The Power of Art was a curated series of five large-scale temporary public art installations in Coral Springs and Parkland, Florida in 2019 and 2020. The artworks were created with the community and provided a variety of opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds to participate in socially engaged public programming and cathartic experiences. The Power of Art projects were The Temple of Time with David Best, a Scrollathon with Steven and William Ladd, The Yellow Walk by Kate Gilmore, The Big Picture: Resilience with Carl Juste, and Peace & Love by R&R Studios.
Just weeks after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School (MSD), Via began working with staff from the Cities of Coral Springs and Parkland and the Coral Springs Museum of Art to write a winning proposal for the 2018 Bloomberg Public Art Challenge. Our work included identifying the artists and their projects as part of the grant proposal. 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 were hoping that public art could aid in the community’s healing after the shooting. After the cities were awarded the $1 million grant, Via curated and managed the projects through continued concept development, fabrication, installation, and development and implementation of community engagement and outreach components.
The Temple of Time was built by artist David Best, his Temple Crew and hundreds of community members over two weeks in January and February 2019. The Temple was open to the public daily for three months as a place for people to come together and leave messages and tokens. In May 2019, it was burned in a ceremonial fire with thousands in attendance, releasing some of the community’s pain into the night sky.
Steven and William Ladd’s Scrollathon project engaged 900 participants in hands-on workshops over a two -week period to create a large-scale scroll landscape mural. Each participant made a wrapped fabric scroll that they associated with a personal story and shared that story with the group, demonstrating how contemporary art can become a lens for personal storytelling and giving participants an opportunity to be vulnerable and courageous. Each participant also contributed additional mini-scrolls to the collaborative artwork, Growth & Strength, which is now on view at the Parkland Recreation and Enrichment Center.
Carl Juste, an award-winning photojournalist for the Miami Herald, and his collaborators from Iris PhotoCollective, led a four-part workshop called The Big Picture: Resilience exploring the use of photojournalism as a form of self-expression and ideas around healing, resiliency, bearing witness and capturing history. Fifteen community members participated in the workshop and learned to create their own images and tell their own stories. Images they created became part of an installation shown in Pine Trails Park in Parkland from February 14, 2020 through May 2020.
For three days in November 2019, Guggenheim Fellow Kate Gilmore transformed the Art Walk in Coral Springs into an interactive performance installation called The Yellow Walk. Each day performers from the Coral Springs and Parkland communities walked continuously in shifts along an 800-foot-long yellow carpet. The public was invited to join in and walk alongside a performer in companionship, signifying that we never walk alone. Community members also participated in workshops to create 1,000 hand silk-screened t-shirts for The Yellow Walk.
On February 14, 2020, Peace & Love by Roberto Behar and Rosario Marquardt (R&R Studios) was unveiled. This 130’ “social sculpture” was made of tens of thousands of silk flowers spelling the words Peace & Love and was meant to be a beacon of compassion and care for the community. Community members participated in workshops with Roberto and Rosario at the Coral Springs Museum of Art to help place flowers on the frames and construct the sculpture. The work was on view at a prominent entrance to Coral Springs outside of the City’s Sportsplex through May 2020.