State Senate President Bill Galvano unveiled new artwork outside of the public entrance to the Senate Gallery in a special ceremony Tuesday.
The new artwork, titled “Resilience,” is replacing the “Five Flags Mural,” which was removed and preserved as part of the 2016 Senate renovation. It remains to be seen if the new artwork, shaped by artist Barry Miller, will be the theme of this year’s Legislative Session, which starts today.
“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,” Galvano said.
Miller’s artwork is the state of Florida made out of pecky cypress wood. It’s unique to the Southeast and Gulf Coastal Plains. It has small, attractive holes caused by a fungus — usually, after a limb falls or an injury to the tree occurs and typically in cypress trees more than 100 years old.
Miller said the wood was donated to the Senate after sitting undiscovered for decades. 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 had an idea for an art commission,” he said. “And in conjunction with them, we were able to come up with this to just represent Florida as a whole.”
Miller said creating the artwork took about four months.
“They were already cut into rough boards, so I had to plane them down, I had to dig out all of the holes,” he said. “I spent a lot of time hand sanding everything and developing the shape. And I tried to get as detailed on the coastline as possible, so I used a lot of different hand tools.”
Miller specializes in high-end furniture, historic architectural wood preservation, and custom wood artwork. Examples of Miller’s artwork can be seen at the Tallahassee International Airport, Wakulla Springs Lodge, and local restaurants.