press releases: archived
Pictured left to right: Dianna Sutton, CFFK President & CEO; Gayle Hewlett, FKCA Board Treasurer; Honoree, Lois Giffen; Liz Young, FKCA Executive Director; Dean Walters, FKCA Board Vice Chair.
As part of an overall effort to establish the Keys as a national and international arts and cultural destination, the Florida Keys Council of the Arts launched an exciting new public art initiative called "Dolphins on Parade." Patterned after the successful art event held in Chicago, this year-long, Keys wide promotional event was designed to spotlight the artistic diversity and creative talent that is abundant throughout our island chain.
Recent studies have consistently shown that culture ranks high on the list of reasons people give for selecting vacation destinations. Visitors interested in cultural and historical destinations tend to have higher income levels, stay longer, are more likely to stay in hotels, have a greater interest in shopping, and spend more money with less negative impact on the environment.
What was "Dolphins on Parade?"
Craftsman Matt Olk designed a wooden dolphin, five feet high and three feet wide, as a template for the dolphins in the series. Businesses and individuals became part of this major promotional event by sponsoring a dolphin for $750.00, which covered the artist's fee and cost of materials.
Sponsors selected an artist on their own or chose one from a list of participating artists provided by the Arts Council. Each dolphin was a unique, original piece of art created out of the artist's imagination! "As original works of art, the dolphins generated a huge amount of interest throughout the Keys," said Mayor Shirley Freeman. "We saw 'Dolphins on Parade' from Key Largo to Key West."
Art and business partnership!
Sponsors displayed their dolphins at any location of their choice. Over 100 businesses and individuals sponsored, and proudly displayed, dolphins. The "parade of dolphins" was a 110-mile art exhibit stretching from Key Largo to Key West!
All for a Good Cause!
In addition to drawing positive national attention to the Keys as a cultural destination, and providing a focal point for visitors at businesses throughout the Keys, the dolphins were auctioned at gala fundraising events. The artists who created these original works of art received a percentage of the sale price.
The balance supported the projects and programs of the Arts Council, such as Artists in Schools and ArtReach grants.