Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Kowal on Sarasota

There is an interesting story about Sarasota sculptor Dennis Kowal in the December issue of "Laurel Park News" - the Laurel Park newsletter. The story was written by Chris Jaensch.

Part of the story discusses Kowal’s work and how he has been "strongly influenced by living in Florida.....he gets inspired by the intensity of the light here."

Kowal "has strong feelings about rampant growth and development both in Sarasota and Florida." He calls the issue in Sarasota "creeping exclusivity" and "feels that Sarasota is in danger of becoming a huge gated community with no place for the creative class." He says "artists are leaving in droves because they can’t afford to live here."

While he chooses to live in Laurel Park for a variety of reasons, he mentions proximity to urban amenities, walkability to downtown, the eclectic character of Laurel Park and, of course, the fact that his two daughters (Jolie McInnis and Denise Kowal) live nearby as being high on his list.

The article indicates that Kowal believes some of these positive attributes are in jeopardy. "For example [he] thinks that human scale is being violated in the downtown area, by buildings that go right up to the sidewalk edge. This damages the pedestrian experience within the city center."

We certainly can relate to Kowal’s feelings about the issues and the dramatic changes happening in Florida and Sarasota. He has identified many of the issues we have been discussing this past year.

While we may not have the answers, it would be great to know that the people we have elected to guide our community are listening to the citizens and working to address these issues.

Kowal’s work can be seen in a number of Sarasota locations (currently he has a sculpture in the Sarasota Season of Sculpture show on the bayfront). More information can be found at his website.

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