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The Royal Park Project
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  Updated July 19, 2010
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The Royal Park Stadium 16 Theater Project

Background ] Press Release ] Plaque ] Copyright ] E. Federal ] Map ] Show Times ]

Eastern Federal Corporation's* modern stadium-seated theater in Gainesville
incorporates a one-of-a-kind set of astronomical "supergraphics" in the theater lobby.
The AAC developed the design concepts which were imaginatively interpreted and created
by Tarpon Springs artist and UF alumna Elizabeth Indianos

This talented artists also designed and constructed the Gainesville Solar Walk Sculptures

* Eastern Federal Theatres is now part of the Regal Entertainment Group of Theatres

SAD NOTE In May 2007 the AAC learned that Regal Entertainment is remodeling the theater lobby of the Royal Park 16 Theater. Eastern Federal Corporation, which originally owned the theater, sold out to Regal Entertainment some time ago. Unlike Eastern Federal, a small family operated business that prided themselves on unique, theater lobbies, Regal and often wants their theaters similar. Regal has already removed the information plaque about the murals. (The AAC now has the plaque in its possession.) The theater has also removed (papered over) the beautiful, large rear painting (Figure 8, "Space Bouillabaisse 2000") by artist Elizabeth Indianos. Regal Theaters may eventually remove the huge, unique canvas paintings. We hope that Regal Theaters understands the unique nature of these murals and will allow them to remain.

(Note: Click images or "figure number" in text to get a large version)

Royal Park Stadium 16 Theater in Gainesville
Fig. 1. The Royal Park Stadium 16 Theater
3702 Newberry Road, Gainesville, FL 32607
(352) 373-4277

In late 1998 Eastern Federal Corporation approached the Alachua Astronomy Club, Inc. (AAC) in order to have the AAC develop an astronomical design for a large architectural feature in the lobby of their new movie theater (Fig. 1) in Gainesville, Florida. This design would surround the four sides of an approximately fifty feet long, eight feet wide, and eleven feet high box hanging about eighteen feet above the theater lobby floor!

AAC's Proposed Design Concept
Fig. 2. AAC's Proposed Design Concept

The Alachua Astronomy Club, Inc. agreed to undertake this project and began a series of meetings during early 1999 to develop the design concept and layout for the lobby feature. (See proposed concept in Fig. 2.) During spring 1999, the club also interviewed Florida artists and designers who could carry out the club's design. Based on AAC recommendations, Eastern Federal Corporation chose Tarpon Springs artist Elizabeth Indianos to create these large scale art works.

 Constellation Arrangement
Fig. 3. The Arrangement of the Consellations

The AAC used the idea that movies tell stories and early humans employed the sky as the first "story board." Thus, the proposed design consisted of twenty sky constellations (see arrangement in Fig. 3) depicting stars, geometric patterns and artistic renditions of early mythological figures. Constellations groups were chosen to include contellations that had mythological or other relationships. For example, Orion (the"Hunter") is depicted poised to strike at Taurus (the "Bull"). Virgo (the "Maiden") is shown by Libra (the "Scales") since the maiden is often thought to represent justice. Depicting the constellations along the sides of the box also required artistic license since the constellations on the sky are not laid out in rectangular format. Thus, some constellations figures had to be oriented to make them fit. However, the basic order of the constellations on the sky was retained. The AAC also recommended the use of fiber optics to illuminate the brighter stars.

Fig. 4. "Draco!"

The AAC suggested placing Ursa Major ("The Large Bear") on the north side of the box (facing the rear of the theater lobby). On the south side of the box (facing the front entrance) the AAC suggested placing both Ursa Minor ("The Little Bear") with the North Star and Draco ("The Dragon"). However, the AAC proposed Draco should not be shown as a mythological dragon but as a "Florida dragon"—an alligator! (See Fig. 4.)

Elizabeth Indianos' Depiction of Leo
Fig. 5. The Artist's Depiction of Leo

Other constellations were depicted using the artist's creative talents to interpret the mythological figures. Through her talents, Ms. Indianos created novel figures that revitalized and made hybrids of the ancient myths. This artwork became a modern, mixed-media rendition of the ancient mythologies. For example, see the artist's rendition of Leo ("the Lion") in Fig. 5.

Finally, the AAC suggested placing foreground figures, common to the Gainesville area, along the lower perimeter of the box walls. The AAC provided Ms. Indianos with a list of recommended landmarks including photographs of each object. (See Fig. 6 for some examples.)

Fig. 6. Gainesville Area Landmarks (can you identify?)

Working with club members, who helped locate stars and constellations on the murals, Ms. Indianos completed preliminary drawings of the constellations on large pieces of canvas hung in a rented Tarpon Springs studio. (Each of the long sides of the large hanging box required three canvas sections.) Ms. Indianos finished the art work during the summer and fall of 1999 adding depictions of Gainesville area features along the bottom of the graphics. Several weeks before the theater opened, Ms. Indianos installed the large canvas "supergraphics" (titled "Mythic Constellations") that now enhance the lobby of the Royal Park Stadium 16 Theater. To complete her work, she then added the fiber optic lights to make the brighter stars glimmer.

Rear Mural Concept
Fig. 7. AAC's Rear Mural Design Concept

A few weeks before the theater opened, Eastern Federal Corporation wisely decided not to cover the rear lobby wall with a plain wall covering. Instead, Ms. Indianos would use the rear wall for a space scene to compliment the sky theme of the lobby. Again, using ideas generated by AAC members (see concept design in Fig. 7), Ms. Indianos completed the project by painting a large "space mural" on the theater lobby's rear wall titled "Space Bouillabaisse 2000" (see Fig. 8), which is beautifully reflected by the lobby's mirrored ceiling.

Space Bouillabaisse 2000
Fig. 8. Final Rear Mural Design: "Space Bouillabaisse 2000"

On Thursday evening, December 16, 1999, Eastern Federal Corporation held a party to honor the opening of their new theater. (The theater officially opened to the public on the next day.) A plaque, written and created by AAC members, hangs in the theater lobby acknowledging both the artist and the AAC for their work on this unique project (Fig. 9). The Alachua Astronomy Club, Inc. is grateful to Eastern Federal Corporation for the opportunity to help on this project and for their five thousand dollar donation to the club. The Royal Park Stadium 16 demonstrates Eastern Federal Corporation's continuing commitment to serve local community interests.

For More Information About This Project:

AAC Royal Park Stadium 16 Committee   Howard Cohen, Marian Cohen, Gay Haldeman, Joe Haldeman, Alicia Kemper, Pamela Mydock, Randy Palmer, Duane Sandene

Copyright Notice: All design concepts including the Royal Park Stadium 16 dedication plaque copyright © 1999 Alachua Astronomy Club, Inc. All mural artwork copyright © 1999 Elizabeth Indianos. Design concepts, dedication plaque and artwork cannot be reproduced without permission of the AAC and the artist.

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