By: Jen Russon
By the end of the year, the ArtWalk in downtown Coral Springs is expected to sprout wings – in the form of a new public installation that encourages passerby to pose for a selfie.
The commissioned artwork, a stainless steel butterfly, is being produced by Amie J. Jacobsen. Its individually crafted panes of shatterproof glass are by the glass artist, Dierk Van Keppel.
Jacobsen was selected from a pool of over seventy professional artists to be the next commissioned piece for the ArtWalk, located at NW 31st Court. The applicants were eventually narrowed down to three, all of whom presented their ideas at a commission workshop retreat this spring.
Jacobsen explained both nature and metaphor inspired her to create “Give them Wings.”
“The art committee wanted it to be interactive, so I designed something that is very floral and colorful. I was also inspired by my honeymoon in the Florida Keys,” said Amie Jacobsen.
Both sculptress and painter, Jacobsen talked about some 200 species of pollinating butterflies that live in Florida, and how they are indispensable to our ecosystem, adding that while much of the work is nature driven, “Give them Wings” is also a metaphor for families raising children.
To emphasize this, Jacobsen quotes the philosopher, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, who said, “there are two things children should get from their parents: roots and wings.”
Soon, anyone strolling the ArtWalk can have the later. The installation, just approved by the city commission and Coral Spring’s public art committee, will stand more than 11 feet tall and 10-inches across. Even at first glance, it’s no ordinary sculpture.
Spectators are encouraged to become part of the art by standing in the middle of the wings and becoming the “body” of the butterfly, creating a memorable photo opportunity to engage residents and visitors alike.
Like all public art in the city, residents’ tax dollars were not used in the butterfly sculpture’s procurement. The $97,000 cost to commission Jacobsen’s work is from a public art fund and includes a reception with the artist when she is ready to unveil her interactive artwork.
For Jacobsen, this means heading east. The artist divides her time between Kansas City and Colorado Springs, and is currently at work on completing “Give them Wings”.
A graduate of the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), the 45-year-old artist said she has never been to Broward County.
“I’m looking forward to flying down for the unveiling. I haven’t done a sculpture like this before – one that encourages selfie photos,” said Jacobsen whose butterfly sculpture joins a long list of artworks.
Jacobsen is the in-house designer and resident artist at Machine Head, a metal fabrication shop in the Crossroads Art District of Kansas City, Missouri. As well as teaching at SCAD, she illustrated 12 children’s books, which include the Spenser Nation series.
She said she chose to design butterfly wings for Coral Springs for lots of different reasons, sharing her thoughts about families first and foremost.
“After learning about the area, it was clear that Coral Springs is a young, family-oriented community that values education. Butterflies are iconic symbols of growth and development, fitting for a family-centered community.”
Jacobsen anticipates her butterfly sculpture will be ready for installation and unveiling by November or December of this year.
- Jen Russon is a freelance writer and English Language Arts teacher. She has published two novels to Amazon Kindle and lives in Coral Springs with her family.
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