Pecky Cypress Artwork Signifies the Resilient and Enduring Spirit of Floridians
Florida Senate President Bill Galvano (R-Bradenton) today hosted a special recognition ceremony to unveil new artwork outside of the public entrance to the Senate Gallery. The new artwork, entitled “Resilience” was completed by artist Barry Miller of Rose Boulevard Design in Tallahassee and replaces the “Five Flags Mural,” which was removed and preserved as part of the 2016 Senate Chamber Renovation.
“With this area being the face of the Florida Senate to many visitors and one of the most visited areas of the Capitol, it was my goal during my term as Senate President to commission a timeless, unifying, and welcoming piece of art for this important space,” said President Galvano. “Like the pecky cypress wood from which it was constructed, this new sculpture signifies the resilient and enduring spirit of past, present, and future generations of Floridians.”
“Resilience” is constructed of pecky cypress wood, which is very unique to the Southeastern and Gulf Coastal Plains. This distinctive wood occurs when a fungus enters the tree after a limb falls or an injury to the tree occurs, typically in cypress trees more than 100 years old. Over time, the holes grow in number and size; however, the spring fed, low oxygen waters of certain Florida Rivers protect the wood from decomposition. Estimates indicate the cypress wood used in “Resilience” was originally harvested during Florida’s steam boat era – the time of the territorial State Senate. The particular logs used in the piece were taken from the river bottom and planed into boards before being recovered by Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, in partnership with the Department of Environmental Protection.
“The Senate was fortunate to learn of this unique material during the reconstruction of the Senate Chamber in the summer of 2016,” continued President Galvano. “The pecky cypress logs you see before you were recovered from the Ocklawaha River in North Central Florida. In addition to this artwork, the Senate has recycled and repurposed various forms of recovered cypress wood in other spaces as an example of Florida’s heritage and history.”
Artist Barry Miller specializes in high end furniture, historic architectural wood preservation, and custom wood artwork. Examples of Mr. Miller’s artwork can be found at the Tallahassee International Airport, the Wakulla Springs Lodge, and local restaurants. He has completed specialized historic preservation on the award-winning restoration of the St. Marks Lighthouse, Historic Jefferson County High School, Monticello City Hall, and a number of small historical buildings in the surrounding areas.
The original Five Flags Mural was commissioned by the Senate in 1978, completed by artist Renee Faure in 1979, and rested at the public entrance of the Senate gallery for nearly 40 years. The extensive renovation of the Senate Chamber in 2016 necessitated the removal of the Five Flags Mural, which was carefully detached from the wall and preserved. The mural is now on display at the historic First National Bank in downtown Perry, Florida, where it continues to serve as an educational tool, depicting various scenes and figures in our Florida history for patrons and visitors.