subscribe: Posts | Comments

Virginia sculptor Mickael Broth wins commission for Forum Park public art centerpiece


Following the presentation of designs on Tuesday, May 18 by finalists John Davis, Nathan Pierce and Mickael Broth, the City of Fort Myers Public Art Committee selected Broth’s Rise Above as the centerpiece for a new park that the City is planning for The Forum in Ward 6.

Rise Above consists of eight powder-coated aluminum stems and florets reminiscent of the gladiola that were once cultivated and commercially produced on the site by three generations of the Zipperer family. Established by John O. Zipperer and others in Iona beginning in 1935, the gladiolus industry once shipped millions of the gorgeous, colorful flowers to every state in the Union east of the Rocky Mountains. Some of the hybridized varieties patented by the Zipperer family include Dr. Magee (small pink blooms), the White Knight and Siberia (both characterized by a light green color deep within the throat followed by pure white throughout the rest of the petals), Golden Goddess (with a small splash of red purple in the throat and yellow petals), Magic Lavender, Rosiebee Red, and salmon pink Jennie Lee (characterized by its long stem, long head and high floret count).

“It was important for me to create a visually-captivating site-specific work of public art that is inspired by the history of the site and which fits within the scale and uses of the park,” Broth told the Committee during his presentation. “The forms and colors are intended as a homage to the Zipperer family.”

The eight flowers will range in height from 12 to 20 feet and be surrounded by a ring of plants that are selected to compliment the aluminum blooms. Broth’s design also incorporates color-changing programmable LED up-lighting to provide visual interest after dusk.

Based in Roanoke, Virginia, Broth has worked with hundreds of clients over the course of his career ranging from municipal governments and museums to Fortune 500 companies and community organizations. Although he worked primarily as a muralist until five years ago, his sculptural installations have attracted positive attention in the communities in which they’ve been installed.

Rise Above will be Broth’s first commission in the State of Florida.

“I seek to make the world a more enjoyable, inclusive, community-oriented place through public work that is fun, approachable and visually-engaging,” says Mickael, who has a BFA in Painting and Printmaking from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. “I thrive on absorbing the history and feel of a place in order to channel that spirit into a vibrant and energetic piece of artwork inspired by the place in which it lives.”

“I am thrilled with the choice the Public Art Committee made for the art piece to be displayed at Forum Park,” says Ward 6 Councilperson Darla Bonk. “Their professionalism, attention to detail in reviewing the proposals of the final artists, and thoughtfulness for the entire community was inspiring. The selected piece is timeless, whimsical, and appropriate for all Forum Park and will represent our city well.”

In furtherance of its objective to create “art hubs” in each of the City’s six wards, the Public Art Committee is also planning to place in Forum Park three of the Cor-Ten steel sculptures that City purchased from Columbian artist Edgardo Carmona in August of 2018. 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. Located in Ward 6, The Forum is a 706-acre mixed use development east of I-75 that was originally developed by a group spearheaded by former NBA star and renowned Lakers and Miami Heat coach Pat Riley.

When completed in 2022, the new park will contain two multiuse fields, a fenced dog park (for both large and small dogs), a rolling hill amphitheater, a splash park, three playgrounds, an outdoor fitness court, bike paths, two picnic areas, a number of open areas and eight pickleball courts. Rise Above will be installed in a 50-foot-diameter circle at the north end of the parking lot adjoining the pickleball courts.

Broth, John Davis and Nathan Pierce were chosen as finalists from a field of 100 artists who responded to the RFQ (Request for Qualifications) that Committee issued in January. Each finalist will receive $500 for their design. The cost of Rise Above is $50,000. The funds for the commission were contributed to the City’s public art fund by Riley and his development group at the time they permitted The Forum.

The City’s public art program is administered by a 9-member Public Art Committee (which consists of 7 voting members and 2 alternates). Members serve for three year terms, are not compensated, and must either be a resident of the city, work in the city, or be a member of an arts board or committee that is located in the city. The Public Art Committee oversees the commissioning, review, installation and maintenance of public art within the City.

At present, the City’s public art collection consists of 40 outdoor sculptures and public art installations. Its earliest public artwork is the Tootie McGregor Fountain at the Fort Myers Country Club. Created in 1880, the collection’s oldest is Lorelei, located at the Fort Myers-Lee County Garden Council. Fort Myers’ most popular piece is the 25-foot-tall Dupont red Centennial Park artwork known as Fire Dance, and its most visible is the dual-drum light sculpture located on the sidewalk outside of the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center.

To learn more about these and the City’s other public art pieces, download the City’s free mobile phone app, Otocast, or visit the public art page on the City’s website.

May 20, 2021.

Comments are closed.