Two years after the Confederate soldier statue known as “Old Joe” was removed near the Alachua County Administration Building, the search for artwork to replace the monument has begun.
The Alachua County Art Council is asking for submissions of possible art displays on the west lawn of the building, located on the southeast corner of University Avenue and Main Street.
The pieces must have some sort of three-dimensional aspect and convey themes of peace, love and justice. The work cannot represent a historical event or political concept.
The County Commission approved $25,000 for the project in its 2019-20 budget using money from the general fund. The fund covers artist and consultant or subcontractor fees, engineering, transportation and installation of the project on the 12-by-12-foot concrete slab.
County Commissioner Marihelen Wheeler said she is interested in a sculpture similar to the one at Paynes Prairie that depicts a horse defending itself against an alligator.
The artwork will replace the former Confederate soldier statue that stood in downtown Gainesville for more than 100 years. Its existence prompted controversy soon after white nationalists protested at the University of Virginia over a similar monument removal. The Charlottesville incident left three people dead.
Construction workers took the statue down in August 2017. The statue was taken to a cemetery on State Road 234.
The Art Council will begin its search in the coming months. Artist submissions must include a resume and letter that details interest in the project, five to 10 digital examples of previous artwork, a sketch of the proposed project on the west lawn, a description of the work that includes weight and material, a completed budget of costs, timeline for completion of the project and a description of the project’s maintenance requirements.
The council will rank the projects and present them to commissioners for a final selection.
Submittals can be mailed or delivered to the Alachua County Administration Building, at 12 SE 1 St. in Gainesville, at the Procurement Division on the third floor.
Gina Peebles, assistant county manager, said the submission deadline should be within the end of the year.