Art (?) Around Town

In the weeks and months following the annual blow-up known as Art Week, our community abounds with so many more expressions of art – in the museums, in the galleries, and elsewhere. Public art has taken root in many cities worldwide as a means of making the places we live more enjoyable and attracting audiences.

I took the liberty to actually look up a definition of public art. This one comes from the Americans for the Arts: “Simply put public art is art in public spaces. The term “public art” may conjure images of historic bronze statues of a soldier on horseback in a park. Today, public art can take a wide range of forms, sizes, and scales—and can be temporary or permanent. It often interprets the history of the place, its people, and perhaps addresses a social or environmental issue. Public art can include murals, sculpture, memorials, integrated architectural or landscape architectural work, community art, digital new media, and even performances and festivals!”

Here are several samples of the public art that could and can, in some cases, still be seen around the community.

Actually two installations were in place and beyond during Art Week at the Lincoln Road Mall down the street from our home. This historic pedestrian mall considers itself one of the country’s most beloved destinations for al fresco shopping, dining, and entertainment. Since it was cut from the mangrove forests in the early 20th century, the character of this route has remained fluid, changing with the times in attempts to remake itself.

The nine-story banner, ‘CityKids Speak on Liberty,’ created by Keith Haring and CityKids in 1986 was shown for the first time on Lincoln Road through mid-January. It is the largest freestanding and most important piece ever created by Haring. Keith’s dark outlines create the Statue of Liberty. It adorned one corner, across from the iconic art deco Colony Theater. One thousand New York City youths expressed what liberty meant to them to honor the 100th anniversary of the Statue of Liberty.

CityKids ( retained ownership of the physical masterpiece since its creation. In 2020, both to preserve the work and to generate new digital experiences around it, they worked with Metaverse Studio IMMUSE to digitize the work. That single 6GB photo file has been divided into 385 1-of-1 pieces, with the top 384 smaller pieces turned into a compressible puzzle. NFTs here we come!

The Lincoln Road Business Improvement District installed twelve sculptures by French artist Richard Orlinski to “enhance its arts and culture experience.” Orlinski’s work was recently displayed in Paris’ Avenue des Champs Elysée. He uses industrial materials and resins to develop large geometric sculptures that are meant to symbolize freedom, power, and passion.

the panda is cute

On a recent Monday, Constant Companion and I crossed the causeway in search of some recently heralded public art in downtown Miami. We found the two displays we were seeking and were delighted with a third that we did not know about.


The Dogs and Cats Walkway and Sculpture Gardens was recently installed in Maurice Ferre Park, near the Pérez Art Museum Miami. Fifty aluminum, oversized dog and cat statues were whimsically decorated by fifty-two local artists. The idea for the one-acre garden came from a video of a park in Cali, Colombia, filled with cat sculptures sent to the wife of city commissioner Joe Carollo. The Colombian park has have become a tourist attraction; ours is yet another selfie spot.

Mi Ami cat
why is this kitty spraying in public?

The 26 dogs and 26 cats are supposed to portray the special role pets play in our lives. The goal is also to raise awareness about animal respect and protection. And what about these real guys living in the park?

Once we completed the carnival of animals, another group of sculptures along bay-front caught our eyes. It was a delightfully refreshing surprise after the menagerie. Fourteen monumental sculptures, titled ‘A Bridge of Light,’ the work of Costa Rican sculptor, Jiménez Deredia (, lined the walkways.

Deredia is a successful and well-known Latin American artist who works in marble and bronze. He was the first Latin American and non-European artist to place a work in the Basilica of Saint Peter in the Vatican.

genesis del huevo

His sculptures reference themes of evolution, pregnancy, spirituality, anthropology, and the story of humans on Earth. Some were made specifically to debut in Miami, like “El Alquimista,” a large marble circle with a human emerging from it.

El Alquimista

Interestingly, much of Deredia’s work reminded me of the sculptures by Chiricahua Apache artist Alan Houser, one of the most renowned Native American painters and Modernist sculptors of the 20th century.

Young Woman, Alan Houser

One of the goals of the high-minded Deredia exhibit in the park was to create an outdoor museum. Miami World Center, our next stop, shares the same goal. This was the intended second destination on the itinerary Constant Companion and I had made for the day.

Miami World Center aspires to transform downtown Miami ( Countless high-rise condominium buildings, hotels, offices, and retail and restaurants are quickly rising in a formerly distressed area just north of downtown.

Franz Ackermann
Hernan Bas, The Day it Snowed in Miami
Nina Chanel Abney
Viktor El-Saieh

A self-proclaimed art committee including curators Jeffrey Deitch and Primary, are assembling site-specific public paintings and sculptures on building walls and courtyards to create an outdoor gallery. As we dodged on-going construction this is a sampling of what we found.

Artwork includes murals (above) as well as sculptures (below). Somehow we missed the Nick Cave.

Trenton Doyle Hancock
Zadok Ben-David

And what’s an excursion without a mystery. Tucked under the MetroRail tracks was this large circular bas relief. To tell the truth, as skilled as I am with my friend Google, I don’t even know where to start searching for it!

It’s a mystery!


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