The Florida Highwaymen Obelisk

Submitted by Stephanie Jaffe

0

Client: St Lucie County, Florida

Location: Fort Pierce, FL, United States

Completion date: 2009

Artwork budget: $90,000

Project Team

Artist

Stephanie Jaffe

ESplanade 7 Inc

Artist

Jaffe Studio

Jaffe Studio

Overview

Florida Highwaymen Obelisk 2009
Media: Hand carved ceramics & ceramic mosaic tile over concrete
Size: 19’ H x 5’W x 5’W
Commissioned: St. Lucie County, Florida AIPP
Located: in Fort Pierce at the Ave D & 15th St Roundabout
Budget: $90,000.00
The Florida Highwaymen Obelisk is an entry feature to the Florida Heritage Trail honoring The Florida Highwaymen. The sculpture interprets selected sections of paintings done by the Highwaymen and their contribution to the visual arts and African American cultural Heritage.
19' h x 4' x 4' Mosaic over concrete

Goals

The sculpture is located in the center of a roundabout. The neighborhood, natural elements and traffic safety concerns presented a unique set of requirements for an appropriate entry marker to the rotary. The completed, project pays tribute and celebrates the contributions to the cultural arts made by local African Americans from Fort Pierce. However, this project has appropriate engineering and design that addresses the project parameters while artfully concealing traffic safety concerns and constraints from the untrained eye.

Process

I coordinated with my contractor and mosaic fabricator to insure that the mosaic artwork custom fit over the formed concrete upper portion of the sculpture. The mosaic artwork for the bottom portion of the piece is integrated into pre-set cut outs previously planned into the design of the concrete form. The upper portion of the obelisk is embellished with mosaic tile interpreting selected sections of painting done by the Highwaymen artists from the Fort Pierce area. The images are arranged in a rainbow flowing from top to bottom. The obelisk is adorned with a “hat” covered in silver mirrored tile, which glistens in the sunlight denoting hope.

The imagery for the bottom portion of the obelisk is done in hand-carved ceramic tile in the style of woodcuts. Each of the four sides of the sculpture feature a different Highwaymen Scenes: an artist selling a painting from a car, a Highwaymen artist at an easel, a copy of the Artists Hall of Fame Award, and text describing the piece on a board nailed to a tree trunk.

Additional Information

The mosaic was fabricated done off site by the mosaic fabricators Mosaika Art and Design following my design. Sub-contractors following my architectural drawings built the obelisk sculpture using concrete colored to match the surrounding sidewalk. The mosaics were later installed on site using cement and tile grout suitable for the outdoors. The strength and durability of these materials were well suited for this outdoor application.