The colonnade that hides their entrance would go. So would the statue, steps and fountain in front of Mizner Park Amphitheater.
The city got its first look at Boca Raton Museum of Art’s proposed design to upscale their visibility. Starting now is “crucial” with an international exhibit in 2021, board chair Jody Harrison Grass told city council sitting as the CRA.
Removing “the bulky, storm-damaged colonnades for a new public space would complete the northern end of Mizner Park,” she said.
City costs would range from $600,000 to $700,000 to make the proposed changes, said executive director Irvin Lippman. The museum has an anonymous donor for the estimated $1.4 million to cover their part of the project, he added.
Green barricades used at amphitheater events further block the museum entrance, Lippman said. “When barricades go up, they say ‘stay out’.’’
The museum is also requesting a curb cut in front of the amphitheater for an ADA-compliant drop-off zone for ride-share vehicles and school buses.
A landscaped area with trees and a sculpture garden with places to sit “are geared toward the public,” said architectural designer Margi Glavovic Nothard. Her studio designed the museum’s recently installed Mending Wall along the loading dock and a new open promenade along Federal Highway.
“The raised area feels like it blocks views and creates a barrier,” Nothard said about the space under the clock tower.
Balconies on the colonnades are rarely used, noted CRA chair and Councilwoman Andrea O’Rourke. “I don’t see a tremendous loss. Sustainable landscaping and shading will keep the temperature down.”
With a performing arts center proposed on the east side, the access road could be renamed Avenue of the Arts, she said.
“Seems like we’re eating into the amphitheater space,” said Deputy Mayor Jeremy Rodgers. “We have our Flossy statue there. I’m not opposed, but I want staff input before a green light. It’s a lot of money to knock down something that costs a lot of money.”
“Obviously cost is an issue, but taking the steps up doesn’t take it away. It’s still the same space,” O’Rourke said. “The Flossy sculpture was loaned to us and we end up paying an upkeep we didn’t count on.”
The bronze statue is a young version of the city’s late youth arts benefactor Flossy Keesley by Boca Raton sculptor Yaacov Heller.
“We all want greater visibility for the museum. We value the amphitheater and we have 70 events there,” said Mayor Scott Singer.
The CRA asked for staff input before the museum can move forward. City Manager Leif Ahnell requested more detailed plans.
The museum made the presentation at the invitation of O’Rourke, an advocate for art in public places.
By Marci Shatzman