The idea, fostered by Key West philanthropists John Padget and Jacob Dekker, was inspired by the Model to Monument program run by the Art Students League of New York. The program had installed artworks made by students along the Hudson River in Manhattan’s Riverside Park. The exhibit was on display since last summer, up until recently when they were sent to their permanent residence in the Keys.
The sculptures themselves are giant, measuring from six to 22 feet (1.83 to 6.7 meters) tall. Already two pieces have been placed: Leaves of Grass in Marathon Key, and Wind Tower at the Grimal Grove on Big Pine Key.
The next sculptures left to station are Fragments by Shiho Sato in Islamorada, Bridge by James Mikhel Emerson and Everything Between by Sarah Thompson in Islamorada, Stand Tall, Stand Loud by Aaron Bell and Everyone Breaks by Tanda Francis in Marathon, and Avis Gloriae and Nature Eternal by Sheila Berger to be placed in Key West.
Elizabeth Young, Executive Director of the Florida Keys Council of the Arts, is coordinating the installations of the pieces along the trail and hopes to create an app to guide people to each sculpture. Folks visiting the sculptures are also encouraged to take photographs and share on social media to help spread the word.
The sculpture trail is a relevant addition to a community that is a great supporter of the arts. Organizers of the project envision the collaboration of local artists in the future as well, perhaps with additional works submitted as the trail elongates.