Tuscawilla Art Park
The Tuscawilla Art Park, located just north of the town center, is a must-see destination on the city’s Public Art Tour. This outdoor museum has several statues, paths, and exotic plants, making it a great spot for a stroll or a picnic.
Tuscawilla Art Park is an excellent place to observe larger-than-life outdoor artworks, located just north of Downtown Ocala Square. You may admire the work of talented artists in the cool air of daytime, from painted bridges to a metal dragon sculpture.
Explore the art on your own or take the City of Ocala’s Public Art Tour. Near the works of art, there will be markers with brief explanations. If you have a modern smartphone, you may scan the QR code on the sign to access a full audio description of the artwork, or you can read along.
Some of the sculptures are permanent, but others are cycled out and replaced with new works of art. So it is worth returning to see what is new. The sculptures are not the only thing beautiful. Visitors will also find living botanical art, winding walks, and places to relax and enjoy the park in the shade throughout the three-acre park.
The park is a product of 2016 in collaboration with several artists and craftspeople, community organizations, and individual contributors. The goal was to create an inspirational environment for residents and visitors of all ages.
Throughout the three-acre park, you will encounter botanical plants, public art, and unusual infrastructures such as a stage, walking trails, and plazas.
Tuscawilla Art Park in Ocala has a headless lady. Her narrative is heartbreaking, but her existence contributes to the background of the city park, which is still relatively young and full of cultural — and often concealed — findings.
Marie is the headless woman, and Jean is her napping companion. The Marie and Jean sculptures were for the annual Outdoor Sculpture Contest at Tuscawilla Park. The sculpture is 102 years old and located just east of the Art Park from across the pond.
The sculpture of a calm couple resting on a bench, created by artist Amel Chamandy, was installed in Tuscawilla in 2013, with the fiberglass duo facing the lake. Then it was repeatedly vandalized. Jean had a large piece of his foot amputated, and the two became targets.
Marie got seriously damaged in September, and the authorities had to remove the artwork from her lakeside nook. Then, in the new Art Park, a modified version of the artwork was installed, with the absent head symbolizing the destruction. It reinforces the concept to care for public art and is a testimony to art’s persistence.
You may now pose with your head on Marie’s neck as part of an interactive picture session.