By: Diane Emeott Korzen Contributing Writer
Beachgoers can now admire public art as they head from their car to the Boca shoreline.
In a public art project recently completed, the Spanish River Tunnels that lead folks to the beach, were divided into east and west openings.
An artist was assigned to each of the six openings to create a work of art.
North tunnel, West opening — artist Craig McInnis—Blue ethereal water ribbons with bubbles.
North tunnel, East opening — artist Ivan Roque—Yellow background, with purple tropical floral, blue trigger fish, and orange grouper.
Central tunnel, West opening — artist Gregory Dirr-Multi-color, bold mosaic. Futuristic, resembling a Mondrian color block painting.
Central tunnel, East opening — artist Tom D’Auria —Pale blue background, with cobalt, teal and aqua, featuring white orchid and seagull, and coral spoon bill and bird of paradise.
South tunnel, West opening — artist Agata Ren—Rich rouge background with blue wave pattern headed by mythological character, Greek god of the sea, Poseidon
South tunnel, East opening — artist Peter Agardy— Tranquil blue ocean scene with green sea oats, majestic black pelican, and crashing waves.
To help pay for public art initiatives, the city kicked in $25,000 and the Greater Boca Raton Beach and Parks District matched the funds at an additional $25,000.
In addition to this mural project, the city also added murals at Red Reef West maintenance walls.
City staff put out a “Call to Artists,” giving artists two weeks to submit an idea for the Red Reef West Project because they wanted it done in time for an event at Gumbo Limbo.
In two weeks, the city had 47 artist responses. The board selected six artists for six walls with six runners-up.
Those artists had a chance to showcase their art when more walls were incorporated into the project.
Red Reef Artists included Ivan Roque, Craig McInnis, Peter Agardy, Tom D’Auria, Georgeta Fondos, Kristin Pavlick, Ben Heller (BooBoo Sketch), Gregory Dirr and Agata Ren.
The same process happened for the Spanish River Tunnels. Each tunnel was worked on for two weeks, one tunnel at a time, weekdays only.
Councilwoman Andrea Levine O’Rourke, who earned a Fine Arts degree from Florida Atlantic
University (FAU), championed the Art in Public Places (AiPP) initiative that the rest of City Council agreed on and voted to approve an ordinance to incorporate throughout the city.
That ordinance led to a resolution, which created a board appointed through applications and public interviews at City Council meeting. Seven people were chosen and appointed to the board by City Council. The board’s responsibility is to come up with ideas and present it to Council for budget.
Up to this time, ideas were spear-headed from members of the public.