Tallahassee Unveils New Gaines Street Sculpture
By Navael Fontus
On Dec. 3, residents, students and leaders of Tallahassee filled Gaines St. in its unveiling of the new sculpture located at the newly built roundabout. Gaines St. has undergone many renovations. From the street lined with warehouses that it once was, to the downtown feel with shoppes, restaurants and premiere housing that it is today, the brand new sculpture is just another attraction that Gaines St. brings.
The sculpture titled Declaration is filled with glass panes and LED lights, which shoots a beam of light a mile high into the sky at nightfall. The sculpture was built by Florida State University’s Master Craftsman Studio and it took about a month to complete. It serves as a piece of art and is one of the final touches in the reconstruction of Gaines St.
“Our local leaders knew at the time that this was an even more important time than ever to continue to invest in our community: to keep jobs moving, to prepare the infrastructure for the businesses that would come and basically their philosophy was if we build it they will come,” City Manager Anita Favors Thompson said in her opening speech of the unveiling. “We can see that indeed is the case.”
The unveiling brought out hundreds of residents, businesses and vendors. Plus, Tallahassee area businesses had their respective booths set up so residents could see what businesses had to offer. Representatives from the Master Craftsman studio had it’s mobile glassblowing van set up and their artist showed the way to make glass ornaments and assisted attendees who wanted to create their own ornaments.
The formal ceremony to launch Declaration began with an opening introduction from Favors Thompson, Mayor-Elect Andrew Gillum and other city and county leaders expressed what a great moment it is to show off the sculpture.
The crowd then walked down to Declaration for the moment everyone had been waiting for. The beam of light came on and fireworks lit up the evening sky of Tallahassee as Declaration was officially on display.
“I think this (Declaration) is a great demonstration of the community we’re growing into,” Gillum said. “Tonight is important because this is probably one of the most prominent displays of public art we have in this city. What began as $12 million of public investment has now spawned over $300 million of private sector investments and its less than one mile radius in the city of Tallahassee and that’s pretty incredible.”