Winter Park unveils its "Art in Transit" sculpture at the SunRail station

The city of Winter Park officially unveiled its new "Tree Whisperers" sculpture on the grounds of the SunRail train station on Morse Boulevard.

When the Florida Department of Transportation was gearing up to launch the SunRail commuter rail line, Dori Stone noted, the state agency contacted the city of Winter Park and wanted to know something.

“They asked us, ‘Hey, would you like to select the art for your station,’ “ noted Stone, the city’s economic development director.

What a lot of people don’t realise, Stone said, is that putting art at the stations along the SunRail route is actually part of FDOT’s overall mission.

“FDOT is required to put 1 percent of their construction budget toward art,” Stone said.

As it turns out, the city of Winter Park did want to decide what kind of art to put at the city’s station at 148 Morse Boulevard, and on Wednesday, Aug. 27, there was a dedication ceremony to unveil the sculpture known as “Tree Whisperers” that now welcomes commuters on the lawn right outside the station.

“We’re here today to celebrate our Art in Transit sculpture,” Stone said. 

As part of the implementation of SunRail, all stations were given an “Art in Transit” grant to present artwork at each station, and Winter Park decided to supplement the grant with funding from the city’s Community Redevelopment Agency. 

Winter Park’s Public Art Advisory Board selected a city resident who is both an artist and architect, Diane Gillett Boswell, to create the sculpture called “Tree Whisperers.” 

It was recently installed adjacent to the train station, and features eight double-sided panels with photographic images of yellow flowering tabebuia trees set against a blue sky. 

Before a crowd that had gathered inside the train station, Stone said “We’re here to celebrate the piece going up – and the joy it brings to our station.”

The sculpture says a lot about Winter Park’s passion for the arts, said City Commissioner Sara Sprinkel.

“In the city of Winter Park, we have long been known for our art and our tree canopy, and this brings it all together,” Sprinkel said. “This is the very best of Winter Park.”

Sprinkel said credit is also due to the city’s Parks and Recreation Department workers, since “They are doing so much on the grounds to make the station look beautiful.”

The city is also fortunate, she added, to have great artistic talent like Boswell who call Winter Park home.

“It’s wonderful to see people like you share your talents and your gifts with us,”Sprinkel said.

The Public Art Advisory Board truly was impressed with Thomas’ work, noted the board’s chairwoman, Dana Thomas.

“What we do is work to get art in front of the people,” Thomas said. “It enriches the environment and makes them think a bit about what Winter Park is all about.”

In selecting art for the SunRail station, “Diane’s work spoke to us as very evocative of Winter Park with its trees,” Thomas said. “We knew Diane could deliver, and boy did she.”

Boswell said the credit for this Art in Transit project goes as much to the entire city of Winter Park as it does to her own work on this sculpture. 

“To do something like this takes a community of people,” she said.

 

mwfreeman@sun-sentinel.com or 407-420-5290.