Lakeland’s commitment to art is seen in a plethora of ways throughout the community, one of which being the sculpture installments on Lemon Street in Downtown. Artists from all over the nation submit their best work for a chance at some real estate on Lemon Street, covering 3 blocks in Lakeland’s downtown district. The pieces that were submitted, that are now on display for the general public, must first go through a thorough selection process put on by the City of Lakeland. With a panel comprised of city employees, Polk Museum of Art representatives, and thriving members of Lakeland’s art community, a selection of 41 sculptures were narrowed down to 10 to be publicly displayed in downtown.
Some may not know that the yearly art exhibit is actually the Florida Outdoor Sculpture Competition, and this year is the 17th annual. The 10 sculptures on display on Lemon Street duke it out for the top spot, once again decided by the panel. The fun, community-engaging part of the competition is the People’s Choice Award, in which a piece will be rewarded with the honor if it received the most likes on Facebook. Voting closes on May 22nd, so put your votes in here! We wanted to share an in-depth look at a few pieces that caught our eye below:
“Ribbon of Steel #10: Twisting A Tree” by Michael Russell
Michael Russel is a welder through and through, and works with steel to create visually appealing works of art that tell the story of transformation. He loves to see the potential in raw pieces of metal that have lost their purpose and give them new life with each project. His hope is that the transformation seen in his pieces can inspire others to realize their capability of revitalization in themselves.
“Celestial Motion” by Hanna Jubran
Hanna Jubran wants his art to speak volumes. His work is driven by his emotion and sincerity in expression, and each piece is overflowing with passion. “Celestial Motion” depicts the movement of the stars through vibrant color with a medium of steel.
“Navigator” by Mike Hansel
Mike Hansel sees the coexistence of life and industry as a beautiful thing. He aims to share works that seem to serve an industrial function while only satisfying artistic appreciation. The correlation drawn between the two seemingly antonymic characteristics can be translated to our everyday lives.
Because of the competition’s ideal location in downtown, there’s a perfect opportunity to see all the pieces no matter what you’re doing. On your lunch break? Grab a walkable meal and take a stroll down Lemon Street. Just out of class? Hop on a bike, take a joy ride around some lakes, and coast through downtown for a peek. Free day? You know what to do. There are some incredible sculptures on display this year, so you won’t want to miss them!
Don’t stress, we have the rest of 2017 with these inspiring pieces, so you’ll have more than enough time to take in their craftsmanship. Head over, take some pics for the gram, and show off our awesome community. We are so lucky to live in a town with such a phenomenal appreciation for art, and it has offered such a cool platform for artists in a number of ways.