November 28, 2019 | Miami Herald
by CHRISTIE GALEANO-DEMOTT
Vibrant outdoor museums fill our city with color, life and delight. A simple walk down the street can transform into a stroll through a compelling gallery or fascinating design wonderland. Public art makes art accessible to all of us.
But Miami’s infatuation with public art isn’t new. Miami-Dade Art in Public Places program ordinance, established in 1973, is one of the first in the country and requires that 1.5% of the total construction budget be allocated to public art.
Today, with the help of social media, progressive regulations and private financial support, public art is exploding around us with diverse pieces from a variety of talented local and international artists. While we couldn’t highlight every neighborhood’s contribution to enhancing our city’s arts scene, we’re thrilled to be spotlighting a few of the leaders here.
Known and admired for its bohemian vibe, this historically quaint neighborhood is elevating its public art installations to improve the quality of life for its residents and tourists alike while adding value to the area.
“Public art is a way of expressing ourselves as a city,” says Commissioner Ken Russell, the BID’s board chair. “As changes come with developments and as high-rises move in we’re set on retaining our spirit.”
Coconut Grove’s nine-member BID oversees a yearly public art budget used to commission murals and installations, including 2,000 native orchids that are painting the non-floral trees throughout the city. Another piece is Korean artist Gimhongsok’s interpretation of Robert Indiana’s Love sculpture as a crumpled stainless-steel version.
The neighborhood even sparkles in the evenings with two glistening light installation. Peacock Park’s trees are aglow with dozens of LED-lit spheres made from grape vines hanging from branches. Jaume Plensa’s The Poets in Bordeaux, located outside of Park Grove, are three resin sculptures that sit on top of 35-foot poles and alternate colors like beacons in the night.