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Land of the Longleaf Pine
Dept. of Transportation, Milton Operations Center, Santa Rosa County Milton, FL


Copyright © 2002 Nancy Gutkin O'Neil
Please click to see additional images of project


Dept. of Transportation, Milton Operations Center, Santa Rosa County Milton, FL
Florida Art in State Buildings Project
2002

Milton is the county seat of Santa Rosa County, just northeast of Pensacola in the western Panhandle of Florida. It is one of the oldest cities in Florida, incorporated in 1844. It is close to Pensacola Bay, the Gulf of Mexico and the Blackwater River.

I created two backlit panels for the lobby of this office building. Each panel is 24"x85"x 1/2". There is a lot of blue-green, or jade in this piece. It refers to the "Emerald Coast", the name given to the unusual color of the water in this area. Threading through the jade is a clear true blue, a reference to the rivers such as the Blackwater that are an important part of this landscape.

I spoke with several members of the arts committee as well as local historians, botanists, biologists and archaeologists. I wanted to keep the design simple, but with sufficient detail to keep it interesting. I took all the information that I gathered and tried to distill it down to the essence of what is significant about Santa Rosa and Escambia counties.

The title of the piece is "Land of the Longleaf Pine", and it includes carefully painted and fired illustrations from the life cycle of the longleaf pine.

Each panel has a column of historic photos, a central section of plants and animals from the northern panhandle forest ecosystem and from the Gulf coastal area, and a narrow border with small images drawn from history and the natural world. The photos are from the archives at the University of West Florida and from the Milton Historical Society.

Project photos by Stephen Traves