Sculpture Trail expands in the Florida Keys thanks to Arts Patrons John Padget and Jacob Dekker

A musical wind tower, grand stone faces from the ancient world, and a REALLY big bird are just some of the artworks along the brand new Florida Keys Sculpture Trail. Eight sculptures, created by artists at the Art Students League of New York, are being installed this summer. See a map here.  The sculpture trail is the realization of an inspiration of two longtime Key West philanthropists, John Padget and Jacob Dekker, who saw the League artists’ sculptures in New York City in 2016.

Their vision is now a reality thanks to a huge collaborative effort with the Monroe County Board of County Commissioners, the County’s Art in Public Places Committee and Elizabeth Young, Executive Director of the Florida Keys Council of the Arts. Ms. Young teamed with local public and private organizations to curate and supervise the installations. Susann D’Antonio, Chair of the public art committee, and committee member Beth Kaminstein, representing the Islamorada district, worked diligently to find the perfect spot for each dynamic piece. Space is always an issue on the chain of islands, yet the artwork is so outstanding that there were many eager hosts.

Mr. Padget says, “Providing a permanent home for these sculptures from artists at the Art Students League is a real thrill. We hope future ASLNY artists will view eventual permanent placement of their work on the Florida Keys Sculpture Trail as an attractive opportunity.  And, local artists will be stimulated to submit their work as the trail grows.”

The sculptures originally stood in Riverside Park South in Manhattan along the Hudson River as part of “Model to Monument,” a prestigious eight-year-old public arts program for emerging artists “M2M” is a collaboration of the Art Students League of New York and New York City Parks under the direction of internationally recognized sculptor Greg Wyatt.

Residents of the Keys will enjoy the excitement of discovery along the new sculpture trail. “It’s like welcoming new neighbors to the community,” said Trish Ruben who lived near the M2M sculptures in New York City. “Each work of art has a different look and story. I found myself studying each, choosing my favorites and enjoying the way they look in all seasons, all light, all weather. It’s such a great gift to the community.”

Ms. Young of the Florida Keys Council of the Arts, says, “This amazing opportunity offered to the cultural community by Mr. Padget and Mr. Dekker challenged us on many levels, but is undeniably the most rewarding project for our Public Art Committee since working on the Key West Airport in 2008. We are so proud and honored to guide this project on behalf of the donors.”

Don’t miss Leaves of Grass installed Oceanside MM 53 near the entrance of The Art Studio, and stop by Grimal Grove in Big Pine Key to see the magical Wind Tower in place. Next up will be installations at the Key West International Airport and Otherside Park on Grassy Key.

Fragments by Shiho Sato

MoradaWay Arts & Cultural District, MM 81.6

Islamorada Village of Islands

86800 Overseas Highway

Bridge by James Mikhel Emerson and Everything Between by Sarah Thompson Moore:

Islamorada Gardens

81001 Overseas Highway

Islamorada, Florida  33070

Stand Tall, Stand Loud, by Aaron Bell and Everyone  Breaks, by Tanda Francis (to be installed week of JULY 24)

Otherside Adventure Park

59300 Overseas Highway

Marathon, Florida 33050

Leaves of Grass by Markus Rudolph Holtby (installed as of June 19)

The Art Studio

12353 Overseas Highway

Marathon, Florida 33050


Wind Tower, a collaborative work by all seven M2M sculptors (installed as of June 19)

Grimal Grove

258 Cunningham Lane

Big Pine Key, Florida 33043

Avis Gloriae and Nature Eternal, by Sheila Berger (to be installed week of JULY 24)

Key West International Airport

3491 South Roosevelt Blvd.

Key West, Florida 33040