In 1995, a group of fifth-grade students worked with Miami artist Carlos Alves to design a mosaic and other artwork in the University of Florida’s Sid Martin Biotechnology Incubator.
Twenty-nine of Alachua County Elementary students worked with Alves, who remembers the students being taken on a field trip to learn about biotechnology.
When the students came into class the next day, they were full of ideas.
“I saw lightbulbs going off,” Alves said.
Bringing in the students was a way to help the Alachua community feel more comfortable with the facility opening, he said.
The site helps biotech startups grow and develop. The mosaic featured animals, people and plants from the students’ designs, and it was displayed in the lobby and main hallway of the Sid Martin Biotechnology Incubator.
Twenty years later, Sid Martin Biotech and the Alachua Business League are honoring the 29 students who worked on the piece — the only thing left to do is find them.
“We thought it would be wonderful to acknowledge to them how important their artwork has been to these facilities,” said Patti Breedlove, Sid Martin Biotechnology Incubator’s director.
An event on Wednesday will recognize these students, whose work has left many impressions, said Breedlove.
“I can’t tell you how many compliments we’ve had over the years from the biotech companies that are in our program in this facility as well as the many, many visitors we get from around the world,” she said.
Stacy Bingham Joyner, a student who helped create the mosaic and stayed in the area now works as a senior manager at James Moore. She doesn’t remember a lot about creating the mosaic, but does remember that it was no ordinary art project.
Since then, she has visited the site and seen the artwork.
“I couldn’t tell you which piece is mine,” she said.
To refresh the students’ memory, the event will screen a short film made about the students 20 years ago.
Five of the students who participated in the project have RSVP’ed to the event, said Breedlove. Breedlove, along with Joyner, have tried to get in touch with the remaining students through social media and word of mouth.
“It’s something we’ve wanted to do for a long time,” Breedlove said.
She said many of the students are unaware of the impact that their work has had, and the event hopes to recognize them for their contribution.
The full list of students who participated in the project is Adam Knight, Becky Heitzman, Brandi Slean, Brandon Imler, Bryce Hartley, Chris Snyder, Clayton Tucker, Cynthia Upper, Dawn Alligood, Derek Holton, Duane Johnson, Elijah Croce, Holly McIlvaine, Jared LeFave, Jason Dampier, Jessica Kriechbaum, Jessica O’Steen, Jill Dixon, Jonathan Guay, Jun Komiya, Kristen Beckerink, Matthew Cutler-Holt, Michael Turner, Ross Whitty, Sam Murphy, Sisene Midget, Stacy Bingham Joyner, Thomas Wicks and Chace Beville.