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 buildings can be art, this building’s scale, prominent location, and impenetrable reflectivity say something about the activities that take place within.

One Sarasota, on the Bayfront

Monument to Finance

At a more human scale, the object below was “just lying there” in the sand along the breakwater. You can make of it what you will. Regardless of what you see, its presence and the light were a reminder that sometimes meaning can be found just lying at our feet, needing no monument to be raised into the sky.

Just Lying There

It Was Just Lying There

Signs of Summer

The summer heat is here, and many other signs of summer are appearing now as the days lengthen and the rain brings explosive greening growth and brighter colors.

Enjoy these signs of the riches nature offers each year.

 

papaya

Still Green Papaya

 

sunflowers

Sunflowers

Sometimes the Light Is Everything

Sarasota High School

High School Doorway

I’ll admit it, the doorway to the old Sarasota High School doesn’t always look like this. But maybe it did just for moment as the afternoon light glanced off the stones — even though the doors are locked, the students elsewhere and the old building sits empty awaiting its destiny. That flash of light invites the question of how it looked to the generations of young students who walked under that graceful arch on their way to learning about life and becoming adults.

Sometimes the light is everything. In the late afternoon, low dark clouds began lifting off the horizon at Coquina Beach on the south end of Anna Maria Island. As the bright light from the sun first began to illuminate the Gulf, the green water shone like an emerald chasing away the dark.

Coquina Beach Anna Maria Island

Afternoon Clouds at Coquina Beach

Bob’s Train and “JOMAR,” the Private Railroad Car of John and Mable Ringling

Bob's Train restaurant, Sarasota

Bob’s Train

Tucked away in a semi-abandoned storage and industrial area on the edge of downtown Sarasota is Bob’s Train, a restaurant in an old train car run by a passionate circus enthusiast. In addition to getting a reasonable lunch, one can tour three train cars loaded with the owner’s collection of pictures and other memorabilia from the long history of the Ringling circus. For anyone interested in trains or circus history, a visit to Bob’s Train is a must-do experience.

John Ringling and his brothers built an empire out of the circus business, and John and Mable Ringling began wintering in Sarasota Florida in 1907. They ultimately helped shape the community and gave it some of the cultural landmarks that Sarasota is famous for today. A bit of this history is attached to Bob’s Train, in the form of the “JOMAR – The Private Railroad Car of John and Mable Ringling.” It is the newer of two private cars owned by the Ringlings, and in need of restoration.

JOMAR - The Private Railroad Car of John and Mable Ringling

JOMAR – The Private Railroad Car of John and Mable Ringling

The Private Railroad Car of John and Mable Ringling

JOMAR – The Private Railroad Car of John and Mable Ringling

The Historic Sarasota High School

Sarasota High Scool

Reusable

The Ringling College of Art and Design is raising money for its planned Sarasota Museum of Art, an adaptive reuse of the historic Sarasota High School. As part of the fundraising, sculptor Patrick Dougherty was invited to construct one of his stick sculptures on the front lawn in full view of the busiest road in town.

The sculpture is magnificent, but in these two photos the partially and colorfully boarded up windows on the old school steal the show. The old building stands there as a symbol of history — and also of change, aspiration, and imagination.

Sarasota High School

Building Blocks

A Map of the World

map of the world

Map of the World

We’ve applied geology, engineering, chemistry, physics, biology and other sciences to the study of our earth. But there is so much more to this ball of rock and water we live on.

This map of the world gives a sense of interconnectedness and beauty, while the image below suggests the intensity of processes that take place within. While science and engineering have taught us a lot about Mother Earth, remembering that at her heart she is not so unlike ourselves might teach us even more.

internal volcanism

Internal Process

Bob’s Boathouse

On a stump

Bob’s Boathouse

Along Tamiami Trail on Florida’s Gulf Coast there is a deep parking lot with old derelict boats scattered around between the parking spaces. Some are on stumps, others stuck in the ground pointing skyward. Perhaps they have been put there as decoration, or perhaps to help you find your car after a long day (or night). The sign out front says “Bob’s Boathouse,” and indeed there is an establishment set way back from the road, near the water’s edge.

Some checking revealed that this is a relocated restaurant that has been wanting to reopen for a long time, but has been stalled due to county requirements. On the day I was there, a bulldozer was at work in one corner, so perhaps things are moving again.

Much of Florida has been taken over by the new, the sleek, and the homogenized. In the midst of all this ordinariness, the originality of Bob’s Boathouse parking lot stands out. I, for one, hope it will stay.

stuck in the ground

Hard Aground

Sometimes the Little Things

dolls in a row

Sophia and Friends

People often do not have any larger message in mind when they do some of the “little things” we see each day — just as nature is not trying to make a point as the sun sets over the ocean. Yet most of us claim a right to attach meaning to the setting sun. So should it be different for the simple actions by our fellow man?

At one of the “white tent” craft shows held in the park downtown, there was a booth with dozens of small furry stuffed creatures hung on rods in in long straight rows. Some had darker fur, others lighter fur, some with long ears, some with short. But they all wore the same dress, each with a different girl’s name stitched onto it. Each by itself was cute in a way, but the effect of the group display was disquieting.

Elsewhere, a jumble of translucent plastic life-size bodies, some red, some orange, some un-colored, and all in various expressive poses was heaped in a corner of a parking lot next to a stack of plastic chairs. Perhaps they were waiting their chance to dance and shout in the spotlight, or perhaps they were done. In any case, they were still speaking to anyone who would listen.

body discards

Discards?

Picasso the Dog

Picasso the Dog

Picasso the Dog

While visiting Georgia, I met Picasso the dog. He was out enjoying the fall afternoon. Old and wise, from a distance he almost looked like a lion. So his portrait was a must, and happily, he agreed.

The second image, below, is not from Georgia — nor is it a dog. It may be a bubble, an idea, a possibility floating, waiting to burst or become something more. What is it for you?

bubble

Bubble

Seedpod

Seedpod

Seedpod

Two images, both inspired by natural forms. But more important, after a short hiatus to tend to other matters, perhaps the seeds for the next chapter. Stay tuned!

fire behind the cellophane

Fire Behind the Cellophane

%d bloggers like this: