The oceanfront block of Key West’s most famous street is transformed into a “pocket park” pedestrian mall with a private-public partnership.
Michael Halpern, who owns the Southernmost House Hotel, the only Victorian Mansion on the island, partnered with The City of Key West and the adjacent Southernmost Hotel to redevelop the 1400 block of Duvall Street, where previously there were nine diagonal parking spaces and a dirty garbage bin. The new small park includes large curved planting beds, a set of concrete pads for a rotating sculpture exhibit, and five of Colin Selig’s sculptural benches to be enjoyed by pedestrians along the way to the oceanfront view and jetty.
The park cost nearly $1 million to construct including a sizable drainage system due to its proximity to the ocean. For the public art component Liz Young, Public Art Administrator for the City of Key West’s Art in Public Places program worked closely with her Board, Mr. Halpern and artist Colin Selig to come up with five different bench designs for designated locations within the park. Coral-toned colors were selected to match the setting. The benches were repurposed from scrap propane tanks in the artist’s California studio and shipped to Key West.
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CODA: Collaboration of Design + Art
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Art matters. Attention to the details of our environment leads to love of place, which brings us to take responsibility for the spaces where we live and work. And by extension, the people with whom we live and work. And by extension, to our local communities, our cities, our nations, and our world.
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