City/Platform Art Collaboration Brings Art & Agriculture to Downtown

04.18.2012 | by:

Special to Lakeland Local by Taylor Flumerfelt

Detail from a pair of tiles
Photo courtesy Platform Art

A collaborative spirit has helped the City of Lakeland join efforts with Platform Art, Inc.’s Art Party #19: Art in AgriCulture to create a lasting contribution that fosters community and growth.

Platform Art, Inc.’s Art Party #19: Art in AgriCulture will be held on Saturday, April 28 from 7-11 p.m. The event will be primarily held under the St. Joseph’s Catholic Church Pavilion located at 210 West Lemon St.

One of the highlights of this event will be the unveiling of a ceramic mural installed on the Orange Street bridge that connects The Lakeland Center with downtown Lakeland. Charlie Parker, a St. Petersburg artist, was commissioned by Platform Art, Inc. to fashion the mural. The piece will serve as a celebration of Polk County’s agricultural history and Earth Month.

Art Party #19: Art in AgriCulture will feature exhibitions by several community members of short films and visual art as well as performance and sound presentations that are centered on Polk County’s agricultural history. To serve as proof that agriculture can be represented using all forms of art, the event will also include an agriculture-focused fashion show.

Cynthia Haffey, executive director of Platform Art, Inc., contacted several Tampa Bay artists, including Parker, when her search for a ceramic mural artist began. During her visit with Parker, Haffey knew that he was “the perfect person to initiate the project.”

Parker described his reaction to the request as pure “jubilation.”

“What we did is visit Lakeland probably a thousand times,” Parker said. The many tours Parker and his lead artist for the project, Beate Marston, took of Lakeland resulted in photographs and extensive notes focused on Polk County’s landscape and agricultural richness. Parker also conversed with various city leaders to grasp specific details they wanted him to include in the mural.

“Each tile has a quality that you could absolutely jump inside of,” Parker said.

Parker has a history of working on large scale projects. In 1996, he helped start the St. Petersburg Clay Company and in 2010, he opened Charlie Parker Pottery, which is his own studio. Parker travels around the state of Florida showing his work.

The idea of the mural was formed after the City of Lakeland approached Platform Art, Inc. about their desire to create an inviting pedestrian walkway from The Lakeland Center into downtown Lakeland. Parker’s creation will be just one of the efforts that will assist the City of Lakeland in reaching this goal.

Two sections were fabricated—one 80 feet long by one feet high section for each side of the Orange Street bridge. This $5,000 mural is a gift to the City of Lakeland from Platform Art, Inc. Parker constructed the mural over a period of six months.

Platform Art, Inc. is a non-profit organization whose focus is showcasing regional talent in the film, fashion, sound, performance and visual arts fields.

Specially-priced Advance ticket sales can be found at Attendees can also purchase day of the event tickets for $20 or $15 with a valid student ID.


One thought on “City/Platform Art Collaboration Brings Art & Agriculture to Downtown”

  1. Laura Stanton says:

    I saw an article about City of Lakeland and Orange st bridge and Veteran’s Park where a garden is involved maybe needing maintance. I work for AFI- Alliance for Independence & we have a group that learns horticulture skills. I was wondering how we could volunteer or help in some way? Please get back to me soon.


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