brickellartists

Calling all artists!

The vision of adding art to Brickell Avenue became a reality in December as the first installment featuring six sculptures debuted during a public art walk with city officials, the artists, BHA board members and neighbors.

Starting and ending at 1814 Brickell Park, the group made their way down Brickell to learn about the artists and their sculptures situated along the avenue. Stops were made at each piece for photo ops with the artists and a brief explanation of each work itself. The city provided the foundations for each installation and will be adding lighting and brass plaques for each piece.

The most exciting part of the project is that more spots are available and more artists are urged to consider showcasing their work on Brickell.

Genesis

BHA President Ernesto Cuesta had long envisioned artwork on Brickell in the medians announcing the unique and distinguished nature of Brickell Avenue. Commissioner Marc Sarnoff tried to make it happen, and predictably met with objections from FDOT. When the Commissioner told BHA it would be possible along the side of the avenue in public right-of-way space that each condo association beautifully maintains, BHA readily endorsed the plan.

Commissioner Sarnoff enlisted the assistance of artist Christian Bernard to lead Brickell’s public art project. Commisioner Sarnoff asked if Bernard wanted to display two sculptures along Brickell Avenue and if he could find other artists who were interested in participating.

Last year Bernard donated his time and talent to create the permanent 9/11 Memorial sculpture at 1814 Brickell Park. The impressive, emotion-provoking piece created from a steel beam recovered from the World Trade Center attack was unveiled during the park’s dedication a year ago, on June 13, 2012.

Bernard steps up for Brickell

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Christian Bernard with sculpture “Sentinel” on Brickell Avenue.

Bernard was successful in convincing five other artists to donate their time and talent with a piece for Brickell Avenue. They each agreed to create and loan a piece at their own expense, as well as maintain it should it need any repairs due to the elements or vandals. The rotation is anticipated for a period of a couple of years, except in the case where a piece is sold and the buyer wants immediate delivery.

Having brought Brickell’s art project to fruition, both Sarnoff and Bernard were obviously pleased on the morning of the walk as they toured the works with neighbors and friends, just in time to coincide with Art Basel.

“Today is the day we finally finished the project. The project is now in place,” said Bernard. His two fiberglass pieces were highlights of the tour. The bright, multicolored vertical piece titled “Sentinel” measures 14 feet and the strikingly bold, chunky red “Delores” tops out at seven feet.

Bernard added, “This is a great opportunity for me to be able to show my work on an avenue such as Brickell. I hope to repeat the experience soon.” And for anyone interested he says “both pieces can be reproduced on demand for private collections.”

Bernard, who also goes by Narbero, is no stranger to public art in Miami. The French artist has created public installations for the Miami Children’s Museum, the YMCA and Coral Gables. He has lived in Miami for 15 years and his work is featured in galleries in Florida, North Carolina, Georgia and New York.

In fact, it was Bernard’s familiarity with public art that first drew the attention of Commissioner Sarnoff and led the Commissioner to tap his talents to bring Brickell some much-needed public art.

“For the citizens who can’t afford it, it becomes part of their every day. For the person who is driving south to Pinecrest, they might calm down a little bit. Maybe they actually look at the art and they think to themselves, ‘this is something beautiful and I live in a beautiful city.’ I think it changes the way we think about ourselves and our environment,” Sarnoff said.

The presence of Bernard’s fellow artists the morning of the walk added to the excitement surrounding the unveiling of their sculptures.

Chilean-born artist Marcia Ramos-Pellero whose studio is at the Bakehouse Art Complex, was excited to contribute to the Art in Public Places initiative saying “it was an opportunity to make a contribution to the city and get my work exposed on beautiful Brickell Avenue, so I conceived my piece ‘Sensoria’ for the project.” She went on to say that “culturally, Miami needs the opportunity to see more art. Miami is a new city and is rich in the architectural side of art.”

The circular “Sensoria” showcases Ramos-Pellero’s trademark use of light, diluted colors and overlapping stains that allows her to achieve an aerial sense of landscape.

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Commissioner Sarnoff and artist Rosaria Pugliese and her sculpture, “The Urban Tree.”

Italian-born Rosaria Pugliese’s “Urban Tree” measures 8 feet by 3 feet and is made of aluminum with a double coating of industrial paint. Pugliese, whose work has been exhibited in Europe and Latin America, says her sculpture “resembles a tree in an abstract and contemporary way. Its free form and resistant materials were chosen to allow wind, sun and rain to pass through, interacting playfully with nature.”

Her well thought out piece reveals the artist’s love affair with Brickell. “My goal was to incorporate a piece of art into the rich landscaping and the architectonic beauty of Brickell. Since I arrived in Miami in 1983, Brickell has always been present in my life, so having a sculpture in this elegant and central street is not only an honor but also quite sentimental.”

Fellow artist, Elyan Biscayn, who collaborated with Bernard on an exhibition seven years ago, was also beaming with pride and posing for photos with her sculpture “Florida.” Absent that morning was French-born Jean Michel Correia. His piece “No Title” is a painted wood sculpture created in his studio in Quebec last year. Correia says it represents the spatial modulation of his painting.

“It is from a series I started in 1993. Other sculptures from this series are currently on display in SVR Fine Art Gallery and Stellar Union Gallery, both in Southampton, NY,” Correia said. “I am an architect and my approach as a painter is space.”

Adding an exciting dimension to Brickell Avenue, the Brickell Art Project is very much a living project and was envisioned as dynamic. Several locations have been identified for more pieces, and several condo associations have indicated interest in having a work on their front lawn.

Artists interested in contributing a piece for both the satisfaction of sharing their talent with the community and the unmatched exposure of Brickell Avenue, are urged to contact BHA or Commissioner Sarnoff’s office at (305) 250-5333.

 From BHA News Vol. XXIII No. 1, Spring/Summer 2013