Public Art

Here It Comes,....
Public Art In Historic Kenwood!

We call ourselves “The Neighborhood of the Arts,” and are proud to be home to so many artists and our Artist Enclave. But … where exactly is the art? Jeff Danner, Brenda Gordon, D YaeL Kelly, Linda Kellett, M.J. Baker, Bob Jeffrey, Charla Cribb, and I have met for the past six months to develop a public art master plan for Historic Kenwood. This is an ongoing effort over many years, but we were excited to launch our first project this fall. And the first project is… (drum roll, please!) Bench Art — turning our Seminole Park benches into works of art. Artist Enclave members were invited to submit design proposals. Chosen artists painted benches, creating another wonderful Kenwood attraction before BungalowFest 2017. They were be paid up to $400 per bench. Our hope is that this first project begins the transformation of Seminole Park – and other areas throughout Historic Kenwood – into magnets of delight. Durable Coatings at 3055 - 1st Avenue South has generously donated paint. There are many more projects in the works behind this one, lasting several years. Not all of us are artists, but we can all be champions of art.  For more info or if you have creative ideas, just email me at, and we’ll get in touch. Laura McGrath

Meet the Bench Artists:

D YaeL Kelley is a well-established artist whose oil paintings are displayed at Red Cloud Indian Arts Gallery on Beach Drive. Her current solo show features 20 paintings, 15 of them new. “I find my inspiration all around me, in stones, shells, the movement of the air, and in the shadows as they play across the ground.” Her bench at the east end of the park reflects this approach with organic forms in shades of green, highlighted with gold leaf.
Paul Barrera loved to draw from the time he was old enough to hold a pencil and discovered painting in seventh grade. Part of his inspiration came from his grandfather, a professional artist in Colombia, where Paul was born and lived until age four. His bench on the north east side of the park, is a design of brightly colored hearts and flowers on a vibrant blue background.
Deb Cooper has an extensive background in costume design and began designing for Motley Crue, Iron Maiden, Quiet Riot, and others at age 19. She is currently Head Wardrobe Production Supervisor for Celine Dion. She says, “I paint because it makes me happy… and lets me have a creative outlet.” Her bench on the south side of the park features a multitude of brightly colored flowers on a black background.
Dwayne Shepherd is a painter and an art teacher. He finds inspiration in Florida’s tropical landscape and in artists including Van Gogh and Monet. So it will be no surprise that his bench painting refers to Van Gogh’s “Starry Night.” It is located at the west end of the park, facing the children’s play area, where it can serve as a catalyst for conversation about the nature of art and artists.
David Foote is currently a Visiting Professor of Art and Design at University of Tampa, and has held faculty positions at Ringling College of Art and Design and Savannah College of Art and Design. A prolific professional graphic artist and designer, he had two of his designs chosen for
inclusion in Seminole Park. One, on the north side of the children’s playground, features an open-mouthed shark painted on a water-blue background. The other, along the pathway on the southeast side of the park, is a stylized design of two women called “The Kiss.”
Skylar Suarez is a 25-year-old artist who creates graphic illustrations, paintings on canvas, and mural art, all in vibrant colors. She grew up in big cities and developed a love of urban, street-style art. Her bench painting is on the south side of the children’s playground at the west end of the park. It is a whimsical painting of pencils in primary and secondary colors, lightly spattered to emphasize the colorful effect.