A sculpture by legendary artist, environmentalist, and visionary Doris Leeper is being dedicated as part of the City of New Smyrna Beach’s 125th Anniversary Celebration. Garden Sculpture 1 is the first public sculpture in the City by Leeper, who has been a central figure to the area not only for her artistic achievements, but for her community impact as well.
“This sculpture is symbolic of the timeless quality of her work,” said Clay Henderson, Environmental Attorney and friend of the late Leeper. “She brought national recognition to New Smyrna Beach as an artist community and special attention to our unique environmental setting.”
A resident of New Smyrna Beach since 1958, Leeper’s lifelong interest in the relationship of natural and built environments has created three testimonials to her vision - Canaveral National Seashore, the 2000 acre Doris Leeper Spruce Creek Preserve, and the founding of Atlantic Center for the Arts in 1977, an artist community responsible for giving the city an international arts reputation. In 1999, she was inducted into the Florida Artists Hall of Fame, the highest and most prestigious cultural honor that can be bestowed upon an individual in the State of Florida.
Garden Sculpture I, created in 1995, is on permanent loan to the City from the University of Central Florida, College of Arts and Humanities. The 100” tall aluminum sculpture will sit atop the time capsule the City is dedicating at a ceremony on Friday, June 8 at 5:30 PM at City Hall, 210 Sams Avenue, New Smyrna Beach. Atlantic Center for the Arts has partnered with the University of Central Florida since 1986 through the collaboration of Florida House of Representative Sam Bell (1974-1988) and Leeper. The bulk of Leeper’s estate, including works of art, historic photographs and personal effects, are housed at UCF.
When asked about the piece selected for the site, Stetson University Professor Dr. James Murphy said, “What I admire most about these late works by Doris Leeper are their precision, clarity and expressiveness. In Garden Sculpture I, she uses simple modules – in this case, three triangles and a sphere – to create a tension between balance and asymmetry, stability and implied movement, abstract form and figurative content. The sleek, epoxy paint surface of the sculpture complements the shapes, and also emphasizes her constant quest for dramatic high-tech effects.”
For over 50 years, through her professional career in the arts, her extraordinary commitment to the field, and her passion for environmental causes, Leeper has made vital and long-lasting contributions to the enhancement of the arts and the preservation of the environment. The dedication of Garden Sculpture 1 will serve not only as a reminder of the major accomplishments made by residents like Leeper, but also as an inspiration for the future and growth in the community.
City of New Smyrna Beach 125th Birthday Celebration Events:
Friday, June 8, 5:30 PM
Dedication of Garden Sculpture 1 by Doris Leeper and the New Smyrna Beach Time Capsule
Free and open to the public. City Hall, 210 Sams Avenue, New Smyrna Beach
Saturday, June 9, 10 AM - 2 PM
Atlantic Center for the Arts presents free Family Arts and Crafts:
Arts and crafts projects children would have done 125 years ago such as weaving and yarn dolls
Free and open to the public. ACA Yurick Studios, 123 Douglas St., New Smyrna Beach