The Power of Art Public Artworks, Coral Springs and Parkland, FL

The Power of Art Public Artworks, Coral Springs and Parkland, FL

Client: City of Coral Springs, FL

Location: Coral Springs and Parkland, FL

Selected Artists: David Best, Kate Gilmore, Carl Juste, Steven & William Ladd, and R&R Studios (Roberto Behar and Rosario Marquardt)

Image Courtesy of the City of Coral Springs


In the weeks following the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the Cities of Coral Springs and Parkland, Florida applied to Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Public Art Challenge – an initiative that provides U.S. mayors the opportunity to win a grant of up to $1 million in funding for temporary public art projects that address a civic issue impacting their communities. The two cities, whose residents together make up the student body at MSD, were seeking ways to help their residents respond to the tragedy and hoping that public art could aid in the community’s healing from this horrific event.

The team contacted Via Partnership for assistance in developing the proposal and completing the grant application. Via worked with the team, which includes staff from both cities and the Coral Springs Museum of Art, to develop a proposal for a curated series of five large-scale temporary public art installations designed to be created with the community and provide a variety of opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds to participate in socially engaged public programming and cathartic experiences.


The team’s proposal “Inspiring Community Healing After Gun Violence: The Power of Art” was selected from more than 200 applicants as a winner of the 2018 Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Art Challenge. Via is now continuing to work with the team to realize the projects including, coordinating with artists on continued development of their concepts and working with the team to further develop the community engagement opportunities and workshops.


The five artworks, which will be presented over two years, will be made from a variety of media and will all involve community members in transforming humble materials and actions into works of art imbued with deep communal meaning. These collaborative artmaking experiences are intended to reduce isolation while building community, and ultimately, give participants a sense of being part of something greater, as the community seeks to heal from this trauma that is still all too raw nearly a year later. The projects will all draw from and build upon the Coral Springs Museum of Art’s Healing with Art program – an art therapy program begun by the museum in the immediate aftermath of the shooting that has proven to be vitally needed in the community.


The selected artists are David Best, Kate Gilmore, Carl Juste, Steven and William Ladd, and R&R Studios (Roberto Behar and Rosario Marquardt). The five artworks will be presented over two years and together will represent the community’s hope for the future. The artworks explore concepts such as remembering, keeping vigils, taking care of each other, and the human presence as a refusal to give in to hate and violence. They will become gathering places and create opportunities for conversation regarding civic issues that resulted in the tragedy, so the community can redefine its own narrative and become stronger together. Ultimately, the project aims to make an impact on individuals’ and the community’s healing and serve as national model of a strategic, art-focused response to a tragedy, while deepening the public dialogue around the need for healing from such events for communities to move forward and create the future they wish to see.