The St. Johns Cultural Council is pleased to recognize the 250th anniversary of William Bartram’s travels throughout St. Johns County with an Art in Public Spaces exhibition featuring the work of 24 local artists. Professional and student artists who submitted pieces inspired by the flora and fauna of St. Johns County’s natural landscapes were selected following an open call to participate in the exhibition.

The exhibition will be on display from Tuesday, April 16 until Wednesday, May 29 at the Rotunda Gallery of the St. Johns County Administration Building, 500 San Sebastian View in St. Augustine. An exhibition preview will be held at 8:30 AM on Tuesday, April 16, with an evening reception on Wednesday, April 17 at 5:30 PM. The events are free and open to the public.

Participating artists from St. Augustine include Robert “Bob” Arbogast, Gail Beveridge, Terry Bottom, Gail Brown, Byron Capo, Lauren Ehlers, Martha Ferguson, Margaret “Peggy” Galloway, Amy Hemphill-Dove, Debra Mixon Holliday, Rhonda K. Lovett, Louise Meredith, Susan Miller, Stephen Mullen, Paula Pascucci, Nikki Rakov, Stephen Rosche, Herrick Smith, Siv Spurgeon, Catherine Avery St. Jean, Teri Tompkins, and Dan Voellinger. Artists from Elkton include Carole Adams and Cindy Wilson, and the artist from St. Johns is Rhonda K. Lovett.

William Bartram is considered the first American-born naturalist who initially visited British East Florida in 1765 on an expedition organized by his father. Bartram became fascinated with the flora and fauna he observed along the St. Johns River, and returned to East Florida in the Spring of 1774 to record the region’s plants, animals, and indigenous people.

Bartram’s account of his adventures, Bartram’s Travels, is considered one of the most important scientific books of the time and is still in print today with descriptions of Florida’s vast biodiversity with scientific observations and illustrations of hundreds of plants and animals. The book mentions acres of citrus on plantations in Fruit Cove and Switzerland, Fla. which is assumed to be located near the present-day Alpine Groves Park in St. Johns County.

Participating artists and their selected work will be featured in an exhibition catalog published by the Cultural Council. To learn more about William Bartram, visit the websites at the University of North Florida and the University of Florida.