Client: City of Bradenton
Location: Bradenton, FL, United States
Completion date: 2013
Artwork budget: $25,500
Elle Terry Leonard
Bradenton Downtown Development Agency
Rosser Tile and Stone
The Riverwalk Amphitheater commission transformed the existing amphitheater structure and seating area from an abandoned and decrepit structure into an elegant, stimulating setting. The design incorporates relief palm medallions and handmade tiles to complement the blues and greens of the natural flora and fauna of the riverside park.
The goal of the Riverwalk Amphitheater commission is to enhance the plain stage into a place of interest, a place to gather and relax. The amphitheater is but one element in a continuous five mile park along the south shore of the Manatee River. The design had to be easily recognized as part of the park and to meld with the landscape, and also incorporate the colors and motifs that remind visitors of its beautiful setting on the Manatee River.
Being a Public Arts Project, the Riverwalk Amphitheater commission started as a juried process. After winning the commission, the artist worked primarily with Ann Wykell, the art consultant on the project. Artist and designer have an easy, flowing relationship and met weekly throughout the project. The installers had worked on a previous large residential project with the artist and were indispensable to the success of the project.
The Riverwalk Amphitheater commission was important to the overall design of this park. It's a permanent seating area that needed to provide people with a place to sit and relax even when the stage is not in use. "Before and after" photos really say it all: a "before" picture shows a lone drunkard sleeping it off on the stage in the noon day sun, with no one else around. The "after" photo, taken a few weeks after the Amphitheater commission was finished and the park reopened, is a photo full of smiling people, strollers, dogs, kids, and bikes.