures have been installed at roundabouts throughout the City of Sarasota.

Now, the city’s public arts committee chooses their two new sculptures. “The Life in Seagrass” sculpture by Solano for the intersection of U.S. 41 and 10th Street and “Poly” by Nancy Hou for the intersection of U.S. 41 and 14th Street.

Although there is some push-back about art being on Sarasota Roads, city officials told us that it will add character once they’re completed. “Each artist will have half an hour.”

With over 200 submissions, it’s all came down to 6. Public Art Committee Chair, Leslie Butterfield, explained that the structures would make a great sense of community. “Art is a wonderful venue for making people feel more at home and more interested in the place that they are," Butterfield said.

Each roundabout budgeted for $150,000 all paid for by local developers. “When a developer creates a building and participates in this percent for art which is mandatory for most types of buildings, commercial buildings in particular," Butterfield said.

Butterfield explained that while there is some apprehension about developer money not going to things like schools and fighting homelessness, she feels that this art contributes to city development.

“I think people aren’t always clear about the value of public art for the community," Butterfield said. "We are just a small program compared to major cities. People are warming up to it and it’s getting better.”

The city’s planning director, Steven Cover, even pointing to a future ordinance that may expand the art program. A program that he says will make for easier driving.

“From a safety standpoint, you don’t want people looking through roundabouts to the other side,” Cover said. “It actually provides a block so people can concentrate more on the roundabout when they are going through it.”

We also spoke to FDOT on Thursday. They told us that roundabout completion is still set for the Spring of 2020. Those chosen art structures will be built once the roundabouts are complete.

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