Thursday, December 9, 2021

Marco City Hall Celebrates Roseate Spoonbills

Photos by Scott Shook | Artist Carolyn Burger with her Roseate Spoonbill.

The walls of Marco Island City Hall were transformed into various shades of cotton candy pink as it featured its first “Art at City Hall” exhibit. Assistant City Manager Casey Lucius was pleased to announce the first theme—celebrating a local celebrity—the Roseate Spoonbill, with twelve local artists sharing their artwork in a mixture of sizes and mediums. 

On Wednesday, September 2nd, the contributing artists were invited to City Hall for a special viewing. Marco’s City Hall is currently open by appointment only due to COVID-19, however, according to Assistant City Manager Lucius, there will be a public art exhibit as soon as larger gatherings are allowed under Governor DeSantis’ Reopening Plan.

According to Lucius, when she first started working here six months ago, she was given the task to “get art on the walls and to find local artists so we can celebrate what makes Marco so special.” 

For this project, Lucius visited the artists at the Local Color Gallery; she also met with Hyla Crane, Executive Director for the Center for the Arts. Barbara Parisi, Chairwoman of the Center’s Gallery Committee, assisted Casey with a Call to Action to local artists for the project. 

Why Roseate Spoonbills? 

According to Parisi, they were selected for this exhibit for their innate beauty and are often featured by many artists in a variety of mediums and are displayed in oil, acrylic, photography and watercolor. They add a unique depth and perception to the exhibits. City Manager Mike McNees shared that the artwork has changed the atmosphere and City Hall is not quite as bureaucratic. 

The contributing artists are Betty Newman, Carolyn Burger, Jim Robellard, Judy Chinski, Nancy Norman, Nancy Garrison, Diana Calleja, Tyler Macdonald, Rachel Pierce and Diane Reed Eiler. Each artist brought a pair of paintings for the exhibit which will be displayed till early January 2021. 

Photos by Scott Shook | Assistant City Manager Casey Lucius giving a warm welcome to all the artists.

Future themes will include “Storm and Sun,” “The Everglades,” “Wading Birds and Owls,” “Venues of Marco Island,” just to name a few. The goal of the Art at City Hall is to showcase Marco’s local artists with an emphasis on Marco’s coastal treasures such as its endangered species and iconic sceneries. 

Photos by Scott Shook | (L – R) Nancy Norman, Betty Newman, Carolyn Burger, Hyla Crane, Rachel Pierce, Judy Chinski, Jim Robellard, Fire Chief Chris Byrne, Asst. City Manager Casey Lucius (Back), and City Manager Mike McNees.

BOWL is the collective noun for a group of spoonbills. Roseate Spoonbills are often confused with another wading bird—the Flamingo. There are six species of spoonbills in the world and the Roseate is the only one with pink plumage.

Roger Tory Peterson described the species as “one of the most breathtaking of the world’s weirdest birds.” This long-legged wader is also known by an assortment of nicknames. They are referred to as “Flame Bird, Banjo-bill, Pink Curlew (wading bird), Pinkie and Spoonies. Their pink coloration is sometimes described as a Cotton Candy Pink and is due to evolutionary design and NOT from the crustaceans they eat. The Spoonies will remain pink even if they eat a 100% fish diet. Flamingos, on the other hand, have to eat crustaceans to get their pink color.

The spoonbill has a greenish bald head, white neck and back, as well as pink wings and underparts. Feathers on its wings can be carmine red during breeding season. Their long legs and eyes are red. The most distinctive feature is the long gray spoon-shaped platypus-like bill.

According to local photographers, you will encounter spoonies year-round, at low tide at the shallows at Tigertail lagoon and surrounding mangrove islands, as they forage for food. However, they tend to be less visible from March through May because of nesting season.

For now, the artistic creations of the Roseate Spoonbill—the hottest pink bird of all nature—are displayed at Marco’s City Hall. These colorful birds are delighting viewers showing off their wings and neck of various shades of carmine red, tails the color of orange sorbet with deep pink bodies set off with a ruby-red eye. 

All the Rosette Spoonbills are for sale and looking for the perfect holiday home!

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