Art in Public Places

Last week I was invited to the new Holden Heights Community Center for an opportunity to see the two new “Art in Public Places” commissions and to meet the artists. It was a wonderful evening. It felt so much bigger than the dedication of these pieces, more like feeling the celebration of a beautiful new spot. I want to congratulate C.T. Hsu & Associates for creating a beautiful new building that feels solid and civic, that dialogues with both the street (OBT) at the facade and with the lake on the back. I felt both greatly benefited from the new building in the middle.

The Interior

The building is rich with texture and color. It seemed to me there was just the right amount of whimsy in scale of interior elements and details. I enjoyed the angles of openings that are repeated in wall and floor treatments. It is beautiful, and the community is justifiably proud of it, right down to the art.

The Jewelry of the Space

Now the jewelry of the space, the art has arrived and happily, I felt it really enhanced what was already beautiful. Michele Gutlove, a glass artist from Boston, was awarded the commission for the lobby piece and it is a shining example of art as experience. “Lake Gathering” interprets the refracted sunlight off the Union Lakes Surface, reflecting on walls and ceiling, with gently swaying striped bass in the water grasses. The same “sun light” creates blue watery reflections on the floor like at the bottom of a lake. You “get it” instantly and it completes the sense of place the building begins.

Holden Heights History

In the training/meeting room, Sarasota Artist Stephanie Gassman introduced her dimensional wooden mural by saying it was inspired by a quote, “life is a canvas, put all the paint on it that you can.” The piece beautifully maps her research of the Holden Heights history, remarks on the community currently and ventures into the aspirations for the communal future. Both pieces more than added to the fabric of this space, they acted more like mortar that solidified this special interior.

Congratulations to this team and to the entire Holden Heights community!