City of Sarasota’s Art in the Roundabouts program honored by Institute of Transportation Engineers

Selections made through public process

This is Jorge Blanco’s ‘BRAVO!’ sculpture in the roundabout at the intersection of Ringling Boulevard and Orange Avenue. Image courtesy City of Sarasota

The Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) recently honored the City of Sarasota’s Art in the Roundabouts program with the Institute’s 2021 Innovative Roundabout of Merit Award, Mayor Hagen Brody has announced.

“The award raises the profile of modern roundabouts and seeks to inspire others to develop further enhancements in modern roundabout design,” Brody added in his Oct. 1 newsletter.

In 2013, the City Commission decided that future roundabouts in Sarasota should include public art, “reflecting our reputation as an arts and cultural community,” Brody noted. “Since then,” he continued, “we’ve added three public sculptures — Embracing Our Differences at the intersection of Main Street and Orange Avenue, BRAVO! at the intersection of Ringling Boulevard at Orange Avenue, and Jumping Fish at the intersection of North Palm and Cocoanut avenues.

“There are plans for more,” Brody pointed out — within the new roundabouts on U.S. 41 at Fruitville Road and on U.S. 41 at the intersections of 10th and 14th streets.

“Roundabouts are safer than traditional signalized intersections for both pedestrians and motorists, and they promote better traffic flow and circulation,” Brody continued in the newsletter. “The addition of prominent sculptures helps to calm traffic” as vehicles enter and circulate through the roundabouts; they have not proven a distraction, he added.

The artwork for each roundabout is selected through a public process involving the city’s Public Art Committee and the city City Commission, as well as residents, Brody noted. Each sculpture meet certain specifications and complies with safety requirements, he explained. “The roundabout sculptures are paid for through the City’s Public Art Fund, which is made up of developer contributions,” he wrote.

In announcing its award to the city, “the ITE said that the installation of artwork in our downtown roundabouts ‘is an innovative and creative means for improving and beautifying urban streetscapes. … Art in the roundabouts has diversified the city’s cultural attractions and transformed the landscape by incorporating artwork as a roundabout’s central point of interest,’” Brody added.

“Congratulations to the professional staff in our Planning Department who help oversee and administer our Art in the Roundabouts program in concert with the Public Art Committee and the talented artists who have contributed their talents in enhancing our City,” Brody wrote.

To watch a short video highlighting the City of Sarasota’s Art in the Roundabouts program, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZSfu7VD6ebo

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