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Public Art Committee seeking artist for aesthetic centerpiece for new park at The Forum


There’s a new park being constructed out at The Forum, and the City’s Public Art Committee is seeking an artist to create a $50,000 artwork to serve as the park’s aesthetic centerpiece.

The Forum is a 706-acre master-planned, mixed-use development located between Colonial Boulevard and SR. 82 east of I-75. It contains retail, residential, and office sites. Originally developed by a group spearheaded by former NBA star and renowned coach Pat Riley, The Forum takes its name from the arena that is home to the world champion Los Angeles Lakers basketball team. Riley won an NBA title as a player for the Lakers in 1972 and coached the team to championships in 1982, 1985, 1987 and 1988.

Prior to its development, three generations of the Zipperer family raised gladiolus on the property. John O. Zipperer and his family were part of a group on entrepreneurs who established an industry based in Iona beginning in 1935 that millions of glads for more than five decades to every state in the Union east of the Rocky Mountains.

The new park will contain two multiuse fields, a fenced dog park (for both large and small dogs), a rolling hill amphitheater, an interactive fountain (“splash park”), three playgrounds, an outdoor fitness court, bike paths, two picnic areas, a number of open spaces and eight pickleball courts. The proposed art piece will be installed in a 50-foot-diameter circle at the north end of the parking lot adjoining the pickleball courts and picnic area located southeast of the intersection of Champion Ring Road and Warrior Way.

The Public Art Committee is also formulating plans to move three of the Edgardo Carmona sculptures that the City purchased in August of 2018 to the park in furtherance of their goal of creating art hubs in each of the City’s six wards. The term “art hub” refers to an aggregation of public artworks in a location that is already or which is intended to become either a cultural, business or residential destination. Art hubs will enable a greater number of people and larger percentage of the City’s citizenry to see, interact with and enjoy the City’s public art collection while simultaneously engendering greater economic opportunity and better quality of life in the residential neighborhoods and business districts in which they are placed.

Each of the artworks that are eventually installed in the park will be connected to each other and the other 65 pieces in the City’s public art collection through Otocast, a free mobile phone app that provides descriptions, photographs and audios that tell behind-the-scenes stories about the art and artists who created them.

The budget for the project was provided by The Forum’s developers and covers all costs associated with the project, including, but not limited to, materials, fabrication, installation, permitting, documentation and transportation.

Artists who’d like to be considered for the project have until midnight on Friday, March 12, 2021 to submit their qualifications. The full RFQ can be viewed and submissions are to be made electronically at no charge on the CAFÉ website. Here’s the link:

From the submissions it receives, the Public Art Committee will select up to three finalists. Each finalist will be paid a $500 design fee to produce a maquette or formal electronic proposal for presentation to the Committee in open session, together with a prefabrication review that identifies the materials the artist intends to use, expected longevity, fabrication techniques, installation methods and long-term preventative maintenance strategies. Stakeholders who live and work in The Forum and surrounding communities will be invited to attend the presentations and voice their preferences. Thereupon, the Committee will select the winning design based upon the merits of the proposal, suitability of materials and artist’s credentials.

The City of Fort Myers has been quietly building a public art collection for decades and now includes 68 outdoor sculptures and installations as well as a number of interior works that are on display at City Hall and in other city-owned buildings that are open to the public. Based upon information provided by Otocast, the City’s most asked-about art piece is the Dupont red modernist sculpture called Fire Dance that’s located in Centennial Park West and the most photographed work is the dual drum light sculpture known as Caloosahatchee Manuscripts that sits on the sidewalk outside the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center. Installed in August of 1913, its earliest public artwork is the Tootie McGregor Fountain and its oldest piece is Lorelei, which was carved in Italy in 1880.

For more information, please contact Thomas Hall, City of Fort Myers Public Art Consultant, at 239-691-2292 or

Revised January 21, 2021.

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