AMELIA ISLAND, Fla. (May 31, 2017) – Over the Memorial Day weekend, visitors to Amelia Island’s beaches were greeted by five new artful reminders of the island’s commitment to protecting the coastline. Five sculptures have been installed at four beach accesses to help raise awareness of Amelia Island’s “Leave No Trace” ordinance, an island-wide effort adopted last year to keep local beaches clean. Installed at Main Beach, Seaside Beach, Peters Point, and Burney Park, the sculptures are the original artwork of five notable artists commissioned for the project. Created using a mix of naturally occurring and manmade debris collected from Amelia's shores, the unique seaside sculptures will be on display for one year.
“We were excited to get the sculptures installed ahead of the Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start of summer,” said Leigh Palmer, Director of Strategic Initiatives at the Amelia Island Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB). “Each artist took the time to reflect on the message of the project and it shows in their creative use of debris and discarded items from our beaches, giving us an attractive way to grab the attention of beachgoers who may not be familiar with local guidelines and might otherwise overlook posted signage.”
The sculpture installations were the culmination of a project that began last November, when the CVB put out the call for submissions for finished, large-scale outdoor sculptures with sustaining mediums. The review and selection process included a jury of members from the Island Art Association, as well as Arts and Culture Nassau, the governing committee for the City of Fernandina Beach, and Sculpture Walk Jacksonville’s Executive Director, Jennifer Hager. The five selected artists are Aisling Millar McDonald; Cat Chiu Phillips; Joni Younkins-Herzog; Alan Milligan; and Richard Herzog.
Amelia Island’s “Leave No Trace” ordinance supports the CVB’s ongoing international program to reduce environmental impact, making it illegal to leave unattended beach chairs, tents, water sport equipment, and other beach recreation items overnight on the public beach and allows for the prompt removal and disposal of such items. Passed in 2016, the ordinance was put in place to help protect the island’s beaches as a natural asset and critical part of Amelia Island’s appeal as a tourist destination.
“Preserving the beaches our residents and visitors cherish and that local wildlife depends on is of the utmost importance to us,” said Gil Langley, President and CEO of the Amelia Island CVB. “Amelia Island’s beaches are a natural treasure and the seaside sculpture project is just the latest of our many efforts to protect them.”
Amelia Island has earned a long list of awards and recognitions for the quality of the visitor experience and the island’s beautiful beaches and waterways. Earlier this year, Amelia Island was recognized by the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI) and National Geographic Traveler as the Platinum Winner in a special category of Leader in Sustainable Tourism for the destination’s Clean Beach initiative.
For more information about the “Leave No Trace Ordinance,” contact the Nassau County manager’s office at (904) 530-6010.
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Seaside Sculptures FAQs
What is the Leave No Trace Ordinance?
Amelia Island’s “Leave No Trace” ordinance makes it illegal to leave unattended beach chairs, tents, water sport equipment, and other beach recreation items overnight (after 8pm) on the public beach and allows for the prompt removal and disposal of such items. Both the City of Fernandina Beach
and Nassau County
have ordinances in place to keep our beaches clean.
How does the Seaside Sculptures communicate the Leave No Trace message?
The Amelia Island Tourist Development Council (AITDC) has used traditional marketing methods, like suppling area lodging properties in-room materials
and digital videos for use in rooms and on social media. The Seaside Sculptures, Amelia Island’s latest public art, is another way we hope to continue the conversation. Each sculpture has additional signage noting the intention of the project, materials used and the intention of the Leave No Trace ordinance.
Who funded the Seaside Sculptures?
The Amelia Island Tourist Development Council, under the direction of the Nassau County Board of County Commissioners, fully funded this project.
Where did you obtain the materials?
The driftwood was collected as part of the island-wide debris clean up in the weeks following Hurricane Matthew. Man-made debris, like chairs and umbrellas, were obtained from the nightly debris removal as a result of the Leave No Trace ordinance.
What was the process to be selected?
In November 2017, the Amelia Island Tourist Development Council put out a call to artists on several international forums. We received over 30 submissions from artists all over the world, many who have previously visited Amelia Island. Each artist was required to submit samples of previous work and demonstrate their skill with large scale outdoor public art. Submissions were reviewed by the Island Art Association, Arts and Culture Nassau, and representatives from local sculpture organizations, engineers, city and county officials.
How sustainable are the sculptures?
Recognizing a portion of each sculpture is made from repurposed materials, this particular exhibit will last one year. Each artist was tasked with creating a sculpture that recognized the often unforgiving natural climate and created their piece to withstand the elements. Each sculpture is installed on a cast-mold base – a mixture of concrete, sand and recycled plastic and can be removed at the end of the project with little to no lasting impact on the environment.