One of Tarpon Springs’ most popular locations, the Sponge Docks, now has a new art gallery, but not in the traditional terms. The City of Tarpon Springs has installed fifteen unique solar-powered Illuminated Art Boxes along the Sponge Docks’ Dodecanese Boulevard procured by the Tarpon Springs Public Art Committee (TSPAC). Each box houses two works of original art created by local artists. In addition to providing inspirational images during the day, the art boxes are illuminated at night providing the viewer with a totally different experience. The project is the brain-child of TSPAC member Joan Jennings and incorporates solar-powered technology. The art boxes were custom made by Portaboards Enterprises, LLC and the custom images were printed by Alan Goniwich of the Tarpon Springs UPS store.
“The TSPAC wanted to create a unique art project for a unique town and I believe we succeeded. The Illuminated Art Boxes feature many diverse media (even a ceramic piece) printed on heavy duty vinyl that is easily and inexpensively changed out so we can update the images on a regular basis. With help from Tarpon Arts and the Department of Public Works, we overcame the obstacles presented by COVID to get the boxes installed. I hope the Illuminated Art Boxes will attract viewers to the Historic Sponge Docks,” said Jennings.
The TSPAC selected art for the Illuminated Art Boxes via a local “call to artists” and received more than 130 entries for review. The thirty works of art selected by the Public Art Committee for the Illuminated Art Boxes were created by the following artists (listed alphabetically): John Cheer, Sheron Davis, John Drury, Elaine Hahn, Timothy Hall, Ronald Harkrade, Mikell Herrick, Kelly Lester, Paul Lindner, Barbara Mamouzelos, Dacota Maphis, Alan Metzger, Rose Metz, Ellen Negley, Dimitrios Paizis, Heather Risley, Petera Semple, Halldor Sigurdsson, Emily Tayman, Emma Wegener, and Jana Withers. Each of these artists received an honorarium from the TSPAC. A downloadable Illuminated Art Box brochure is available online that includes artist contact information and pricing to purchase the original art directly from the artist on Tarpon Arts’ website at TarponArts.org/Public-Art.
Volunteer City Advisory Boards and Committees provide critical input from Tarpon Springs’ residents to the Tarpon Springs Board of Commissioners on a number of different subject areas. The Public Art Committee consists of five members and two alternate members appointed for three year terms by the Board of Commissioners. The Public Art Committee adopts program guidelines and identifies locations for potential public artworks with the consensus of the Board of Commissioners; recommends a budget and expenditures for public art; and submits an annual plan to the Board of Commissioners. For more information, visit TarponArts.org/Public-Art.