DUNEDIN — In recent years, city officials have made a mark on Patricia Avenue through a variety of improvements.
Now artists will make a mark, too, through their paintings on three PSTA bus stop benches.
City commissioners March 16 agreed to pay $800 each to three artists who will do the work.
The benches will be placed at bus stops along Patricia Avenue at Admiral Road, Cedarwood Drive and Beltrees Street.
"Today for the first time we can tie one of our corridor locations, Patricia Avenue, to the mainstream of the city with some public art," said Jackie Nigro, chairwoman of the Arts & Culture Advisory Committee.
"This public art extension is indeed a great achievement for all parties," she said.
Six applicant proposals and 11 design concepts were reviewed by an eight-member subcommittee chaired by art consultant Elizabeth Brincklow.
City Economic and Housing Development Director Bob Ironsmith said Patricia Avenue now has palm trees, decorative street names, the Dunedin Commons apartments, restaurants and art benches.
"Patricia has come a long way. And this is another great part of it," Ironsmith said.
The designs approved are "Colorful Adventure" by Zoe Perez; "Young Optimists" by Margaret Schultz; and "Love Your Neighbor" by Mason Gehring.
The artists and design selections were unanimously approved by the Arts and Culture Advisory Committee and then referred to the PSTA for the agency's approval as well.
The PSTA donated the benches.
"This is the first time working with PSTA, and we have now created a blueprint for these type of benches, which is an important first step," Brincklow said.
Among the design criteria that used in the selection of three artist finalists were that artwork must complement the project site with no advertising or wording permitted. Artists were expected to respond to the family friendly “Funedin” theme.
The design competition was open to professional visual artists who live in Pinellas County.
Benches will be delivered to each artist’s studio and will be picked up upon completion of the design application.
Commissioners all were in support of the project.
"I do love the benches. So great job," Commissioner Deborah Kynes said.
Commissioner Jeff Gow agreed.
"Good job, arts and culture (committee)," he said.
Commissioner Moe Freaney was pleased with the process, noting that if the paintings need to be touched up, the artists have to perform the work as part of their bids.
"It's all good … they're awesome," she said.