TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — New works of art are popping up on the south side of Tallahassee. They are not just for show. Taxpayer dollars are paying for the project with a special purpose. The goal is to educate the Capital City about our shared history while fulfilling a vision for the future.
The Blueprint History and Culture Trail Project is developing along FAMU Way. Inside a shop in the historic Railroad Square, one man is on a mission to honor and celebrate Tallahassee history.
“I work. I sweat,” said Mark Dickson. He creates art that commemorates the people who helped shape Tallahassee. “From 1922 to 1977, Elberta Crate was located basically kind of behind my studio a ways,” Dickson explained.
“I know that the project was about commemorating the history of that area, and this was all industrial down here.”
The Blueprint Intergovernmental Agency commissioned Dickson to build a towering testament to the hard work men and women living in this neighborhood did for decades.
“All these people built this town,” Dickson added. He also said the materials to create the sculpture cost around $10,000. Blueprint is funding multiple works of art along the trail. The money comes from a local sales tax.
“The project’s been underway since 2016,” Blueprint Project Manager Tatiana Daguillard explained. “Since that time, Blueprint has been working with the residents who live around FAMU Way to capture their histories as part of the overall project.”
Daguillard said the approved project budget was $1.1 million. That covers all of the history monuments and the works for that and the public artworks. Blueprint commissioned seven artists to work on sculptures and murals along FAMU Way. Five of those artists are local to the Big Bend.
“There’s still more work to be done so, this is a very large, complex project, with a lot of different moving pieces,” Daguillard added. Completed work includes the “We Are All One” mural along with “A Stroll Down Seaboard Street” painting. Both were unveiled recently along the trail.
The idea gives Big Bend artists, like Dickson, the chance to shine a light on the rich history in this part of town. “It makes everyone go “oh wait a minute,” and then they want to know and then they want to know more,” Dickson said. “Then they may go back to the writing and the history where they can read about it. It’s just a wonderful thing.”
Blueprint says they’re working on the Installation of interpretive history panels. They’re also working on more public art sculptures. The entire project is expected to wrap up later this year.