The Florida Outdoor Sculpture Competition connects artists with the community

If you frequent downtown Lakeland, you’ve probably seen the sculptures along Lemon Street. These sculptures change yearly and are the winners of the Florida Outdoor Sculpture Competition.

Ten sculptures get chosen to be installed down the three blocks of Lemon Street. This year, 31 artists submitted 65 sculptures to be judged, but only the 10 best get displayed through the end of 2018. Originally judged by staff at Polk Museum of Art, the competition is now overseen by the City of Lakeland. Sculptures are judged by staff at the Polk Museum of Art, City of Lakeland staff, and prominent members of the Lakeland art community.

Re-Cycled by Jaron Charzewski

The Florida Outdoor Sculpture Competition is a great way for sculpture artists to have a venue to show their work, and a great way for the community to have a direct interaction with art without having to go to the museum. There’s even further community involvement by allowing Lakelanders to vote for a People’s Choice award winner online through the City of Lakeland Facebook page.

If you leave Mojo Federal downtown, you can see several of the sculptures on Lemon Street, including this year’s People’s Choice award-winning sculpture, Gaia by Donald Gialanella. An artist from St. Petersburg, Gialanella created his sculpture to be interactive. Viewers can enter the back of the sculpture and stand within the head of Gaia and peer up. According to the Florida Outdoor Sculpture competition website, Gaia represents “Peace and oneness with nature as she looks skyward contemplating the future.” (lakelandgov.net/flosc)

Serefina, a large seahorse statue by Sarasota artist Lee Bell came in second, and Jonathan Bowling from Greenville, South Carolina, came in third with his sculpture Mare & Filly. Bowling has two sculptures in the top 10 this year. The other is a sculpture called Cauldron Teats, a life-sized cow made out of repurposed steel.

Tide Pool with Shrimp by Judith Greavu

Silver by Robert Stentiford

Artists from as far away as Connecticut and New York have work on display this year.

To learn more about the Florida Outdoor Sculpture Competition, visit lakelandgov.net/flosc, or pay them a visit in person on Lemon Street in downtown Lakeland!