Hernando County has been home to the Weeki Wachee mermaids for more than seven decades. And aside from featuring performances by live, fin-bearing aquatic swimmers, Weeki Wachee Springs State Park features a number of mermaid statues including the trademark dual mermaid sculpture positioned at the entrance to the park, atop a 25-foot pillar at the center of a water fountain. In 2020, the Florida Mermaid Trail introduced mer-magic to the county in the form of handcrafted miniature figurines. And now, artists are being presented with the exciting opportunity to add their own sculpted contributions to the artistic genre and canon of “mer-art.”
Florida’s Adventure Coast Visitors Bureau, Brooksville Main Street, and the Hernando County Fine Arts Council are excited to announce a new artistic opportunity for artists and patrons: Destination Mermaids – The Tail Trail, which is a trail that will feature 30 life-sized mermaids on display throughout the county. The call for artists is open until May 16 at 5 pm. The trail will launch on 75th Anniversary of Weeki Wachee Springs and it’s in celebration of the long history of mermaids in our community. A number of local businesses and agencies have agreed to sponsor and display these 80 pound statues, standing 6’ tall and 32” in diameter, at their locations throughout Hernando County.
“The beauty of the call to artists is that we will see so many creative ways to show the beauty and appeal of our area. We can’t wait to see the concepts presented by the artists!” said Allisa Babor, Hernando County Fine Arts Council Member. This project will render the entire county something of an aquatic art gallery, one that features free-standing outdoor fiberglass mermaids treated with One Shot Sign Paint and an industrial clear-coat to protect the artwork. Artists are not to apply any other finishes to the statue, nor append any fabric or collage attachments. Artists are responsible for the cost of all materials related to completing the selected designs. The statues will come inspired by mermaid templates depicting a smiling mermaid seated on a rock. Statues should not be painted to reflect advertising, religious, professional or college team, or political themes. Beyond these guidelines, mermaid artists are allowed a great deal of freedom.
Destination Mermaids – The Tail Trail is a public art project. The partners, Florida’s Adventure Coast Visitors Bureau, Brooksville Main Street, and the Hernando County Fine Arts Council will retain ownership of the mermaids until they are sold and will retain copyright on all designs in the portfolio that are produced into mermaids. Net proceeds will benefit the partnership for ongoing maintenance programs and ongoing activity in support of the arts in Hernando County.
Artists will have 5 weeks to complete their statues. Applications should be submitted via email to [email protected] or be delivered to the Brooksville Welcome Center at 205 E Fort Dade Ave, Brooksville, FL 34601 (address to Allisa Babor). Artists must submit four images from their portfolios. For additional entry guidelines, interested artists should visit https://floridamermaidtrail.com/call-to-artists. A panel of regional art professionals will review all submissions. At the committee’s discretion, selected artists’ designs will be placed in a portfolio. Sponsors will choose their mermaid from the portfolio.
Hernando County Fine Arts Council will pay an honorarium of $1,000 to artists selected and matched with a mermaid sponsor. Each statue will bear a plaque across its cement base that includes the artist’s name and a QR Code linking to a website boasting artist biographies and contact information.