PANAMA CITY — Southeast City’s largest outdoor public art gallery will soon return to Panama City to create an interactive environment through a projection art festival.
Public Eye Soar will be held on November 11th and 12th from 6-10pm at Gulf Coast State College, 5230 WUS 98 in Panama City. Now in its ninth year, Public Eye Soar aims to transform buildings using projectors with works by artists from around the world into a unique wonderland of light, color and imagination.
The family event is free and open to the public.
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Public Eye Soar is the brainchild of Margaret Webster and John Daniel, who brought this event to life to bring public art to the local community. This is the second year it will be hosted by Gulf Coast State College, with previous events held in downtown Panama City and the Panama City Mall.
“When we started this event, we had about 22 projectors and we put it together in three months and it had a great turnout, so we decided to go ahead,” Webster said. “It’s allowed us to really reach out to our community, which is really important to us.”
Sharing art in all forms
Since 2014, Public Eye Soar has featured more than 500 artists from 23 countries on six continents and showcased over 2,700 works of art. This year’s event will feature more than 50 projection surfaces displaying art in all forms.
Works by more than 140 local, national and international artists will feature in this year’s festival, including sculptures, short films, animations, photography, sand art and more.
Attendees can enjoy performances by local musicians and dancers, and local artists will showcase their talent live, with art surprises and interactive opportunities for attendees to create on site.
“We try to make things as simple as possible for all artists of any age or ability so that anyone can participate,” Webster said. “It’s a great community event and there will be an opportunity for people to interact with local artists.”
In honor of Veterans Day weekend, a special screening honoring veterans will be held on both nights of the festival.
“Art is for everyone”
As the Public Eye Soar festival continues to grow, organizers hope the festival can influence the emergence of more artists in the local art community. Webster said it is extremely important to her to continue serving the community through public art.
“The biggest thing for me is getting people to understand that art is for everyone and not just to look at, but to make,” Webster said. “We really love the interactive part of our festival so much because it’s a safe and easy way for people to come and create art.”
Public Eye Soar board member Heather Clements said she believes the event has been a big inspiration for aspiring artists, including herself. Over the years, Clements has developed a great love for mural painting. She has contributed to many projects around town, including the “Welcome Wall” along the Ocean Oriental Market building and a 100-foot mural next to the Aaron Rich Marketing building.
“Public Eye Soars takes art to a whole new level, and that’s what influenced me to start painting murals,” Clements said. “So I think this event has an impact on a local artist because I know how amazing it is to see your art projected onto the side of a building.”
In partnership with Public Eye Soar, the event is sponsored by St. Joe Community Foundation, Gulf Coast State College, Chevron, Destination Panama City and the Charles A. Whitehead Foundation.
For more details, visit www.publiceyesoar.net.