City’s public art program partners with police
Tampa, Fla., and Cease Fire Tampa, a local non-profit organization, are turning efforts to end gun violence into art. In December, during a ceremony at the Tampa Police Department headquarters, the city’s Public Art Program and Cease Fire Tampa dedicated a sculpture fashioned from confiscated guns donated by the Leon County Sheriff’s Department. The project is just one in a series in which the city’s arts community and its police department have joined forces.
“Evidence,” a sculpture by the late Edward Love, was installed at the police department’s main station. Along with the sculpture, Cease Fire Tampa also unveiled a permanent display of its programs, which include an annual gun buy-back and an educational display aimed at children and families.
“Love’s sculpture will be a symbol of the Tampa community’s efforts to work together to prevent gun violence and promote firearm safety,” says Robin Nigh, administrator of the city’s Public Art Program. The Public Art Program’s mission is to promote the involvement of artists in projects that enhance the physical environment and celebrate Tampa’s unique character and identity. It is funded by a 1 percent tax on the construction of every municipal building project.
Other projects involving the Public Art Program and the police department include:
wall installations in two district stations that serve as artwork and community bulletin boards. One of the installations will feature poetry written by youths from the city’s Juvenile Justice Center;
large murals by Miami-based artist Andrew Reid in two district stations that reflect various police department divisions, such as the traffic and canine divisions, the dive team and the air patrol;
creation of an outdoor lounge with cement and tile couches, coffee tables, planters and trees for the Emergency Operations Center; and
a 145-foot tile mural by Boston-based artist Mike Mandel in the new downtown police parking garage.
The projects represent a trend in public art: creation of functional works with educational components. Maintenance is minimized through the use of long-lasting materials. For more information, contact Public Art Program Administrator Robin Nigh, 600 N. Ashley Drive, Tampa, Fla. 33602; (813) 274-8531.