Sarasota Issues National and Regional Calls to Artists

Public Art


The City of Sarasota has issued two calls to artists this week for original artwork to be installed at two locations in Downtown Sarasota—one at the new State Street Garage and the other as part of the planned roundabout at North Palm Avenue and Cocoanut Avenue—the latest in an ongoing city initiative to construct close to 16 new roundabouts with public art by 2025. Artist proposals are due October 23 and 31 respectively and both projects are expected to be completed during the next year.

As with this past April’s Call to Artists for the incoming Orange Avenue/Ringling Boulevard roundabout, the Call to Artists for the Palm/Cocoanut roundabout is a national call and open to all artists across the country, with a project budget of $150,000. However, the city has given area artists an opportunity in their hometown with a regional call for the State Street Garage location, limiting the project to proposals from artists who live or work within a 150-mile radius of Sarasota. The specificity of the building also played a factor, says Dr. Clifford Smith, senior planner for the City of Sarasota, as artists should take the time to visit the location and understand the dimensions for themselves. The project budget is $100,000.

The city has expressed no stylistic preferences or limitations on submissions but offered some general direction for artists to consider. The roundabout project will be outside and in traffic—so the project should be durable enough to withstand the weather and able to be appreciated from afar (across the street) while not distracting drivers. The State Street Garage call, however, asks that artists consider how their work could complement the building’s design in helping people navigate to their cars.

Interested artists must submit their qualifications and a brief statement describing the intended piece (including title, media, dimensions, weight and other specifics) along with accompanying images for assessment by the Public Art Committee, which will make its recommendation to the City Commission. For the Palm/Cocoanut roundabout, the committee will select three finalists, who will be invited to pitch their project in person to the committee, before selecting its recommendation. In the case of the State Street Garage artwork, the Public Art Committee will rank submissions in a public meeting before choosing five finalists to make their final pitches. In the end, the City Commission will decide on both, as the final results will become part of the city’s permanent public art collection.

“The City of Sarasota is known for its culture, it’s known for its art and this is all in the public view,” says Smith. “It’s very exciting and dynamic to have all the public art out around downtown so when people are traversing through our city this is what they see.”

Next, the city is eyeing the roundabout at 10th and 14th streets, says Smith, but is reliant on Florida Department of Transportation scheduling: “We have to look at these as they come available.”

View the full Call to Artists for the State Street Garage location here.

View the full Call to Artists for the Palm/Cocoanut roundabout here.

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