The “Homeland Dolphin” that has greeted guests at Marco Island’s City Hall since 2003 has recently moved. Created by Marco Island Academy High School teacher, Rob Eder, the dolphin sculpture can now be found at the entrance to the Community Center at Mackle Park.
In a grand fundraising effort for The Marco Island YMCA and The Art League of Marco Island, 36 dolphin sculptures were created by various local artists in 2003, in what was known as the “Dolphin Debut.” On April 13th of that year, the sculptures were auctioned off at an event hosted by the Marriott.
Anne Henegan, of Marco Island, outbid two others to win the “Homeland Dolphin” sculpture. Not only did she win the dolphin, but she was also the initial sponsor for the piece of art. Each of the 36 sculptures was sponsored by individuals or companies. Henegan, being the sponsor for the “Homeland Dolphin,” felt a special connection to it, which led her to bid fiercely for the piece. After winning the dolphin, she donated it to the City of Marco Island. She was formally commended by the city for her spirit and generosity.
Since then, the “Homeland Dolphin’s” home has been at City Hall. Covered in a collage of maps of Marco Island, the sculpture fit in perfectly at its original destination. Rob Eder explains his inspiration behind the dolphin. “At the time, real estate was sky rocketing. Land usage maps hung in real estate offices as well as at City Hall for the purpose of land purchases. These maps remindedme of aboriginal designs and abstract art. I liked that aspect so I thought it would be neat to paint the illusion on the dolphin.”
Eder, who currently teaches Art, English and Social Studies at Marco Island Academy High School, has been an artist his whole life and a teacher for 30 years. At the time of the “Dolphin Debut” he was teaching Social Studies at Marco Island Charter Middle School. His artwork can also be found at The Marco Island Center for the Arts, where he created a collage on the wall on the second floor.
Over time, the harsh salt air of Southwest Florida began to take its toll on the “Homeland Dolphin.” According to Alex Galiana, Recreation Administrative Supervisor for the City of Marco Island’s Parks and Recreation, people within the community donated their time and skills to give the “Homeland Dolphin” its recent makeover and new home.
The Beautification Committee of Marco Island decided to have the dolphin moved to Mackle Park, where Al Benarroch of Affordable Landscaping donated new shrubs and plants to surround the “Homeland Dolphin.”
Ernie Bordon, owner of AutoCraft on the island, donated time and materials to clear coat the sculpture, safeguarding it against the weather and sun.
The City of Marco Island is grateful to all involved in the placing and creation of the “Homeland Dolphin.”
Many visitors to City Hall have been curious as to the “disappearance” of this signature piece. They can now rest assured, knowing that the “Homeland Dolphin” has a fresh look and a new home, just down the street at Mackle Park.