Two weeks after the promised arrival date, only one artist has fulfilled their contract and installed their promised art in Clymer Park.
Susanne Vernon installed her two art pieces, modeled after a queen and knight chess pieces, this past week. Artists Jonathan Schork, Tom Pitzen, Owen Pach and Frank Strunk III have yet to begin installing their art.
The Arts Committee, which included Owen Pach, Bryan Hilbert, Amy Oakley, Andrea Royce and Jennifer Orns, designed the project, although Gulfport City Manager Jim O’Reilly had final say over the approvals.
O’Reilly met with the artists last week to determine the cause of the delay.
“We hoped to have them installed by mid-July,”he said. “We’re working diligently with the artists.”
Pach says the meeting was to set the installation date.
“The meeting in chambers was about getting the artists together,”he said. “It wasn’t all because we’re behind. We had decided to go ahead and have a general meeting with everyone to decide what the final installation date was.”
Pach says the majority of the artists selected have other commissions preventing them from already having completed the city project.
“She has no other projects,”he said of Vernon, “whereas the others of us have a bunch of projects. I am completely inundated.”
Thus far, the city has approved payment only for Vernon, although every artist received a $4,000 deposit with the contract to create and install the artwork for the city.
Pach said he expects to install one of his pieces by August 15.
“Jonathan’s also busy, Frank was out of town …and Tom, he was pretty much complete on his large one but his small one wasn’t ready,”Pach said of the other artists’work.
Pach said the “hard”deadline for artwork was GeckoFest.
“I am hoping everything’s going to be ready,”he said, “but I’m thinking two or three of them won’t be ready. That’s just my opinion.”
Contact Cathy Salustri at CathySalustri@theGabber.com.
“I hadn’t seen them joined,”artist Susanne Vernon says of her eight-foot mosaic chess piece in Clymer Park. “When we stacked them yesterday, I was ‘Ah, yes!’”
Vernon is the first artist to install commissioned art in Clymer Park. She used a mosaic technique called picassiette, a form of broken china and pottery, in both her pieces. Gulfportians dropped off their unwanted china at a bin Vernon set out at the Gulfport Public Library. She says the final art includes many of those pieces and is crowned by a glass ball made by local artists Mike Hanson, who first told her about the Clymer Park art project.
Vernon and her husband, both professional artists, recently moved here via SouthCarolina from Pennsylvania. They looked at Kenwood first but eschewed it, she says, in favor of Gulfport’s unique character.