PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) — Pops of color will be popping up around Panama City Beach, as local community groups unveiled their “SeeLife” sculptures at Panama City Beach City Hall on Friday afternoon.
“Oh my gosh, I am just in heaven,” said Helen Ferrell, the Executive Director of Beach Art Group, who organized the project alongside the city. “I am walking on the clouds. It is just so great to see the work that people did.”
The project brought community members together to design and create dolphin and sea turtle sculptures that will be displayed in different locations throughout the city.
More than thirty applications were submitted, with the top eleven being chosen to be created.
“You don’t have to be a Michaelangelo or a Vincent Van Gogh, everybody belongs in the arts and everybody can get something out of them,” Ferrell said. “Whether it’s going to see the statues and taking photos with them or just picking up a paintbrush or a piece of clay or whatever, you can do it.”
From Tyndall Air Force Base Airmen, to firefighters, to local artists, businesses and students, each statue is painted in a unique way, symbolizing different themes and aspects of life in Panama City Beach.
“The way we did it, it reminds me of home and where we came from,” said a 5th grader from Breakfast Point Academy, who helped to paint one of the new dolphin sculptures that will be displayed at the school.
“I hope that they think of this place, Panama City Beach, but I also want to bring a smile to their face,” said local resident and artist, Michelle Jones, who painted a dolphin statue with her daughter, Amy Propst, that will be on display at Conservation Park. The shells painted on the dolphin are replicas of shells found on the local beaches in the area.
“This was definitely something that we just don’t do everyday,” said Panama City Beach Firefighter, Daryl Paul. The dolphin his team created is painted as an American Flag, honoring fallen heroes, to be displayed at Fire Station 31 on the beach.
“We don’t want anyone to forget about the brave men and women of the FDNY that sacrificed their lives on 9-11,” he said.
Even the airmen at Tyndall Air Force Base submitted a design and were selected to paint it on a sea turtle sculpture, with the shell painted as their uniform pattern.
“It was pretty great having the airmen come to volunteer to put it together,” said TAFB Senior Airman Raymundo Hernandez. The statue will be displayed near the Veteran’s Memorial at Aaron Bessant Park.
Ferrell said the statues are weatherproof and here to stay, with more coming in the future.
“We’re looking for sponsorships now so we can do more of these and put more of them out,” she said. “Give more people the opportunity to paint them.”
For more information on the project and stay up to date with future phases of the “SeeLife” project, click here.
Below, you can find a list of the new sculptures, the artists who created them, and where they are located throughout the city of Panama City Beach: