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Garden Council past president Kay Holloway records Otocast audio for 1880 statue ‘Lorelei’


In 2018, the City of Fort Myers launched a free mobile app that enables residents, vacationers and other cultural tourists to learn all about the public artworks that are interspersed throughout town. Called Otocast, the app contains text and historic photos for each covered artwork. But the app’s centerpiece is an audio recording made by the artist who created the piece or someone who is intimately familiar with the artwork and the stories it recounts. To tell folks about Lorelei, the City’s Public Art Committee recruited Kay Holloway, who is a past president of the Lee County Fort Myers Garden Council.

Why the Garden Council? Well, from 1960 until 2014, the marble sculpture of a river siren stood guard outside the entrance to the library on Jackson and Central Avenue (across from the bus station where the new fire station sits today). But when the library moved to First and Royal Palm Boulevard, they left Lorelei behind. But fortunately, out of respect for Periwinkle Garden Club member Evelyn D. Rea, the Garden Council stepped in and gave the 1880 statue a forever home in their Hibiscus Garden. Rea purchased the statue during a trip to Italy in 1930 and bequeathed the marble sculpture to the library when she died in 1959.

The Fort Myers-Lee County Garden Council, Inc. was created in 1957 as the Fort Myers Garden Council by 9 local clubs and societies joining together. In 1967 it was renamed the Fort Myers – Lee County Garden Council as its membership had far outgrown the city limits. The Council now consists of over 20 garden clubs, 8 plant societies and 2 affiliates totaling over 1800 members.

In 2007 the Council moved to its current headquarters, made possible by a long-term lease from the City of Fort Myers. The Berne Davis Gardens and Mina Edison Botanical Library are housed on the premises.

The Berne Davis Gardens were professionally designed and lovingly planted by members of the Fort Myers-Lee County Garden Council, Inc. Among them are areas full of bromeliads, hibiscus, rare and tropical fruit, roses, herbs, native plants, orchids and a bonsai display.

If are interested in learning more about Lorelei, the Boston-born sculptor who carved her 1880 or the siren who served as the muse for the statue, give the audio a listen. If you don’t have Otocast on your phone already, download it now. It’s free, user friendly and available in the app store on your phone.

August 29, 2019.



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