Miami Springs city leaders voted 3-2 at last Monday’s council meeting for artists Alfredo and Pavlina Alea to develop site-specific artwork for the new $5 million pool scheduled to open next summer.
“You only have two people,” City Manager Jan Seiden said. “Make a motion to one or the other.”
However, instead of publicly stating which of the two finalists each cast votes for, council members wrote their choices on a piece of paper and passed them down to the city clerk.
The two finalists were not mentioned by name during the vote but rather as “No. 1” or “No. 2.”
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“When you have to decide issues of public art, it is almost impossible to, you know?” said Councilman Bob Best, who was reminded to put his name on the “ballot.”
All council members were asked to write his or her name on the ballot for the “public record” though no names were mentioned at the meeting. The City of Miami Springs has not immediately responded to a public records request by the Miami Herald to determine who council members voted for.
“Secret ballots violate the Sunshine Law,” said Barbara A. Petersen, president of the Tallahassee-based First Amendment Foundation. “Commissioners are allowed to use written ballots but they must put their names on the ballots, the votes have to be read into the record, and those written ballots are a subject to disclosure under the public records law.”
“Three No. 1s and two No. 2s,” said Seiden, who announced the final tally.
Afterward, “No. 1” was decoded as two Aleas, who submitted artwork entitled “fluid dynamics.”
The duo was inspired by the natural movement of water and the optical effects its transparency creates, according to a city press release. The design includes an aluminum wall sculpture, four decorative fence panels and six hand-glazed tile wall murals in vivid primary colors.
Before the vote, council members spent weeks extensively studying the artwork and developing questions.
“The one that is going on the outside of the building kind of looks like a male figure,” said Councilman Jaime Petralanda. Is there any way we can have a female – or make it unisex?”
The Aleas proposed having a male and female together.
Complete copies of each artists’ submissions can be viewed at www.miamisprings-fl.gov.
Thirteen artistic renderings were reviewed and scored by a committee last September. The final five artists presented their work to the city Nov. 17. Of the five, only two artists presented at Monday’s council meeting.
The goals of the arts program include enhancing the artistic heritage of Miami-Dade County and promoting awareness of the visual arts.
The “art in public places” program requires that 1.5 percent of government building construction costs, within the county, is set aside for the commission of site-specific artwork.