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Published on TBNWeekly.com - Feb. 20, 2014
Public art project gets final OK
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Photo courtesy of CITY OF TARPON SPRINGS
An example of an Amaryllis statue, although Tarpon Springs’ mermaid will be a unique design.
TARPON SPRINGS – For the next three years, a bronze mermaid statue will stand in Craig Park, near where the waters of the Whitcomb and Spring bayous meet, looking out on Tarpon Springs.

After a unanimous vote of approval by the City Commission, the Tarpon Springs Public Art Committee will bring an AMA mermaid statue to Craig Park as their first temporary art installation project.

French artist Amaryllis Batailleas will construct the customized sculpture as part of her Amaryllis Art for Charity program, which places unique AMA mermaid statues around the world. According to the project’s website, Ama is the Japanese word for the “Ladies of the Sea,” famous for diving and collecting pearls.

The city is working with Koh-I-Noor, a German art, school and office supply company, to arrange securing the statue for the city, transportation and stay in Tarpon Springs.

At any point during installation or the three-year display period, the city can purchase the AMA statue through donations by an individual or business.

According to a press release from the city, the statue was originally proposed in Tarpon “because of the beauty of the city’s close proximity to the Gulf and bayou waters, the mythical ties between mermaids, manatees and Greek culture and the city’s ability to draw national and international visitors.”

The statue will stand at 6 feet 4 inches tall and weight 360 pounds, according to the contract between the city and Koh-I-Noor. At the base of the statue, a special bronze plaque, determined by the city, will reflect the history of Tarpon Springs. The contract also states that no AMA mermaid statue can be placed within 50 miles of the Tarpon Springs location, a stipulation that the Public Art Committee believes will draw even more people to the area.

In an October City Commission meeting when the statue was originally presented, Vice Mayor Susan Slattery expressed her strong support of the project.

“It’s just another great reason to come here,” she said.
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