Leave No Trace Seaside Sculpture Project

AMELIA ISLAND, Fla. (May 31, 2017) – Over the Memorial Day weekend, visitors to Amelia Island’s beaches were greeted by five new artful reminders of the island’s commitment to protecting the coastline. Five sculptures have been installed at four beach accesses to help raise awareness of Amelia Island’s “Leave No Trace” ordinance, an island-wide effort adopted last year to keep local beaches clean. Installed at Main Beach, Seaside Beach, Peters Point, and Burney Park, the sculptures are the original artwork of five notable artists commissioned for the project. Created using a mix of naturally occurring and manmade debris collected from Amelia’s shores, the unique seaside sculptures will be on display for one year.

“We were excited to get the sculptures installed ahead of the Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start of summer,” said Leigh Palmer, Director of Strategic Initiatives at the Amelia Island Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB). “Each artist took the time to reflect on the message of the project and it shows in their creative use of debris and discarded items from our beaches, giving us an attractive way to grab the attention of beachgoers who may not be familiar with local guidelines and might otherwise overlook posted signage.”

The sculpture installations were the culmination of a project that began last November, when the CVB put out the call for submissions for finished, large-scale outdoor sculptures with sustaining mediums. The review and selection process included a jury of members from the Island Art Association, as well as Arts and Culture Nassau, the governing committee for the City of Fernandina Beach, and Sculpture Walk Jacksonville’s Executive Director, Jennifer Hager. The five selected artists are Aisling Millar McDonald; Cat Chiu Phillips; Joni Younkins-Herzog; Alan Milligan; and Richard Herzog.

Amelia Island’s “Leave No Trace” ordinance supports the CVB’s ongoing international program to reduce environmental impact, making it illegal to leave unattended beach chairs, tents, water sport equipment, and other beach recreation items overnight on the public beach and allows for the prompt removal and disposal of such items. Passed in 2016, the ordinance was put in place to help protect the island’s beaches as a natural asset and critical part of Amelia Island’s appeal as a tourist destination.
“Preserving the beaches our residents and visitors cherish and that local wildlife depends on is of the utmost importance to us,” said Gil Langley, President and CEO of the Amelia Island CVB. “Amelia Island’s beaches are a natural treasure and the seaside sculpture project is just the latest of our many efforts to protect them.”

For more information about the “Leave No Trace Ordinance,” contact the Nassau County manager’s office at (904) 530-6010 or go to

The Arts Are Alive and Well in Nassau County!!!

Public Art ProjectsTotems 2

Sharon Haffey was the Island Art Association’s representative on Arts and Culture Nassau, the City of Fernandina’s Board for promoting the Arts,  when the Art in Public Spaces Ordinance was developed and finally passed as Resolution 2013-112.   In addition to guidelines for permanent art, there is a component in the City Ordinance designed to establish a more streamlined application process for temporary art – 1 year or less – on designated city sites.  Approval for a temporary piece to be installed is now delegated exclusively to Arts and Culture Nassau.   Permanent installations will still need approval by the City Commission.  The goal was to offer groups and individuals, particularly those in Northeast Florida, the opportunity to share their work and promote the arts in Fernandina.  …And so was born the Totem Project or Arts are Alive Sculpture!

The project, orchestrated by Sharon, showcases the many arts organizations and groups that we have in Nassau County and enhances Fernandina with a sculpture that reflects the colorful, inviting nature of our city.  It was easy to find artists enthusiastic about the project and eager to participate. Through the collaborative efforts of nearly 50 local artists, 20 “totems” were completed, each one representing a different organization. The resulting work in a unique expression of ideas, now collectively on display in the pocket park near 110 Centre Street.  Recently, over 100 enthusiastic individuals celebrated the installation at a reception at the Island Art Association.  For more information on temporary or permanent public art in Fernandina Beach, visit

Historical Markers

Kings Ferry Mockup Marker

Nassau Historical Society

The society has been moving forward on designating significant locations around west Nassau County that warrant public recognition. The first site is the community of Kings Ferry which was established in the mid-1700s and was the crossing point of the old Kings Road for many years. Toward the end of the 19th century this was a town of hundreds supporting the lumber industry. Little remains but memories and scattered homes throughout the forest. The next targeted marker will be at Bryceville. The society is currently raising funds for the Kings Ferry marker that is estimated at $2500. Anyone with a family history or interests in Kings Ferry is encouraged to donate by contacting John Hendricks at 635-1288.


Musslewhite Commissary

 Musslewhite Commissary 3-22-4

Nassau Historical Society

A major industry nationally and within Nassau County was the collecting and processing of turpentine. A number of farmers dedicated large tracts of land and many land owners dedicated their entire properties toward the production of the turpentine. The industry expanded in the early 1800s, reaching its peak in the early 1900s. Thousands of Nassau County citizens worked in the industry that now is simply a memory. There is no active large scale production of turpentine anywhere in the United States. To commemorate this large part of our county history the Musslewhite family has donated what is believed to be the last vintage turpentine commissary in the county to the West Nassau Historical Society. Unable to move the entire building to the Callahan grounds of the society, it was decided to build a replica and place the artifacts that where donated by the Musslewhites in that structure. The building exterior was completed and displayed at the 2014 Railroad Days Festival and the interior and its displays are scheduled to be completed by years end.


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