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Press Release

February 9, 2009 Contact: Liz Young, FKCA Executive Director

For immediate release 305-295-4369

The Monroe County Board of Commissioner’s Art in Public Places Committee is pleased to announce the installation and unveiling of the public art in the new Murray E. Nelson Government Center. On Tuesday, February 17th at the Grand Opening Celebration from 3:00-5:00, visitors will be able to view these new works for the first time.

The artists were selected by the Monroe County Art in Public Places Committee last Spring to create site-specific artwork which enhances and complements the building. These works of art are part of the County’s progressive 1% ordinance for Art in Public Places that established funding for public art, which creates a legacy for our entire community. The AIPP committee consists of five members, each appointed by a County Commissioner, and is staffed by the Florida Keys Council for the Arts.

Mrs. Mary Nelson is delighted with the public art program, and feels the committee selected projects that bring the outdoors into the space. Mrs. Nelson greatly appreciates the efforts of the committee and all of the artists involved. She said, “the art is awesome and a real tribute to Murray’s love of the Keys’ environment. It complements the building’s design, creates tranquility and makes a connection to history for all its visitors.”

Xavier Cortada’s striking “Native Canopy,” consists of eight double-sided 72″ x 36″ sublimation dye print “digital tapestries” hanging from the ceiling. ”I created the images for “Native Canopy” at the Nelson Center by photographing the shadow cast by native tree leaves and manipulating these with digital technology to create a series of eight unique, layered, colorful “digital tapestries.” These exquisite tapestries will serve as reminders of place and markers of time: Climbing up the staircase could be like climbing the branch of a tree where one is coming up on “leaves.” The experience can serve as an invitation to find a more balanced approach to coexisting with nature.

The Monroe County Art in Public Places program serves the community through the implementation of art installations and educational programming dedicated to enriching the public environment, and to preserving and enhancing the artistic and civic pride of Monroe County. The program further promotes collaboration and creative art projects that improve the visual quality of public spaces. At their most successful, these public art installations can transform public spaces from ordinary civic areas to sites that can lift the spirit and connect with the community.The goals of the program are several: to enhance the artistic heritage of Monroe County, to give dimension to the public environment for residents and visitors, to increase public awareness to works of art, and to promote understanding and awareness of the visual arts. The Art in Public Places program has given Monroe County national visibility in the arts and a leadership role in public programming. Through Art in Public Places, the County supports the development of a unique and vital civic environment.For more information on the Art in Public Places program or the Florida Keys Council of the Arts, please visit, or call Executive Director, Elizabeth Young at 305-295-4369.