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RNC Dolphin Art Project Inspires 'Hunter'

Dunedin artist Dee Rodriques and her husband Chris Torunski are putting the finishing touches on Hunter the Dolphin, a six-foot stained-glass sculpture that is part of a Clearwater public art project for the Republican National Convention.

Dunedin artist Dee Rodriques showed off the countless cuts she sustained on her hands and fingertips since Monday.

They are painful evidence of the blood, sweat, tears and hundreds of hours of stained-glass work that went into Hunter the Dolphin, one of 38 original fiberglass dolphin sculptures awarded to area artists as part of a Clearwater public art project for the Republican National Convention. (Clearwater announced late Thursday that the number of dolphins would increase to 50 because of the project's increasing popularity.)

"We've been burning the midnight oil," her husband Chris Torunski said while working inside their studio at .

They have until midnight Friday to finish, and as of Thursday afternoon, Rodriques estimated another eight hours of labor.

The finished dolphins — each six feet tall, 80 pounds and assigned to a different area artist — will be on display at Pier 60 Park from Aug. 6 to Sept. 4 (and during the Republican National Convention). Some of the  and resorts during the convention, which is Aug. 27 to 30.

Rodriques spent all week cutting and applying the stained glass in a colorful "wave" pattern. By Thursday afternoon, Torunski began the grouting process.

The name Hunter, Rodriques and Torunski said, comes from a theme they maintained while creating her:

"This dolphin is in the waves with her head cresting the surface of the ocean. She is the Hunter in search of peace, harmony and truth and the abundance that it provides," they recalled.

The convention is expected to bring about 50,000 visitors to the Tampa Bay area. 

Hunter will go to her sponsors, Treiser Collins, Attorneys at Law, in Naples, FL, after the convention.

Rodriques said she would catalogue the five-day process of making Hunter on her website.

Editor's Note: Dee Rodriques's neice, Alyssa Rodriques, assisted.

bill coleman July 27, 2012 at 11:48 AM
Dee is a wonderful glass artist. Her passion shows in her work. I watched her spend long hours cutting and fitting tiny pieces of glass, then like magic, a fantastic work of art appears. Another one of Dunedin's best! Dee can be contacted at The Institute for Creative Arts, 968 Douglas Ave Dunedin.
rick barasso July 27, 2012 at 12:47 PM
Get down to the Institute to see Dee's other works. She is truly unique!
Rita LeVine July 27, 2012 at 08:01 PM
Love glass and mosaics they are like a party fo the eye! Keep up the great work Dee and all the artists at the Institute! - Rita

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