Photo: Abby Baker
“Drivers and sidewalk-goers in downtown St. Petersburg have likely speculated about the 30-foot, stone sun sculpture that shrinks surrounding buildings and its platform, a roundabout in the city’s bustling EDGE district.
New York-based and Isreali-born sculptor, Ilan Averbuch, created the massive, gear-like fixture for the otherwise-normal roundabout at Central Avenue at 11th Street.
Averbuch, one of 94 creators who applied to create on the space, calls the sculpture an ode to Florida weather, titled ‘The Sun on the EDGE.’ The piece was completed in June, with a city-led ribbon cutting on Thursday, July 15.
The industrial, almost primitive statue of a sunset, bottomed with a darkened granite and steel partial reflection, gives those passing through Central no choice but to circle the sun.
The head-turning aspect is exactly what Averbuch wanted.
‘It’s wonderful to be in the center of town where all the traffic has to slowly make their way around,’ Averbuch said. ‘It’s sort of like a stage.’
The stone sun’s price tag sits at nearly $200k, pulled from the Intown West CRA tax increment funds approved for streetscape improvements…”
Photo: Nate Ilardi for City of Sarasota
The Jumping Fish sculpture stands 16 ft high by 12 ft wide in the center island of the modern roundabout at Cocoanut Avenue & Palm Avenue. The sculpture was selected from among 140 submissions and is the 84th piece in Sarasota’s Public Art Collection. It was sculpted in 2019 by Jeff Laramore.
“Sarasota, Florida is a city that has long proudly supported the arts.
The city’s vibrant arts scene includes the Ringling College of Art and Design, the famous Ringling Museum, an opera house, a ballet company, and the Sarasota Art Museum. Thanks to visionaries, the City’s Public Art Collection now includes downtown modern roundabouts graced with artworks.
Early on, then Sarasota City Engineer Dennis Daughters, then City Traffic Manager Sam Freija, and current City Engineer Alex Davis Shaw envisioned a downtown made more pedestrian friendly—and even more beautiful—with a collection of modern roundabouts. Today, their vision is coming to fruition.
‘We’re interested in the safety of walkability and connectivity to Sarasota Bay,” Downtown Sarasota Condo Association Transportation Committee Chair and Urban Planning Professor Emeritus at the University of Cincinnati Roger Barry said. “The roundabouts help supply that and appear to be extremely successful. I think we’re kind of proud of the fact Sarasota is an art-focused community and the roundabouts are an expression of that…'”
Five Points Roundabout at Main Street & Pineapple Avenue. Photo: Ken Sides
Embracing Our Differences Roundabout at Main Street & Orange Avenue. Photo: Nate Ilardi for City of Sarasota
Photo: Bravo! Roundabout at Ringling Boulevard & Orange Avenue. Photo: Ken Sides
To help a skeptical public understand what it would get in return for giving up the two travel lanes, Sarasota-based Hoyt Architects Lab created a rendering depicting how different the three intersections could look with marine-themed public art in the roundabout central islands for the Fruitville Road roundabout. Image: Hoyt Architecture Lab.
Photo: Abigail Censky, WKAR PBS
“The big red ornaments sitting in the roundabout in front of the Capitol have been a Lansing tradition for more than a decade. But, last year—there was a chance that they’d disappear forever before a good Samaritan stepped in…
Craig Terrill is one of the brains behind the online satire platform Lansing Facts. Their followers know the ornaments as the Orbs of Winter…
Tragedy struck in December of 2018 when a driver hit the sculpture and drove away leaving the ornaments broken. Many assumed once they were taken down, they’d return fixed the following holiday season.
Ty Forquer is the Chief Advice Officer at Lansing Facts. He said, when the 2019 holidays were approaching the Lansing Facts team checked in on some of the city’s big holiday decorations.
‘There was a social post about the tree going up. And we’re like, alright, we’re on. We’re on Orbs of Winter watch, you know, look for these coming up soon. And the deputy mayor tweeted back at us and said, Well, they’re not coming back this year, they were damaged, we’re not going to repair them.’
Immediately there was a public outcry from people who were concerned their favorite city decorations had become casualties. Cathleen Edgerly is the Executive Director of Downtown Lansing Inc. She said her office was fielding some of the calls…
One concerned young man even offered to start a GoFundMe campaign to foot the $7,000 dollar repair bill that the city wasn’t prepared to pay…
‘We have folks who use it for proposals, for their family holiday Christmas cards,’ said Edgerly. “‘ think it really caught people off guard to hear that this thing that they expect to be there is not going to be there. And you know, I think, like I said, it revealed his weird affection that maybe a lot of us did not know we had…’
In a Christmas miracle, before they were gone forever local real estate owner and retired racecar driver Paul Gentilozzi stepped up to pay for the repairs—restoring the oversized fiberglass ornaments to their original condition…”
“At the center of Tampa’s Channel District roundabout, just north of the Florida Aquarium, a 19-ton sculpture known colloquially as ‘The Exploding Chicken’ provides an attention-grabbing vantage point for motorists as it fluffs a flurry of metallic yellow feathers 36 feet into the sky.
George Sugarman’s untitled abstract-expressionist sculpture, which in the 1990s got its enduring moniker from a sardonic newspaper columnist, is a downtown Tampa landmark. Longtime residents remember the eye-catching sculpture when it sat next to what is now Rivergate Tower at the corner of Kennedy Boulevard and Ashley Drive for many years before being relocated to the center of the Channel District roundabout in 2013, making it among the first examples of roundabout art erected in the Tampa Bay Area.
As populations swell and roadways clog, local cities must respond to the challenge of moving increasingly multimodal traffic safely and efficiently. The modern roundabout — backed by case studies that indicate over 75 percent crash reduction at intersections, 20 percent reduction in traffic delays and a whopping 100 percent reduction in pedestrian fatalities — makes a compelling statistical argument. Add artwork and roundabouts can become an even more attractive traffic calming solution.
That’s why traffic engineering experts are leading efforts across the nation to bring roundabouts to congested intersections with the goal of improving traffic flow and creating safer and more walkable cityscapes.
While cities like Clearwater — the Bay area’s earliest roundabout innovator — continue to focus mainly on function, some municipalities, including Sarasota and Tampa, have begun to explore how art in roundabouts can help calm traffic and contribute to local placemaking efforts…”