Pinellas Public Art Program Enhances Palm Harbor Library
The public opening ceremony and unveiling takes place on Saturday, Jan. 10, 2009
By Bill Lopez
PINELLAS COUNTY — The newly renovated Palm Harbor Library received support of Pinellas County’s Public Art Program in enhancing the library’s main entrance. Designed by New Orleans sculptor Michael Cain, the entrance features a series of totem and relief sculptures for the front and the façade of the library, titled Beyond the Blue.
Based on the artist’s vision, which defines a library as a gathering place of knowledge and community story telling, the artist’s sculptures represent a quest for knowledge through colorful symbols and images—the sea, people, birds, books, maritime flags and lotus flowers.
The installation includes three totem pole structures, designed to convey the seeds of knowledge (Totem #1), the spirit of community connection (Totem #2) and the power of the sea as a symbolic repository of knowledge (Totem #3). In front of the totems is an open metal book mounted on a reading stand, which reads: Knowledge is the seed of our own creativity, the foundation that strengthens our community and the landmark that guides our course of action. Believing this statement is the most powerful aspect of the sculpture, Cain said. “When we pick up a book and invest personal time reading it, in a way, the book becomes part of us.”
A continual interplay occurs between people and the written word, he continued. “The reader becomes inspired by the writer, and then passes it on to inspire the next reader, and so on. We place ourselves within the context and stories we can relate to.”
Gene Coppola, library director, said, “The Palm Harbor Library is more than just books. It is one of the cultural destination sites in Palm Harbor. We do change lives.”
The library is located at 2330 Nebraska Ave. in Palm Harbor. Beyond the Blue can be enjoyed both day and night, as the sculpture is illuminated by colorful LED light strips.
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