By Steve Plunkett
Artists had just two weeks in August to fight for the honor of being chosen to paint one of up to 10 murals at Red Reef Park.
The city’s Art in Public Places advisory board is supervising the project, its first, and planned to pick the winners Sept. 5.
“The preferred artist(s) will have an extensive background in street art with proven results in public spaces, civic and community engagement to create innovative temporary public art project(s),” the advisory board said in its Aug. 16 Call to Artists.
Boca Raton City Council member Andrea O’Rourke secured $40,000 for the effort, half from the City Council and half from the Greater Boca Raton Beach & Park District.
“Artists are not going to make a fortune painting murals in Boca at this time,” she said at the council’s Aug. 20 workshop meeting. “But we’re looking at this as something to enrich the community, and hopefully the artists see that as an advantage for them.”
The call to artists carried an Aug. 31 deadline. Muralists were asked to provide a statement describing “the conceptual basis for your practice and approach” and a proposed concept that is “developed enough to provide clear understanding of the purpose, content and media of the mural and its relationship to Gumbo Limbo Nature Center, Red Reef Park West and the surrounding beaches and coastal area.”
They also had to submit a résumé and up to 10 examples of completed artwork or projects.
“This visual arts initiative not only beautifies our city but showcases artistic talent from our community and beyond,” said Ruby Childers, the city’s downtown manager and liaison to the advisory board.
The murals will be painted around a maintenance yard in the golf course’s parking lot that borders the southern path to Gumbo Limbo.
“We identified some walls in the maintenance area that are just canvas just begging for some attention,” O’Rourke said.
The plan is to reveal the finished murals Oct. 20, the same day the volunteer Friends of Gumbo Limbo holds a fundraiser at the nature center.