[From Donna Gordon and the Official St. Petersburg City site]
ST. PETERSBURG, FL (October 13, 2014) – St.
Petersburg high school student Molly Doyle had no idea that something
she saw during a family vacation in Greenville, South Carolina, would
lead to a public sculpture installation on one of St. Petersburg’s
busiest downtown thoroughfares. “Birds On Beach,” to be unveiled
Tuesday, October 21, is the city’s newest addition to a growing
collection of public art.
At 4 p.m. on October 21, Mayor Rick Kriseman and artist Donna Gordon
introduce the Warbleson bird sculptures to St. Petersburg during a
ceremony in South Straub Park, just south of Second Ave. N. Molly,
friends and family members, District 4 Council Member Darden Rice, the
city’s Public Art commission liaison, District 6 Council member Karl
Nurse and Elizabeth Brincklow, manager of the city’s Office of Cultural
Affairs, will be in attendance.
During the family’s 2012 Greenville trip, Molly, now a Northside
Christian School senior, noticed a whimsical public art project called Mice on Main,
a city-wide mouse hunt that served as an engaging way for people to
learn more about the city. Molly realized the concept would work well in
St. Petersburg and Birds on Beach was hatched.
“Watching the project move from an idea to an actual art
installation was exciting,” reflected Molly. “I learned a lot,
especially that you shouldn’t let age or inexperience keep you from
achieving your goals.”
After receiving city approval for her idea and finding seven local
sponsors to host the birds, Molly hired figurative sculptor and St.
Petersburg resident Donna Gordon. Working closely with Molly, Gordon
began the process of creating eight, 5 1/2-inch bronze birds that now
perch along or near, Beach Drive.
“The sculpting was a lot of fun, but the best part of this project
for me was working side-by-side with Molly,” stated artist Donna Gordon.
“Few teens her age have the determination to undertake a project of
this scope, let alone see it through. She is an impressive young
The entire project took almost two years, from the idea’s inception to the birds’ installation.
Birds on Beach is a bird quest whereby visitors and
residents are invited to locate the Warbleson bird family who are
visiting St. Petersburg but have lost track of one of their flock. The
task is to help Mama, Daddy, Betty, Brian, Beatrice, Benny, and Bethany
find missing fledgling Buddy and, while doing so, discover the history
of downtown St. Pete.
“Combining details of art and of St. Petersburg’s history with the
story of the Warbleson family provides a delightful opportunity for both
our residents and visitors to engage with the beauty of our downtown
waterfront,” said Elizabeth Brincklow, manager of the city’s Office of
Cultural Affairs. “Our partners in the public and private sector have
been enthusiastic supporters of Molly’s idea and a unique opportunity
to share her love of art with the city.”
The public is invited to help locate the missing Warbleson with free clue flyers available at seven sponsor locations or at www.birdsonbeach.com , which will launch October 21. Sponsors include the St. Petersburg Parks and Recreation Administrative offices, 1400 19th
St. N.; the Renaissance Vinoy Hotel, 501 Fifth Ave. NE; The Birchwood,
340 Beach Drive NE; Bruce Watters Jewelers, 208 Beach Drive NE; The Dali
Museum, One Dali Blvd.; the Museum of Fine Arts, 255 Beach Drive NE; or
the St. Petersburg Museum of History, 335 Second Ave. NE.
For information about Molly Doyle and the Birds on Beach project, visit www.birdsonbeach.com .