The Quilt Trail

One of the best things about riding bike trails is stumbling upon something unexpected, and that’s exactly what happened when riding the Nature Coast Trail from Fanning Springs to Trenton. As we approached the historic Trenton Train Station, I noticed what looked like a “barn quilt” painted not on a barn, but on a business, across the street from the station.

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The watermelon and sunflower pattern certainly is appropriate for this portion of north Florida as watermelon was a crop commonly transported on the railway connecting Trenton to Jacksonville. And then look what we found on the other side of the railroad depot.

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Not just one, but a series of quilt patterns painted on the old brick building and information about the Trenton Quilt Festival, an annual event since 2014

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Each quilt is accompanied by a plaque with an explanation about the pattern as well as historical information.

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Displayed on the building housing the Suwannee Valley Quilt Shoppe is a patriotic collection of painted quilts.

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Even though I’m not a quilter, I couldn’t resist stepping inside the quilt shop to take a peek and found the walls inside covered with more works of art as well as a cafe serving soup, salad, sandwiches, quiche and pastries.

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Down the street, even the local florist participated with what else? A flower basket quilt

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While we saw over a dozen of these painted quilts, we barely scratched the surface. Barn quilts, actually painted on barns, can be found hiding in fields throughout Gilchrist County.

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And while Florida’s first Quilt Trail originated in Trenton and Gilchrist County; Live Oak, Branford, White Springs and Madison are all home to additional artwork on a barnless quilt trail. To learn more about the 2016 Quilt Festival, click here to check out there website.

Obelisk Love

Obelisk:  a tall, four-sided, narrow tapering monument which ends in a pyramid-like shape at the top

Twenty-five obelisks, painted by local artists, adorn the streets of St. Augustine as part of the city’s 450th anniversary celebration.

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The piece located at the base of the Bridge of Lions included some of St. Augustine’s most recognizable symbols.

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Replicas of the 30-foot Monumento de la Constitución, the art is on display throughout the historic district in St. Augustine.

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While on a scavenger hunt for the art, I realized I’d overlooked the many obelisks that have always been a part of St. Augustine.

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In fact, I even found one in the cemetery.

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Standing 8 1/2 feet tall, the obelisks are done in a variety of styles.
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Painted, covered in mirrors even obelisks displayed upside down.

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The artwork represents the values found on the constitution monument: democracy, human rights, freedom and compassion.

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Sometimes these values are in written form and on other pieces they’re represented visually.

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Created by YarnBombJax.com covered an obelisk in yarn to recognize the involvement of Kat Twine in St. Augustine’s Civil Rights movement. Their description of their work:

Intertwined across our obelisk are reminders that our FREEDOM is not free; that our HUMAN RIGHTS are a privilege; that our COMPASSION is synonymous with servitude; and that our DEMOCRACY is divided by house. Using unexpected colors, textures, and patterns we have elevated these four values and imbued then with a sense of surrealism.

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My favorite was located at The Cathedral Bascilica of St. Augustine. As the artist, Kevin Curry says about this obelisk:

That which we hold in the palm of our hand can have monumental consequences.

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This public art will be on display through the end of the month so it’s not too late to make a trip to the nation’s oldest city or at least click here to see all 25 obelisks.

 

The Art of Cycling

For me, the only art to cycling is making sure I pedal fast enough to keep from falling over, but the Stowe Recreation Path in Stowe, VT proved to be not only an enjoyable ride through the Vermont countryside but an art exhibit as well.

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Over the course of the six mile path, a variety of sculptures including a guide to each piece by phone provided an interesting art show.

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The sculptures as well as historic buildings are a bonus to trail users.

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The easy, relatively flat trail crosses ten bridges so there are many opportunities to view the river crisscrossing through the town.

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Even on a wet day, a twelve mile ride in Stowe was a great place to ride and enjoy art, both made by man and nature.

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Arts are Alive in Fernandina Beach

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Twenty hand-painted poles decorate the alley just off Centre Street, the main drag, in Fernandina Beach.

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Painted poles represent the art and music community

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as well as the fish, sea turtles, shrimp, pelicans and other creatures found in the area.

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Several of the poles illustrate the history of Nassau County

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and others celebrate reading and writing.

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Even the area’s lighthouse adorns one of the poles.

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This project, located in the the historic downtown riverfront, was the first test of the city’s new “Art in Public Places Ordinance”. Unbelievable…an ordinance encouraging public art? Wonder what the next project will be.

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Sea the Venice Dolphins

We discovered “Sea Venice”, a public arts display, while looking for an ice cream shop after a busy day on the beaches of southwest Florida.

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Sea Hibiscus

Twenty uniquely painted dolphins adorn the streets, parks, and businesses of Venice and will promote the Venice Arts Center with the auction proceeds.

The “Sea Venice” dolphins added some extra fun to a stroll down Venice Avenue.