“A HISTORY OF THE TWINNING, AND THOUGHTS FROM THE ARTIST”
The twinning concept is a program that promotes an appreciation of culture. As a result of World War II, cities of varying nations have chosen to be linked to decrease conflict and share mutual bonds of friendship. Beginning in 2008, the towns of Newbridge, Ireland and Ocala, Florida have officially been joined. The original twinning agreement was signed by Ocala Mayor Randy Ewers and Newbridge Mayor Mick Deely. Our twinning is very engaged, with visits every year to each respective country that involve a variety of educational and social activities for the participants.
Below is a group photo taken during the unveiling of the “Ocala Walk” sign in Newbridge in 2018.
ARTIST DEREK GRIMSLEY
The artist’s concept for “Sláinte” which means Cheers and Good Health in Gaelic, was derived after visiting the delightful town of Newbridge. Through juxtaposed landmarks, vibrant colors and painted textures, “Sláinte” evokes the spirit of friendship and comradery we share with the people of our twin town.
The translation of the words written in Gaelic on the band around the barrel of the sculpture says “Friendship Doubles Your Joys and Divides Your Sorrows”. The art contains images and symbolism of the two towns, and displays the insignias of both the Ocala and Newbridge Police and Fire Departments.
Derek adds that he was humbled to have his artwork chosen for this project, which took several months to complete.
Slainte is located outside the First Responder's Campus at 340 NE 8th Avenue.