The Coastal Star

Boca Raton: Artists chosen for wall murals near Gumbo Limbo

Six South Florida artists will paint murals near Gumbo Limbo Nature Center. These are some proposals they presented to Boca Raton’s Art In Public Places advisory board. ABOVE: Craig McInnis of West Palm Beach. BELOW LEFT: Peter Agardy of Boca Raton. BELOW RIGHT: Kristin Pavlick of Delray Beach. A ceremony to unveil the finished works is scheduled for 11 a.m. Oct. 20. Renderings provided

By Steve Plunkett

Giant sea turtles, a gumbo limbo tree, mahi-mahi, swordfish and a school of hungry snook will festoon the walls of a Red Reef Park maintenance yard later this month in the city’s first foray into art in public places.
Boca Raton’s Art In Public Places advisory board in September chose six South Florida artists to paint murals around the yard in the park’s golf course parking lot near the southern pathway to the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center.
The artists — Ivan Roque of Miami; Craig McInnis of West Palm Beach; Tom D’Auria of Lake Worth; Georgeta Fondos of Coral Springs; Kristin Pavlick of Delray Beach; and Peter Agardy of Boca Raton — presented their final renderings to the board Sept. 27. Four of the six images feature fish, four depict a sea turtle, and two show coral up close.
“I think it’s cool how we’re taking kind of the same thing and we’re all looking at it in a different way,” Pavlick said.
Fondos, who will create the “title wall,” said her turtle subject would also serve as a way finder.
“Gumbo Limbo is right there and the turtle is kind of pointing to it,” she said.
The mural painters were eager to start working. City Council member Andrea O’Rourke, who secured $20,000 from Boca Raton and another $20,000 from the Greater Boca Raton Beach & Park District to cover expenses and stipends for the artists, said a beach resident promised her he would record the progress of the project with a drone camera.
The walls are 6 feet tall. Fondos’ section is the smallest, only 6 feet 2 inches wide. Roque’s section is widest, 68 feet.
Roque was wavering on which colors to use. “I’m still debating whether to go with the purple flowers or to go with maybe purple vines and yellow flowers,” he said.
The finished works will be revealed at an 11 a.m. ceremony Oct. 20. At noon, the Friends of Gumbo Limbo are hosting what they hope will become an annual fundraiser, the Boca GumboFest. Ticket discounts to the fundraiser are available until Oct. 13 at www.gumbolimbo.org.
Besides exposing visitors to the murals, “one of our goals is to start a conversation” about the role of art in public places, said advisory board chairman Irvin Lippman, who is also executive director of the Boca Raton Museum of Art.
O’Rourke spent the morning at a Downtown Business Alliance breakfast extolling the virtues of the program and hoping to plant the idea of businesses sponsoring artistic efforts.
“I’m a huge believer that art and culture really is an economy booster,” O’Rourke said.

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