A colorful art project will adorn the trail near the north entrance to Sheffield Park following the approval of the recommended artist by the Oldsmar City Council last week.
The Oldsmar City Council recently approved an artist selected by members of the North Pinellas Cultural Alliance to complete the city’s second public art project, a trail mural at Sheffield Park.
The artist, Noelle Stillman of Palm Harbor, was chosen by representatives of the NPCA and the city from three finalists based on her experience, her proposed design and her resume, according to Oldsmar arts coordinator Samantha Demmi.
Demmi told the City Council on Nov. 21 that Stillman’s submission “ticks off the boxes for what we were looking for on the trail art.”
Stillman’s colorful design is comprised of a trio of pipeline swallowtail butterflies, a species native to Pinellas County, and will be painted on the bicycle/pedestrian trail near the north entrance of the park.
A screenshot of the artwork Palm Harbor artist Noelle Stillman designed for the public art project at Oldsmar’s Sheffield Park. (Credit: City of Oldsmar)
“Her resume…is amazing,” NPCA board member and former Oldsmar City Council member Linda Foley Norris explained.
“We liked the artistry involved in this one, and the vibrant colors.”
Norris, who was instrumental in bringing the city its first public art project before she termed out of office in March of 2015, noted the project was being paid for by NPCA funds and would be the second such project following the painting of a crosswalk mural in Safety Harbor earlier this year.
“This one blows Safety Harbor’s away,” she said with a laugh. “Ours is way better!”
Linda Norris, USF Professor Caesar Cornejo and artist Lakeema Matthew at the unveiling of Oldsmar’s first public art project on Friday, Nov. 11, 2016.
She also said the project is slotted for an area of 750 square feet and will definitely stand out.
“It’s going to be quite large,” Norris said.
“It might not take up the entire 750 square feet, but it is going to be prominent.”
Council Member Eric Seidel asked what the timeframe was for the work.
“As long as you say it’s okay, we’re gonna start right away!” Norris said.
With that, the council unanimously approved the recommendation, with Vice-Mayor Dan Saracki adding, “I ride my bike there every day. It’s gonna look awesome!”
Mayor Doug Bevis thanked the NPCA as well as Norris and Demmi for their work on bringing the project together, and Seidel also gave kudos to his former council colleague.
“I’ve got to give Linda some credit here where credit’s due,” he said, “because, I think this is the second time that there’s been artwork in front of the council, and it actually passed unanimous. That’s never happened.”
“It’s exciting,” she said, adding, “You haven’t seen the last of us, that’s for sure!”
Lakeema Matthew’s mural at R.E. Olds Park was Oldsmar’s first ever public art project.
After the meeting, Norris spoke to Oldsmar Connect about the importance of public art.
“I believe the last project showed Oldsmar the beauty and value of public art,” Norris said of the mural depicting Oldsmar’s history as well as one of its favorite sons, the late Cpl. Frank R. Gross, painted by Lakeema Matthew at R.E. Olds Park.
“It was a beautiful project that married art with Oldsmar’s identity, so I think now people are more open to public art projects.”
Norris also praised Stillman, an itinerant art teacher at Lila B. Davis Elementary who owns a Masters degree in art education and has worked on projects in Clearwater, St. Pete as well as in New Hampshire, where she attended Plymouth State University.
North Pinellas Cultural Alliance officials, including former Oldsmar City Council member Linda Norris (pink hat) pose at the bonefish crosswalk in Dunedin in December 2016.
“Noelle’s resume was extremely impressive to the selection committee,” she said, noting the group included Leisure Services Director Felicia Donnelly, Dunedin Fine Arts Vice-President and NPCA board member Ken Hannon and Oldsmar’s communications clerk and resident “art liasion,” Kris Hannon.
“What we also liked about her is she thinks a little bit outside of the box. We really likes some of the other proposals, but Noelle’s was definitely our favorite.”
Norris said she expects work will begin on the project this week and she estimates it will take a couple of weeks to complete.
In the meantime, she is already thinking about Oldsmar’s next public art project.
“I’m working with (City Manager) Al (Braithwaite) to see how much money is left in the public art fund so we can start planning our next project,” she said.
“As I said at the meeting, you’ve haven’t seen the last of me!”