Keys firehouse in line to get $14,000 stained-glass windows


The three windows depict a commercial fishing boat, Dalmatians and crab traps.
The three windows depict a commercial fishing boat, Dalmatians and crab traps.


A proposal for three stained-glass panels based on the island's fishing and firefighting heritage has been selected for the newly expanded Conch Key firehouse.

Virginia artist Maureen Melville designed the panels, to cover a top-floor window space measuring 12 feet by 4 feet, in a submission to Monroe County's Art in Public Places program.

County committee members advised Melville that "they were looking for something that reflects the island's commercial fishing history and fire fighting," Melville said Tuesday. "I sort of mashed those aspects together."

The Monroe County Commission will be asked to approve the $14,000 project at its Jan. 16 meeting in Key West. The item is listed under bulk approvals.

The Art in Public Places program was enacted by county law in 2001, and is largely administered by the Florida Keys Arts Council. The program allocates 1 percent of money spent on most of the county's new construction or major renovations toward public art.

Three artists submitted proposals for the Conch Key firehouse. A county arts advisory committee ranked Melville's as the highest on quality, endurance, character, compatibility and other criteria.

Artists were given the option of submitting a design for the top windows or for an outdoor sculpture.

The three panels in Melville's "modern contemporary glass" style depict a commercial fishing boat, Dalmatians and crab traps.

"I began working in public art because more than many other arts, stained glass is an art that needs to be integrated into its setting," Melville says in her online biography. "I work with glass because I love the transparency, the rich color, the reflections and most importantly the interaction with light."

"I've been there [to the Florida Keys] once, and really liked it," said Melville, a 25-year art professional.

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