Christa Harkins, James J. Harkins IV and Hillsborough County Commissioner, Sandy Murman celebrated the dedication of the newly installed public art called “Sandpiper Pavilion” in the James J. Harkins IV Plaza at the SouthShore Regional Library in Ruskin.

On a glorious, hot Florida day in May, a dedication was held for the new public art at the SouthShore Regional Library.

The public art called “Sandpiper Pavilion” is located in the James J. Harkins IV Plaza. “Sandpiper Pavilion” was created by Koryn Rolstad of Seattle, Washington. The public art was paid for by Hillsborough County Public Art Program.

The dedication of the public art was led by Hillsborough County Commissioner Sandy Murman, who said, “We must thank those whose persistence and love for art made this public art project possible.” Murman added, “Public art is so important. Art lets our kids know who they are and lets out their creativity.”

The plaza is named after James H. Harkins IV, who was instrumental in getting funding for many projects in the SouthShore area, including the SouthShore Regional Library and Hillsborough Community College. Harkins is the founder of the SouthShore Roundtable.

Murman said of Harkins, “This is an important celebration. Your wisdom and guidance has given us so much.”

Former County Commissioner, Jan Platt said, “We all followed his lead. He was the idea person. Without him, there would not be a junior college in the south county. He deserves to have this patio for his leadership.”

“Sandpiper Pavilion” features two shade pavilions facing each other across open space with ornamented water drop patterns sandblasted into the ground paving. Laser cut openings in the pavilions’ ceilings cast patterns of layered palm leaves onto the water drops below. At night, LED lights accent the pavilions. The columns supporting the pavilions give a nod to the legs of the sandpiper birds of the nearby shore. The work of art’s references to palms, water and sandpipers give a visual reference to the plaza that fits the surrounding environment and architecture.

Harkins said of the plaza and the art, “It’s good. I think it is going to be a place for cultural events and a good meeting place for the community to hold events such as art shows.”

The Hillsborough County Public Art Program was established in 1988.

The SouthShore Regional Library is located at 15816 Beth Shields Way in Ruskin.

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