The City of Tarpon Springs through the Public Art Committee (PAC) installed a jolly bronze pelican statue by local artist Mike Elwell, complete with a Tarpon Springs baseball cap, flip flops, pink flamingo Hawaiian shirt and comfortably seated on a bench with welcoming wings wide open. The whimsical statue looks as if it is begging someone to sit beside him. And the PAC hopes people will do just that. It is destined to become a favorite spot for making photo memories of a visit to the Tarpon Springs historic Sponge Docks.
Elwell, whose bronze statues have populated posh Beach Drive in downtown St. Petersburg for years, submitted a proposal to the PAC in October 2021 with a variety of bronze originals available. The Public Art Committee was immediately drawn to the Pelican sculpture Elwell titled Catching Some Rays since the Sponge Docks is a vibrant working seaport and attracts many live pelicans when the boats bring in their catch. The bronze pelican is located immediately east of the Tarpon Sponge Company, 735 Dodecanese Boulevard, an area where tour boats dock.
“The Public Art Committee is thrilled to add a new addition to the assemblage of beautiful bronze statues that enhance the City of Tarpon Springs by a number of accomplished artists,” said Public Art Committee Chair Joan Jennings. “Mike Elwell’s Catching Some Rays bronze pelican will add to the fun residents and visitors experience at the historic Sponge Docks. We hope the humorous sculpture will bring a smile to everyone’s face, be inspired by Elwell’s attention to detail and take home a photograph wrapped in its wing to capture the moment.”
“I want my art to say, don’t take life too seriously. Try to find the humor in things.”
– Mike Elwell
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