CAA Partners To Bring Public Art To County's First Pedestrian Underpass
The Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County (CAA) joins Scenic Walton, Visit South Walton, the Walton County Board of County Commissioners, and the Florida Department of Transportation in inviting the public to the official groundbreaking of the U.S. Hwy. 98 pedestrian underpass at Inlet Beach this Friday.
The Walton County Board of County Commissioners will present the official groundbreaking ceremony on Friday, March 26th at 3:00pm. Local restaurants Shades Bar & Grill and The Donut Hole will provide refreshments. Attendees should park and gather at Shades at the corner of Scenic Hwy. 30A and U.S. Hwy. 98.
The Scenic Walton organization worked tirelessly over the last several years to coordinate the effort to make this important safety improvement happen, and the CAA is proud to be a partner in the creation of a public art project to be incorporated into the underpass. This $5.6 million project will be the first pedestrian and cyclist underpass to be constructed in the county and will be located at the corners of U.S. Highways 98 and 30A, both designated scenic corridors. The public art component will be part of the CAA's Art in Public Spaces program and feature original artwork, including murals, and permanent sculptures installed at each of the underpass entrances.
The public art component is part of the greater project that will frame the east end of Walton County at the high-traffic corner of U.S. Hwy. 98 and County Hwy. 30A. It will include two mid-sized sculptures installed next to each tunnel entrance and murals created on the tunnel’s interior walls. Lighting will be stylistically installed on the ceiling, and the floor will remain unobstructed for clear and safe passage. The tunnel will measure 12 ft wide x 8 ft high x 136 ft long.
A national RFQ will go out in April 2021 with finalists chosen in July and commissions selected in August. Concepts will be reviewed and chosen by a panel of representatives from the creative, public and private sectors, and the community at large. Two artists/teams will create and install the sculptures, and one artist/team will create the interior murals with collaboration by local students through the CAA’s ongoing partnership with the Walton County School District.
The overall project outcome will be a safe, practical, and necessary crossing that also provides enhancement to the surrounding area through indigenous landscaping and beautiful, engaging, and thought-provoking artwork. Artistically and conceptually, and in recognition of this underpass being the first in the area, the theme of the art installations will be “connectivity” and “relationship” - among and between humans and connection with our built environment through creativity. The artwork will be installed in Spring 2022.
The project will be a continuation of existing or developing public art projects located in the adjacent communities, including the CAA’s Monarch Art Trail along South Watersound Parkway, the Rosemary Beach Sculpture Exhibition, Alys Beach's permanent sculpture collection, and future public art installations at Watersound Origins. The underpass will be an obvious thoroughfare, but it will also add value to the practical environment and become an experience for those who live, work and vacation in our community. For more information about the public art project, email Jennifer@culturalartsalliance.com. For more information on the U.S. Hwy. 98 Underpass, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.