Pearly Gates?

The Salvation Army has built a new building in an older part of town. It is large with a rather blank and bland facade — looking like a light industrial building with a steeple. The Salvation Army bills it as a worship center. They are clear that it is not where they provide desperately needed services to their poor and homeless clients. That is…

Shipping News

Do you ever think about the thousands of ships sailing the sea? The visuals from these two small container ports — and a bit of the ocean in between them — are as interesting as the statistics about this hidden industry. For example, did you know that there are over 100,000 ships plying the oceans of the world carrying nearly everything we consume —…

Palm Avenue Perspectives

Palm Avenue is one of the more attractive streets in downtown Sarasota. It is lined with art galleries, boutiques and restaurants, palm trees (many of which will soon be removed), historic buildings (some of which will be removed to make way for another high rise for the affluent), and even a large verdant grassy patch (soon to be dug up and covered over with…

Behind the Facades

It’s always worth a look behind the facades to see what’s happening in the alley. These images all came from a one-block section of alley in the heart of downtown Sarasota, Florida. In addition to the now-defunct “Golden Apple” dinner theater, they show the backsides of a few of the city’s finer restaurants, a brand new parking ramp, and some graffiti on the back…

Thunder by the Bay

Every year the City of Sarasota hosts “Thunder by the Bay” — a motorcycle event and charity fundraiser in the heart of downtown along Sarasota Bay. Thousands of motorcyclists and spectators crowd the streets. Of course, there are always a few residents in the high-end high rises who complain about the music, the partying on the street, and especially the “thunder” from the motorcycles….

A Rising Asphalt Sea

Mostly empty, its parking lot free of cars, this suburban mall is in foreclosure. But do not worry. Plenty of money was made, and the risks and debt shifted off onto others. And for the shoppers, the good news is that an even larger new mall will soon be built nearby, where another chunk of woods and wetlands will slip beneath the rising asphalt…

On the Sidewalk - Proud of Who They Are

Artfully Urban

The urban environment can be noisy, dirty, artless and unfriendly. But these images from Seattle suggest that there can also be whimsy and artfulness if you look for it. Sometimes these qualities happen by accident and are fully in the eye of the beholder, as with the “Building Blocks” and “Waterfront Whimsy” below. In other cases creative people add whimsy on purpose, such as…

Industrial Counterpoint

Thousands of people travel to Southeast Alaska every year to experience the grandeur and wildness of its natural wonders. But getting to those wild places is itself a business of industrial scale — an industrial counterpoint to the experience of nature that is the goal of so much travel. There is tension between the experience of nature and the means to achieve it. It…

Things Seen Along the Bayfront

A recent proposal to bring a second war-themed statue to Sarasota’s Bayfront stimulated heated discussion about public art and the types of sculptures that are desirable and appropriate there. But throughout the discussion no one mentioned one of the biggest sculptures of them all — the tall blue glass monument to finance and commerce located just across the street. Whether or not you believe…