Saturday, November 17, 2012

Signs

Ruskin, Florida

The mural is a Firehouse project. We'll see more of it in other posts. The most prominent face is that of John Ruskin, the English writer, artist, and utopian idealist, after whom the town was named.

Ruskin, Florida

South Shore and Ruskin seem almost interchangeable as identifications for this area across the bay from Tampa. In Hillsborough County, there are only a couple of incorporated cities. Ruskin isn't one of them, and neither are any of its neighbors. People constantly referred to "the county" in conversations about almost anything. This is interesting to me—I recall the notion of county government from the twenty years I spent growing up in New Jersey, but Connecticut simply has no county government at all. There are judicial county courthouses, but no elected officials, no county commissioners, no county line item on your property tax bill. If you see a road crew here it will be either town or state. But at The Firehouse, which is still in the process of converting its building to an arts center, everything from funding grants to building permits or approvals was all talk of "the county."

Ruskin, Florida

4 comments:

Colin Griffiths said...

It's interesting that this place is named after Ruskin. I've spent a lot of time in the English Lake District where Ruskin's home was on the shores of Coniston Water. His contribution to how we emotionally regard wild places was pivotal. Before his writings, Victorians were fearful of mountainous areas and never considered them as places of great beauty. He helped to persuade folk to visit mountains and to appreciate nature's hand; we are richer for it.

Carl said...

Collin, there's quite a history if you want to Google it up. It was founded as a Utopian community with a connection to a school, but like so many 19th/early 20th century American Utopian experiments it was short lived in that form. My connection to the Firehouse began when a board member saw my Drive-in Theater KS project and wrote to tell me about the DI in Ruskin. Then she spent time at my web site and discovered that way back forty years ago on a scholarship college trip I'd studied Utopian Societies--that was the genesis of the invitation to be Artist in Residence.

lyle said...

intersection/stop sign .... wonderful image!!!

Carl said...

Thanks, Lyle. It's one of those "there's nothing here, no it hits it, no there's really nothing here" self arguments you have in the editing process. Glad someone else sees something here.