In the News

April 25th, 2019
In the News

DeLand Sculpture Walk debuts new, unusual works

Downtown DeLand drivers might have a lot on their minds: work, politics, people turning illegally at New York Avenue and Woodland Boulevard.

Then, there’s the new highway sign. But instead of pointing to Interstate 4 or 95, it has a different message.

“Breathe,” it reads. “All We Have Is Now.”

The sign is displayed facing Woodland Boulevard between Georgia and New York avenues along with other traffic signs offering calming messages in an art piece by Scott Froschauer of Sun Valley, Calif. The faux road signs are among 11 new works that recently debuted throughout downtown DeLand as part of the 15-piece DeLand Sculpture Walk.

“I think we’re inundated with a lot of serious stuff going on politically, going on in other realms,” said Ray Johnson, who started the sculpture program. “This kind of takes you back to something that is not serious. It’s not overwhelming. It gives you a chance to just breathe, look at the world a little differently.”

The sculpture walk, a collaboration between the Museum of Art — DeLand and the city, started in 2010 and typically changes out pieces every year or two. This year’s installation cost about $25,000, Johnson said.

“We see the museum, any museum … as a cathedral of art,” said John Wilton, the chair of the museum’s public arts committee. “It’s a place where you go to worship the great art, but most people don’t go in. So Ray (Johnson) and I see ourselves as missionaries and we bring it to the streets.”

Another of the new works this year is “Whole Hearted” by Alex Mendez of Decatur, Ind. The large, silver outline of a heart is set up outside Cafe DaVinci, 112 W. Georgia Ave., and has enough room for people to pose inside the heart.

“To me this one has great selfie possibilities,” Johnson said. “You can stand beside it, look through it. You’ve got that ability to rotate it.”

“I’ve seen a lot of couples standing in front of it,” added Georgia Carter Turner, executive director of the West Volusia Tourism Advertising Authority.

She suspects the faux road signs on Woodland Boulevard will be the most photographed of this year’s walk.

“It’s so positive and it’s just different and it does make you take a double take,” she said.

She said her office is frequently contacting the walk’s organizers for more copies of its brochure.

“Our visitors love public art,” she said.