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Holmes Beach sculpture taken for tour

By Merab-Michal Favorite, Islander Reporter

John Henry and a helper load and secure the Linda Howard sculpture from in front of city hall onto a truck June 26. An artist himself, Henry said he will transport Howard’s sculpture first to a Canadian sculpture show, and then to a sculpture garden in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Islander Photo: Bonner Joy

Have you noticed something is missing at Holmes Beach City Hall?

The large abstract sculpture that decorated the front entrance for more than a decade is gone, and it’s not coming back.

The aluminum structure was removed on a flatbed truck July 25 at the request of the artist, Linda Howard, of Ellenton.

According to Howard, the sculpture was taken to an art show in Canada and will be traveling to various shows around the country.

The sculpture is one of two donated by Howard to the city in 1999.

And Howard claims the work was on loan to the city.

Manatee County Commissioner Carol Whitmore, who was mayor of Holmes Beach when Howard presented the artwork to the city, said she is sad to see them go.

“I’m surprised she took them back, I don’t remember her ever saying they were on loan. I thought she had donated them,” Whitmore said. “But whatever her reasons, I appreciate what she did for Holmes Beach.”

Whitmore said many people associate the city of Holmes Beach with the sculptures and the works have even appeared on Holmes Beach postcards in the past.

However, the sculptures were not without controversy when they first arrived.

Holmes Beach residents were divided on whether or not they liked Howard’s abstract work when the sculptures were placed — one at city hall and the other, a smaller piece, near the entrance to Key Royale — in October 1999.

A petition asking for their removal circulated and more than 83 people asked to have the sculptures removed, while another petition with 140 signatures asked to have the artwork stay.

The Key Royale sculpture was removed about a month ago, according to Lori Kee, deputy city clerk.

Howard said both structures were in need of repair and that was one reason they were removed.

Howard is an Illinois native who graduated from the University of Denver in the 1950s.

She has held teaching positions at Manatee Community College, the University of Florida and the University of New York. She has received numerous awards for her sculptures, which she displays all over the country. She is represented by galleries in Miami, Atlanta and Tallahassee.

Her work can be viewed at online www.lindahowardsculpture.com.

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