One of the prettiest, shadiest walks through Downtown Lakeland is the Lemon Street Promenade.
Home of the Florida Outdoor Sculpture Competition, the tree-lined promenade runs from Massachusetts Avenue to South Florida Avenue. The sculptures for the 16th annual competition arrived earlier this year, and the Polk Museum of Art recently announced the winners:
Best of Show: “Ribbon of Steel #8 ‘Woman with Child,’” 2010, scrap steel, Michael Russell, Athens, TN.
2nd Place: “Plenum Orb,” 2014, stainless steel assemblage, Donald Gialanella, St. Petersburg, FL.
Honorable Mention: “Native Homage,” 20115, mild steel and copper, Jason Smith, Hillsborough, NC
“The three works selected for awards in the sixteenth annual Florida Outdoor Sculpture Competition in Lakeland all display the perfect bend of artistry, creativity and craftsmanship,” says Holly Keris, chief curator of the Cummer Museum in Jacksonville, and this year’s judge.
Most notably, Keris adds, “Woman with Child” by Russell features a curvaceous continuity of metal, delicately balanced, with a graceful gesture. Scrap steel juxtaposes with softness of the flowing lines and the subtle motion of the sculpture. The ribbon embraces itself and the viewer, drawing in on itself protectively while extending toward those nearby, inviting interaction.
Gialanella’s “Plenum Orb” is an assemblage of diverse stainless steel objects including everything from kitchen paraphernalia to hubcaps. The objects, artfully arranged, become a perfect sphere, tightly bound but seamless in the uniformity of its surface.
“Walking around the piece becomes a journey – is that a tea kettle? – with a whimsical sense of discovery,” she says.
Likewise, in Smith’s “Native Homage,” a quirky bird struts in the landscape. Its simplified form belies its craftsmanship and entices a smile, Keris says.
There are 10 sculptures in the Florida Outdoor Sculpture Competition, and they will remain on the promenade for one year. Be sure to take a walk or ride one of the Swan City Cycles along the promenade the next time you’re Downtown so you can see them up close.
For more information on the Florida Outdoor Sculpture Competition, click here.