|The Rivertown Brick Mural
As part of the city’s celebration of its 125th anniversary and the corresponding presentation of the new City Hall to the public, a trio of DeLand-area artists were commissioned by a citizen's committee to create large-scale permanent works for the entryway and first floor lobby.
John Wilton, John Wolfe and Harry Messersmith all live in the DeLand area and have had art studios and galleries in downtown DeLand. Well known in the central Florida arts community, these three combined their talents and resources to create three stunning pieces of public art.
For the south entryway to the lobby, the artists created The Rivertown Brick Mural, depicting a family on the banks of the St. Johns River, two important features of DeLand's character. They worked closely with the construction team, employing the same bricks that were used throughout the exterior, placing them in patterns and at varying depths to create the scene. It was designed and partially assembled at Messersmith's studio near the DeLand airport, then transported to the construction site for placement on the wall, brick by brick.
Azalea Towers, North and South
For the indoors, the artists were inspired by the tall shafts with bright natural lighting at the north and south ends of the two-story lobby. Working with cut aluminum pieces painted in bold shades of pink and white, they built large azalea blooms and formed them into two mobiles titled Azalea Towers, North and South. The hanging sculptures were fabricated in Wolfe's studio in Glenwood and then assembled in Wilton's studio in town. Azaleas are a prominent part of DeLand’s beauty in the spring and are a source of pride to DeLand residents. The mobiles reinterpret the natural beauty of the flowers, combining a DeLand tradition with a contemporary presentation.
Alberto Gomez also volunteered his talent and created this wonderful painting in honor of a man who, during his lifetime did a lot for the arts in Volusia County, Tippen Davidson. He says about his work,"My work depicts the combination of daily life and fantasy together in the story. It concentrates on the narrative of figures. I consider my technique to mirror that I try to blur of the poet using symbols, a sense of place with the people presented in the paintings.
My mother was diagnosed bipolar. In her crisis moments, she experienced and spoke about past, present and future at the same time. Her crisis perception has become an inspiration to my art as boundaries of time by showing the many layers of memory in the paintings. As my subject matter is figurative, my inspiration comes from my love of people. I am an artist open to the people, a child learning or an elder person teaching moves me. I seek to portray the human story."