Public Art Showcase
Whimsical Pelican Statue finds a new home at the Tarpon Springs Historic Sponge Docks
Artist: Mike Elwell
The City of Tarpon Springs through the Public Art Committee (PAC) installed a jolly bronze pelican statue by local artist Mike Elwell, complete with a Tarpon Springs baseball cap, flip flops, pink flamingo Hawaiian shirt and comfortably seated on a bench with welcoming wings wide open. The whimsical statue looks as if it is begging someone to sit beside him. And the PAC hopes people will do just that. It is destined to become a favorite spot for making photo memories of a visit to the Tarpon Springs historic Sponge Docks.
Elwell, whose bronze statues have populated posh Beach Drive in downtown St. Petersburg for years, submitted a proposal to the PAC in October 2021 with a variety of bronze originals available. The Public Art Committee was immediately drawn to the Pelican sculpture Elwell titled Catching Some Rays since the Sponge Docks is a vibrant working seaport and attracts many live pelicans when the boats bring in their catch. The bronze pelican is located immediately east of the Tarpon Sponge Company, 735 Dodecanese Boulevard, an area where tour boats dock.
“The Public Art Committee is thrilled to add a new addition to the assemblage of beautiful bronze statues that enhance the City of Tarpon Springs by a number of accomplished artists,” said Public Art Committee Chair Joan Jennings. “Mike Elwell’s Catching Some Rays bronze pelican will add to the fun residents and visitors experience at the historic Sponge Docks. We hope the humorous sculpture will bring a smile to everyone’s face, be inspired by Elwell’s attention to detail and take home a photograph wrapped in its wing to capture the moment.”
“I want my art to say, don’t take life too seriously. Try to find the humor in things.”
– Mike Elwell
New softball mural at Sisler Field to complement current baseball mural
Artist: Monica Swartley
The City of Tarpon Springs through the Public Art Committee (PAC) awarded their April 2021 Call to Artists to Tampa Bay artist Monica Swartley for an original baseball themed mural. It currently graces the west side of the field’s building and features a vivid pile of scuffed up baseballs – appropriate for one of America’s most beloved sports.
Due to the overwhelming positive public response to the original mural, the City of Tarpon Springs through the Public Art Committee commissioned a second mural from Swartley which was recently completed with a softball theme. Located on the east side of the same building, the bright green color of a softball, the white base plates and red ball laces combine to provide a colorful tribute to this popular sport and the teams that play there.
Artist: Glenna Goodacre
The City of Tarpon Springs and the Public Art Committee are thrilled to have “Storybook Time,” by renowned artist Glenna Goodacre installed at the Cultural Center. Captured in their expressions, as is Goodacre’s signature style, is the timeless joy and wonder to be shared through reading together. The installation honors the site of the first library in Tarpon Springs established 1916 and as a gateway to the City’s current library. The bronze mother and daughter sculptures were created in 1998. Edition #18. Tarpon Springs’ second Goodacre installation is located at the west end of the Sponge Docks in the roundabout. The four Greek nymphs are called “The Naiads.”
CLICK HERE to download the press release.
Artist: Glenna Goodacre
Graceful and spirited, the Naiads in Greek and Roman Mythology inhabit fresh water providing life to springs, rivers, lakes, and fountains. Goodacre’s Naiads reflect her remarkable ability to capture expression. Created in 1989, this is the artist’s proof set. Edition 15.
The fountain and base for the Naiads are constructed from stone imported from the Greek Island of Kalymnos in the Dodecanese archipelago.
Art Bike Racks, located through the City
The Tarpon Springs Public Art Committee’s art bike rack project is being completed in two phases:
Phase I consists of eleven bike racks designed by eight artists and manufactured by a local metal works. Find these at the Sponge Docks, Craig Park, City Hall, and the Dog Park.
Phase II consists of six art bike racks designed and manufactured by two local metal works artists. These will be located downtown and at Sunset Beach.
Ama Tarpon Springs, located at the waterway entrance to Spring Bayou in Craig Park
Artist: Amaryllis Bataille
Ama, Japanese for Woman of the Sea, walks among us on our shores, carrying her tail and scales with her for her inevitable return to the sea.
Through the combined resources of French Artist Amaryllis Batallie and European company Koh i Noor, Ama’s graceful beauty encourages the safeguarding of the ocean by all who behold her.
Ama Tarpon Springs is the 17th of only 100 similar statues around the world and the first on America’s East Coast.