On a warm day in March local artist Dan Taylor arrives at the new gardens at LeMoyne Arts in downtown Tallahassee. In his hands are a large roll of commercial aluminum foil and foil tape. Soon the sculpted trunk remains of a beautiful Japanese Red Maple which died after the freeze of 2022 is wrapped in foil and shimmering in the sunlight. Another trip brings rainbow-colored wooden discs which Taylor attaches to the ends of the remaining trunk branches transforming the trunk into an intriguing sculpture.
For Dan Taylor, this was an inspiration. “It all started with the stump. A glorious maple tree did not survive but was not cut down completely by volunteer Laurie Dozier. What was left is this amazingly beautiful, and quite sculptural, stump. I’ve been thinking about what I might do with it for more than a year and the Chain of Parks Art Festival and Tallahassee Pridefest happening on the same weekend presented an opportunity for me to mash the two together,” said Taylor. Dan’s vision for the popup sculpture had many through lines: LeMoyne’s founding in 1963, Taylor’s birth year is 1963, and Martin Luther King’s historic march on Washington in 1963. The artist also wanted to recognize that the historic march was largely organized, by an openly gay black man Bayard Rustin, who was on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial as MLK delivered his iconic speech.

Dan explained, “It just seems fitting that we would have a Pride sculpture steps from LeMoyne’s new African American Tribute Garden. I call it Rainbow Renaissance: Thriving Through Tribulations. Quite a mouthful, but I wanted to acknowledge the many challenges faced by the LGBTQ community in the past with a look ahead to a bright future.

Dan Taylor is a Tallahassee artist best known for his paintings featuring bold, striking color palettes. His paintings have become highly sought-after and have been featured regionally at the Tampa Museum of Art, the Oak Hammock Gallery in Gainesville and locally with the Council on Culture & Arts, LeMoyne Arts where he is currently the board vice president, Venvi Art Gallery, Gadsden Art Center, Hotel Duval, 621 Gallery and FSU’s Oglesby Art Gallery. He has volunteered countless hours of his time and been generous with his talents to raise funds for organizations and causes he cares about. Taylor also works in precious metal clay to create unique jewelry designs and he produces large scale garden sculpture in steel, wood, and various other materials.

“My paintings appeared in a gallery for the very first time at LeMoyne Arts!” Taylor shared. I have since had paintings, sculpture, jewelry, and ceramics (which I learned at LeMoyne) in various exhibits in the gallery. I’m so fortunate to have an artistic home with a rich history of including all people.

In the past two years LeMoyne Arts has transformed its lush small garden, originally designed and tended by volunteer Helen Lind in the 1960’s and 70’s, into a beautiful spacious sculpture and botanical garden for the community celebrations. The gardens have now seen four seasons pass since they were opened to the public and already thousands have enjoyed visiting and celebrating life’s milestones in the new gardens. The vision and design of the new gardens is that of long time LeMoyne Arts volunteer and board member, Kelly Dozier. You can find Kelly and her husband Laurie most weekends tending to the plants and adding more as the garden grows. Dan waters on Wednesdays.