DUNEDIN – New mixed-use projects and other developments are creating a buzz in the community. But as these new buildings take shape, aesthetics has been part of the conversation too, giving rise to public art, such as decorative bike racks and statues.
Now a bus shelter is getting similar love.
Through the Give Me Shelter Humanity at Work project, a PSTA bus stop on Main Street across the street from the Serendipity Café will become an art stop. The installation is slated for December.
The art stop is a joint project of the city of Dunedin, the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority, Mease Dunedin Hospital/Bay Care Health System and the prototype project of the North Pinellas Cultural Alliance. The PSTA donated the bus stop, and it is on Mease Hospital Property.
Commissioner Deborah Kynes, who is a strong supporter of arts and cultural activities, is enthusiastic about the project, which has a $20,000 budget.
“It’s an art installation on an existing bus shelter,” she said. “That’s a really unusual thing. There have been bus shelters that have been built with an art installation … but using an existing bus shelter is so different.
“I hope that we will see more in the city of Dunedin and certainly more throughout north Pinellas because this has been one of the major objectives of the North Pinellas Cultural Alliance, to adopt this as one of the primary objectives,” she said.
A selection committee picked Clayton Swartz, a Pinellas Park metal sculptor, from three semi-finalists to do the project, which has been a work in progress for about a year. Kynes complimented all the groups involved and said the selection of the artist was difficult because of the quality of the designs.
“It’s taken a long time to do this project right. Our arts and culture committee stepped in and really helped us with a call to artists. Our purchasing department helped steer professionally the call to artists process,” she said.
A full-time artist for 13 years, Swartz works mostly in aluminum sculpture. He said he has numerous pieces of his work in the area, such as in downtown Tampa near the Straz Center, Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers and at All Children’s Hospital.
Pinellas Park city officials hired Swartz to create “The Heart of Pinellas” sculpture, which stood outside Park Station for years and was relocated a couple of years ago to the city’s Barbara S. Ponce Public Library.
Overall design criteria included artwork that will complement the project site and design solutions that incorporate some functional bus shelter enhancement, such as a bike rack, trash receptacle and/or other proposed improvements.
“The theme we had to work with was called Give Me Shelter, Humanity at Work,” Swartz said. “So, we had to develop a design around that theme,” he said.
Swartz decided to create a screen that wraps around the exterior of the bus shelter.
“The primary design is a honeycomb shape of hexagon,” Swartz said. “It’s like a grid of honeycomb, and within the honeycomb spread out through the three sides are about 25 to 30 different symbols that describe and illustrate that scene. Icons and symbols that demonstrate shelter and love and trust.”
Kynes said the arts are an intrinsic part of Dunedin and is growing.
“There is going to be an arts master plan,” she said. “I think we have really shown we are really heading in the right direction to just continue that vision of the arts as a quality of life. And the arts include so much – music, arts and culture, our Scottish heritage. There’ just so many things that fall under our umbrella that make Dunedin what it is.”