Jim Benedict, assistant professor of sculpture at Jacksonville University and a public artist, spent between 150 and 200 hours creating his obelisk. The piece, which gave Benedict a chance to try his hand at fiberglass processes, sits inverted on a steel frame. Its pediment features historical architectural elements of St. Augustine.
“Public art is the physical manifestation of a community’s investment in cultural advancement,” says Benedict. “This show is particularly interesting because the work has two lives. It gets the exaltation of a gallery display and the egalitarian access of a public art setting.”
Benedict, a Murray Hill resident, has a sculpture studio in Arlington. Working on the obelisk, which is untitled, gave the artist a chance to dig deeper into St. Augustine’s storied past.
“It is incredible to think of the history housed in one region,” he says. “It’s easy to get frustrated by the pace of social advancement, as it relates to our lifetimes. The 450 celebration, for me, showcases the steady march of social progress of the region and inspires me to keep an eye on the future and hope in the present.”