Two Views of One Place

The qualities of a built environment have a lot to do with how people feel about a place. The alley behind the new Palm Avenue parking garage is wide, clean, new, and bordered on each side by towering walls of concrete. Looking down this oversized tunnel one is greeted with a surprising view of the run down and graffiti-graced backside of a Main Street…

Singular by the Sea

Two singular items. Their colors and shapes speak. Does it matter what they are, or is it better just to wonder what they might be?

The Cross

The cross is one of humanity’s more ancient and ubiquitous symbols. An early interpretation was as a representation of the intersection between the divine (the vertical line) and the earthly (the horizontal line). In modern times this has been trivialized in our use of the cross on road signs to signify an intersection of roads ahead. The cross has also represented the division of…

Where the Land and Water Meet

The land and sea meet gently along Siesta Key on Florida’s Gulf coast. A wide expanse of white sand tapers gradually toward the water, and the water subtly deepens as one walks away from shore. And sometimes, land and sea intermix when heavy rain, or waves during a falling tide, leave channels in the sand where shallow pools linger until filled in by the…

Back Doors and Alleys

What is it with back doors and the alley? Utilitarian and faded, sometimes littered with discarded goods, a garbage can, maybe a place to park, the alley beckons with a bit of mystery. Unlike the front door’s public face, the alley may offer a glimpse behind the curtain, a slightly different view of the life of the city.

Doors to Different Realities

There was a greeting card with the picture of a dog by a screen door with the caption, “A door is something the dog wants to be on the other side of.” Anyone with a dog knows the truth of that. If he’s in, he wants to be out — and if he’s out he wants in. People, on the other hand, sometimes feel…

Readers in Flesh and Bronze

Large white tapered pillars support the upper level of the Selby Public Library in downtown Sarasota. The pillars create a shaded arcade on all four sides of the building. Near a side entrance that overlooks a small park is a lifesize bronze sculpture of a boy reading with his dog beside him on the bench. It is a romantic image inviting one to enjoy…

Unconditional Surrender

Public art on a grand scale often garners attention, both good and bad. The 25 foot tall “Unconditional Surrender” by Seward Johnson along the bayfront in downtown Sarasota is no exception. There has been plenty of controversy since it first arrived here in 2005, with some calling it tacky, inappropriate and out of place along beautiful Sarasota Bay. Also known informally as “The Kiss,”…

Free Range Chickens

St. Croix is over-run with feral chickens, free range at its utmost. Of course, no one eats them (too tough or something like that). Instead, nearly all the chicken consumed (and it is a local favorite) are shipped in from Tyson Foods, or some similar factory farm. So except for the danger from cars (and an occasional dog or mongoose), these local chickens are…

Graffiti and a Crown of Thorns

There are ruins, both old and new, on the old site of Fort Louise Augusta high above the point that guards the entrance to Christiansted harbor. Some of these ruins are decorated with graffiti that are not likely to be innocent. Just to the left of the graffiti are the remains of an old building covered in the thorny cactus-like stalks of the night-blooming…