Pub­lic art dis­plays com­ing to Boca

City is adding more color and in­ter­est to its streets and parks; artists wanted

South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Sunday) - - Local - By Anne Geg­gis Staff writer

Boca Ra­ton’s first developer de­clared the city “the world’s most beau­ti­ful re­sort” — but only now, decades later, is pub­lic art be­com­ing part of the scene.

The city known for a sig­na­ture style ex­pressed in the curved arches and red-tile roofs of its build­ings is just start­ing to put selfie-wor­thy at­trac­tions along Boca’s streets and in its parks.

Life-size sculp­tures of pedes­tri­ans are along the Fed­eral High­way side of the Boca Ra­ton Mu­seum of Art in hopes of invit­ing real ones. And for the first time, the city is putting out an ap­peal for a mu­ral­ist to dec­o­rate a beach­side wall.

Boca has at­tracted global tal­ent to its an­nual art fes­ti­val and it’s one of a few cities with its own art mu­seum. But street-level man­i­fes­ta­tions of imag­i­na­tion — the type of pub­lic art seen in other area cities — have been ne­glected dur­ing Boca Ra­ton’s strato­spheric growth over the past few decades, said Coun­cil­woman An­drea O’Rourke, the driv­ing force be­hind a new city board, Art in Pub­lic Places, which was formed six months ago.

“Boca has not been fo­cused on this layer of the com­mu­nity. It’s been all about development and busi­ness,” O’Rourke said. “To me … this is an as­pect that grows the eco­nom­ics of your com­mu­nity.

“We have such strict rules here,” she added. “No one was think­ing out­side the box.”

So far, the city and the Greater Boca Ra­ton Beach & Parks Dis­tricts have con­trib­uted $20,000 each as the city tip­toes to­ward adding more color and in­ter­est to its streets and parks, be­yond the metic­u­lous land­scap­ing and flow­er­ing plants the city also is known for.

The first call to artists asks for a de­sign to en­liven the west wall of Red Reef Park, now an ex­panse of white with green trim.

Pro­pos­als are due this week, and the results will be unveiled Oct. 20 at the Boca Gum­boFest, a fundraiser for the Gumbo Limbo Na­ture Cen­ter, at 1400 N. Ocean Blvd.

Next up, pro­pos­als will be sought for paint­ing the plain, con­crete tun­nels that lead from the park­ing lot of Span­ish River Park to the beach.

“We want to make pub­lic spa­ces more ex­cit­ing as a gath­er­ing place,” said Irvin Lipp­man, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Boca Ra­ton Mu­seum of Art and chair­man of the newly formed pub­lic art board.

But it’s not go­ing to stop at the beach, O’Rourke said. Re­quir­ing

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