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Oviedo public arts projects move ahead

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New art projects to help beautify Oviedo are approaching a reality with approvals from the city’s Public Arts Board and Community Redevelopment Agency.

A resolution to approve donating $57,540 for a proposed “Wings of Joy” sculptures, which would be placed in Solary Park, was unanimously adopted by the CRA in its April 17 meeting. With an additional $25,000 contribution to the Public Arts Fund by Beazer Homes through land development code deviation mitigation for their Aulin Square development, the project is closer to being fully funded.

Oviedo’s land development code allows for reasonable deviations, but to be approved, applicants must mitigate them through one of the city’s listed techniques. The Beazer Homes deviation mitigation is due to wanting the property’s free-standing garages to be setback 10 feet from the road, rather than the usual 15 feet, and is the largest contribution ever made to the Public Arts Fund by a developer.

The “Wings of Joy” sculptures, by artist Diane Gillett Boswell, will feature the wings of five butterflies, including Florida’s state butterfly, the zebra longwing, the monarch; and the Miami blue, all native to Florida. The sculptures will not include the bodies, allowing visitors to pose as though they’re “wearing” the wings.

The wings will be cut from 4-foot-by-8-foot metal panels, and photo-printed on both sides.

While the original cost estimate was $200,000, Boswell has been able to lower it to about $122,000 by removing the bodies and working with fabricators to find better prices, Oviedo Development Services Director Teresa Correa said. The additional $40,000 needed is expected to come from additional mitigation donations – which are for “reasonable deviations” to the code and can include tree preservation, electric car charging stations, public amenities such as landscaped mini-parks and plazas, and public art donations – with a hope to have it acquired by October so the work can begin shortly afterward, Correa said. 

“What we are going to do is we are going to negotiate with developers when they come and request for deviations [to developments],” Correa said. “We are going to tell them about the “Wings of Joy” and [see] if they are willing to contribute to that project.

“We are optimistic that we will find the money,” she said.

With the money for the project coming from the Public Arts Fund and other donations, it will come at no financial cost to taxpayers.

In addition to the interactivity and cost savings, removing the bodies will also help the structural integrity of the project, especially to help its stability during hurricane season.

“You can see it driving in your car,” Public Arts Board member Melissa Sileo said at its April 12 meeting. “You don’t have to get out and go to visit the park to see [it]. It’s much more visible [than a painting].”

While the wings will be the centerpiece, the Public Arts Board also discussed the possibility of including landscaping that would attract actual butterflies. Any landscaping additions would need additional Public Arts Fund money if costs cannot be further reduced, Correa said.

The butterfly sculptures are seen as a welcome deviation from past artwork that often feature Oviedo staples.

“One of the things that we’ve done is let the artist have their vision and then decide whether we like that or not,” Public Arts Board member Lisa Ramsey said. “That’s kind of the beauty of the art, is that it isn’t so literal all the time. Sometimes we’re going to have a chicken and celery and an orange, but sometimes we’re going to go with [something else] we think is beautiful.”

Another project being discussed by the board is a watercolor map of Oviedo featuring key areas of the city, by Public Arts Board member and watercolor artist Caryn Dahm.

The map would feature about 25 different landmarks, such as eateries, rivers, trails, schools, other art installations, historical sites, swan boats, parks and other key areas. 

“In one brainstorming session, we came up with a long list of really cool things that Oviedo has,” Dahm said.

Oviedo residents may also get some say on what should be included, as well, Correa said. 

While the proposal for the project is still being developed, the plan would be for the city to purchase and own the design, including for digital use, for future fundraising through merchandise sales. 

Money for the purchase of the map, expected to cost $4,800, would come from the Public Arts Fund, which currently has about $37,000 available. Correa said she would like to avoid using that for the Wings of Joy project. Once completed, the proposal will need to be presented to the City Council for approval.

While the initial plan would be to feature Dahm’s watercolor map at City Hall, Correa hopes to see it utilized in more public-facing ways in the future if a proposal is agreed to.

“We are going to display it [at City Hall] and we are going to display it on the [city’s] website,” Correa said. “I [want] it to be more visible, because it’s going to be beautiful. I know it’s going to be beautiful, so how can we make it more accessible to the public?”

Turning it into a mural at a high-trafficked location, like Oviedo on the Park, would be one possibility, with future updates as new landmarks are added to the city, Correa said.

“I expect that [adding to the map] would happen,” Dahm said. “It wouldn’t be, ‘Finished, and we’re never going to touch it again.’ There’s always things you want to take out or add.”


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