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City of Ocala uses art to foster positive relationships within the community

Published: Sep. 30, 2020 at 5:39 PM EDT
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OCALA, Fla. (WCJB) - During this time of separation and division, the City of Ocala is striving to bring the community together.

Two sculptural seating projects were installed at the new MLK First Responder Campus in Ocala Wednesday.

‘Chatter Bugs’ and ‘Whisper Tubes’, provides not only a place to sit and play, but it’s also a place to foster relationships.

The main goal for this project, Artist Adam Walls said is to bring people together by doing so in a playful way.

“For me, this sculpture project in general is just an opportunity for people to engage in conversation or in play or in rest, and creating sense of community. Getting people communicate more and be friendly to each other and like I said build that sense of community,” Walls said.

And that message spreads throughout the first responder campus.

At the beginning of the month, Tallahassee-based artist DAAS began painting a mural on the...
At the beginning of the month, Tallahassee-based artist DAAS began painting a mural on the surface of the basketball court called ‘Common Grounds'.(WCJB)

At the beginning of the month, Tallahassee-based artist DAAS began painting a mural on the surface of the basketball court called ‘Common Grounds’.

“It’s a place where people can gather. I hope the they can come out an enjoy it, and play on this court and be able to meet each other and maybe meet people that were strangers and become friends and just kind of have more of a sense of connected community,” DAAS said.

Both projects were brought to life through the City’s Cultural Arts and Sciences Division.

“Arts in your community do so much more than make things pretty, they’re an economic driver, they are a catalyst for other projects and reinvestment in the community. They also create spaces through creative place making for folks to have conversations and discussions around maybe global issues or even things that are going on in the community and it’s just a great way to showcase our communities,” Cultural Arts and Sciences Division Head for the City of Ocala, Laura Walker said.

Ocala’s Cultural Arts and Sciences Division oversees just shy of 100 different public art pieces throughout the city.

The new MLK First Responder Campus will house a new fire station for Ocala Fire Rescue and will be a sub-station for the Ocala Police Department.

The city is still putting the the final touches on the new campus, so a final date has not been selected yet, but when the MLK First Responder Campus does officially open, ‘Chatter Bugs’ and ‘Whisper Tubes’ is public art and will be open for the public to use.

The basketball court is also a community facility and the public will be able to use it as well.

The mural 'Common Grounds' draws on imagery, and symbols relating to first responders in the...
The mural 'Common Grounds' draws on imagery, and symbols relating to first responders in the City of Ocala.(City of Ocala)

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