The SONG OF THE SKINKS is an interactive sculpture, created by Seattle-based public artist Matt Babcock, and has been designed to be a playful representation of a series of blue-tailed skinks, a lizard native to Florida.
The sculpture is not only visual, but also musical. The many pipes were created on a special machine in Japan that allows hard materials to be bent into curved shapes. Each pipe resonates a musical note when struck with a hand or flip-flop. The interactive instrument is accessible to anyone and any age.
The sculpture is Matt Babcock’s first sculpture east of the Mississippi. Babcock is known for playful work that has a wide range of appeal and his determination to respond to the community. Babcock was especially taken by creatures inhabiting the park, the international character of the surrounding community with many spoken languages and the use of the park by athletes using wheelchairs. Nature and music bridge all gaps among the different park users. The site of the sculpture was selected with wide concrete zone for wheelchair accessibility and near the play area for families.
About the Artist
Matt Babcock is a Seattle-based sculptor focusing on public art. His work distills image, movement, and emotion into concise aerial calligraphy. He developed an appreciation for materials and the ways things are made through practice in metal fabrication and application in industry. He also draws on his experience as an architect, which informs his interest in functional artwork and place-making. See some of his other work below.
Japanese Pipe Bending Machine
Artwork by Matt Babcock
The Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville and its Art in Public Places is administering the Cuba Hunter Park Neighborhood Public Art Project installations on behalf of the City of Jacksonville in Planning District 5. Cuba Hunter Park is situated in one of Jacksonville’s most ethnically and economically diverse neighborhoods. Residents and business owners informed the design of sustainable outdoor public art that encourages healthy activities and meaningful community engagement. A nine member Art Selection Panel made up of community representatives, city department representatives and arts professionals selected the artists and the designs. Community involvement is integral to these projects and area stakeholders are always encouraged to participate.
The Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville is sponsored in part by the City of Jacksonville and by the Florida Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, the Florida Council on Arts and Culture, and the State of Florida.