Client: K.Hovnanian Homes
Location: Boynton Beach, FL, United States
Completion date: 2018
Artwork budget: $78,000
Art & Culture Group, Inc.
Artist/architectural tile assistant
Tracy Rosof Petersen
EarthArtists Clay Studio
Priority One Metals
Cast stone fabricator
Ron Kendall Masory
“Emerging Mangrove,” speaks to the name of this community, Casa Del Mar and is inspired by its location along the Intracoastal Waterway. Like the meaning of Casa Del Mar, mangroves on our shoreline are also a very important “house of the sea.” Home to many creatures and an ecosystem that sustains life in a myriad of ways; from keeping our shoreline in tact to nurturing a great deal of the food that ends up on our dinner table. Artist Lucy Keshavarz used the classic materials of metal, stone (cast), and custom tiles in a stylized format to create the highly recognizable red mangrove or “walking” mangrove. With little open land available on this project, the artist integrated the sculpture into the community’s entry wall along US1. This also acted as needed wayfinding. The sculpture appears to be emerging from the wall atop its arching stilt-like prop roots. In doing so the leaves above and the water below glitter in the sun and the waves seem to swirl with the tides rise and fall. The artist’s goal with this and many of her projects is to promote connections and thoughtfulness between our human species and of our natural world.
Integration into the workings of the site was the only way art in public places was going to happen for this project. Casa del Mar is a luxury townhouse residential community located next to the Intracoastal Waterway in the City of Boynton Beach, Florida. The land is very expensive and every inch was being used to create townhomes. As with many art in public places projects, developers are required to spend money on public art and would not be inclined to do so without an ordinance. So it was important as the artist to be very knowledgeable of the code requirements and to propose work that not only met the requirements, but also resolved site issues if at all possible. The actual entry into the development was very narrow and could easily be missed as one drives by on US1. The signage codes are such that the wall with the development name cannot be seen until turning into the property. I was able to create a sculpture integrated into the wall just a few feet off of US1. “Emerging Mangrove” not only tells the story of what is beyond the wall, but also gives direction beautifully.
Collaboration is always a must and most important that it is artist led: with Developer; with municipality; and with artist’s team of engineers, fabricators and installers. In projects like this where the developer is required to include public art, most often there is a lot of client education that needs to be done up front. Simultaneously, it is important the artist have a good working knowledge of site design and requirements for solid information to plug into the design matrix prior to proposing anything. Quit often there are many egos involved on the developer’s design team that have ideas that may need to be gently yet firmly challenged in order to be successful. On this project, it was all of the above, plus a lot of turn over of staff. Between contract execution and art unveiling, I worked with three project managers and their teams. In addition to working with the client, I also worked with the City’s public art manger and advisory board to give clarity for the project, receive input and their approval. In the end, the development company was very happy I kept focused on the needs of the project and followed through as collaborative lead.
My philosophy with art in public places is that the work must be about the needs of the project. My job as the artist is to create art that works great for the project’s specific place, people and function. To do this, I can’t limit the project by what I am comfortable creating in my studio, but rather must always challenge myself to come up with solutions using the problem solving talents I have developed working in multiple arts disciplines, as a curator, in the studio and beyond. For various reasons, this was the first project I was able to integrate metal. However, due to developer’s timing issues it ended up being the third project with metal to be installed after Shades of Green and New Life. Working in South Florida there is a need for using materials that require as low maintenance as possible. This is why my materials have expanded into powder coated aluminum, Florida native stone (cap rock & coquina), cast stone, Ipe wood and glazed architectural tile, which can take on unlimited shapes and colors. Another component of my work is working with engineers and fabricators starting in the conceptual phase as part of the creative process.