Public art displays coming to Boca
City is adding more color and interest to its streets and parks; artists wanted
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