3625 NW 20 Ave Miami, FL 33142
The theme for this location stems from the artist’s memory of what once stood here, the Orange Blossom Hobby shop. The floral theme extends to the state’s 500-year history and to the building’s namesake, pioneer John Collins, whose first South Florida venture was in agriculture. John Collins turned from coconut and avocado growing to resort development in the early 1900s. He built the first canal and bridge connections between Miami Beach and Miami, where pioneers Julia Tuttle and the Brickell family were earnestly engaged in creating the new city of Miami. Tuttle’s famous orange blossom enticed Henry Flagler to extend his rail line south to begin a century of exploitation of this uniquely attractive terrain.
Julia’s Blossoms: The bitter winter of 1894-95 destroyed much of Central Florida’s “Orange Belt.” Savvy pioneer, Julia Tuttle, sent orange blossoms from her Miami grove to railroad magnate Henry Flagler, enticing him to extend his tracks south.
Flor: When Ponce de Leon landed on our state’s eastern shore, in 1513, he found a “land of flowers.” He named the territory La Florida, for the Spanish word flor. Flowers continue to inspire us with their delicate beauty and promise of growth and hope.
Orange Blossoms: The Orange Blossom Hobby shop, a landmark of the artist’s childhood, once stood here. An orange painted on the facade of that one-story building inspired this aluminum cut-out sculpture of orange blossoms. Like the model airplane kits that were sold inside, this 60-ft tall sculpture was manufactured in pieces and assembled following his design.
500: These 500 flowers were exhibited at the Biscayne Nature Center gallery in 2013 to commemorate Ponce de Leon’s landing on that island 500 years ago. Later, they were exhibited at the Oldest House Museum in Key West, before being permanently installed here to honor Florida’s quincentennial.