A Commemorative Permanent Public Art Installation in The Nation's Oldest City
Today, within our country, there is a great desire to bring individuals and entire communities together to heal old wounds and make firm commitments to cooperatively and collaboratively building a better future. The “Let Freedom Ring Chimes Project” initiative aims to invite all –– residents of our city and county and visitors –– to ponder the possibilities and wander with wonder on the unique peninsula at the confluence of the San Sebastian and Matanzas Rivers. Recently named Dr. Robert B. Hayling Freedom Park, this vast natural green space honors St. Augustine’s nationally acclaimed Civil Rights Movement hero and offers extraordinary opportunities to reflectively and experientially discover new ways to engage with one’s self, others and the 452-year-old African-American story in our nation’s oldest continuously occupied European city.
The “Chime Project,” a major interactive art initiative to be located in Hayling Freedom Park, is being undertaken by Compassionate St. Augustine; the grassroots organization Keep Riberia Pointe Green, and the City of St. Augustine. As the Ancient City’s first officially approved permanent public art installation, it will interpretively pay tribute to our city's African–American storyline as well as the roles freedom, human rights, democracy, and compassion played in creating the narrative.
The core values of the Chimes Project are grounded in Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King's quote: “...the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” This artistic expression of that compelling statement and universal yearning is threefold:
• a semi-circle of 14 graduated contrabass pentatonic aluminum chimes,
• "Toward," a marble semi-circular reflection bench, and
• Compassionate St. Augustine’s Obelisk Art 450 commemoration of the Emancipation Proclamation.
The bench will be sculpted by internationally acclaimed and local artist Joe Segal. It will be capped by monochromatic etched tiles designed by youth from the St. Augustine Boys & Girls Club Players Championship Unit, The Webster School, and incarcerated boys at St. Johns Youth Academy. “I designed the bench and the chimes to bend towards each other thereby creating a reflective gathering place that is in harmony with the park and panoramic vistas,” says Segal
The Chimes Project has been awarded a $12,500 Challenge Grant from the Community Foundation for Northeast Florida Dr. Joann Crisp-Ellert Fund; a $4000 Rotary Sunrise Grant for the children’s tile project, and the Northeast Florida Regional Council’s 2016 Historic Preservation for Quality of Life Award. Compassionate St. Augustine donated seven of the Contrabass Chimes and Freenotes Harmony Park, the creator of the chimes, donated the second set of seven. We are beginning our fundraising efforts to secure donations to complete and install this project. At this time, the projected installation date is April 4, 2018 – the 50 th anniversary of the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King.
Compassionate St. Augustine is the nonprofit organization responsible for the St. Augustine City Commission and Mayor officially proclaiming our city had met the requirements to officially be named a “Compassionate City.” Keep Riberia Pointe Green is the grassroots organization responsible for the Commission designating Riberia Pointe a “passive park” in 2014 and later renaming it in honor of Dr. Hayling.