On February 19, Florida Gulf Coast University added a new painting to its public art collection. Titled Remember 9-11 Tenth Year, the work was rendered by Matlacha Island expressionist/impressionist artist Leoma Lovegrove in a live performance in front of a Standing Room Only crowd at the Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre on September 11, 2011.
Remember 9-11 Tenth Year is a 10-by-18-foot acrylic painting depicting a bald eagle in flight against a field of bright orange and red. Beneath the eagle’s talons are lists containing the names of the more than 3,000 victims who lost their lives on September 11, 2001 – in the World Trade Center’s twin towers in New York City, at the Pentagon in Washington, and in a barren field in Stonycreek Township, Pennsylvania where United Airlines Flight 93 crashed following an attempt by passengers to regain control of the plane from four hijackers.
Lovegrove created the work on September 11, 2011 in front of a live audience at an emotional event held at the packed Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks. “It was a time to honor the heroes,” Lovegrove explained at the February 19, 2014 dedication in Library West. “The eagle represents the power of America and that freedom will prevail.”
Although the expressionist/impressionist painter does not characterize herself as a wildlife artist, many varieties of birds and fish have appeared in her vibrant artwork over the years. “I’ve always painted the eagle, but never one this large,” she quipped during the ceremony. The regal bird is not only a national symbol. It also serves as FGCU’s mascot, which makes Florida Gulf Coast University a natural home for the painting.
The gift grew from a conversation Lovegrove had last year with FGCU President Wilson G. Bradshaw at a reception where the painting was displayed. “The eagle embodies a spirit of strength and freedom that we value at FGCU and instill in our students,” Bradshaw said at the dedication. “Leoma Lovegrove’s striking work of art is sure to inspire those who view it for many years to come.”
Donations of artwork, as well as monetary gifts to the university, are administered by the Florida Gulf Coast University Foundation. Remember 9-11 Tenth Year joins nearly 100 others artworks in Florida Gulf Coast University’s public art collection, which also includes such notable monumental sculptures as Albert Paley’sCross Currents, Robert Roesch’s Transition 2012, Brower Hatcher’s Archway, Depend du Soleil andWhatever You Say Dear by Mark Fuller, Clayton Swartz’s Skyward, and Verve by fused glass artist Michele Gutlove. Lovegrove also has public artworks in the collections of the City of Fort Myers andMatlacha Island.