MIAMI – February 13, 2015 – Art, and especially outdoor street art, has become entwined with everyday life in Miami. Those of us living here may have recognized this, but maybe it’s the tons of visitors who have descended for this holiday weekend who will notice it most. There are the obvious murals on the walls of Wynwood, as well as the focus on urban art shared by many neighborhood galleries and booths at Art Wynwood. But the tentacles have reached far beyond that.
For instance, two artists – one still in school, one who has been on the national graffiti scene since the 1980s – started this weekend to cover the walls of the Miami Jewish Health Systems’ Douglas Gardens campus on N.E. 2nd Avenue. Anyone familiar with the city will know this huge complex, and many will have had some relative who has resided there (in fact, the vast majority of the seniors there are not Jewish, as it is the biggest senior center in the Southeast). To celebrate its 75th anniversary, the center decided to literally brighten things up.
Miami Jewish invited Enrique “Sero” Cruz to leave his distinctive markings. He’s old-school, having worked with musicians such as Tupac and Wyclef; appears in graffiti books; and was part of the Miami Heat’s Art of Basketball exhibition.
His work has influenced a new generation, of which Rey Jaffet is part. Now a student at the New World School of the Arts – a font of street art creativity – he is joining Sero on the mural project. They will be painting the walls that surround the campus, which have stood bare and a little forbidding for years. The murals will reflect somewhat the lush vegetation that flourishes on the campus behind those walls (it is called Douglas Gardens for a reason).
According to President and Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Freimark, “These murals will create an aesthetic bond between our campus and the community, connecting us to our vibrant neighbors in Little Haiti as well as the nearby Design District, Midtown and Wynwood.”
There couldn’t be a better application of spray paint than that. The project will be finished for the actual anniversary date of February 28th.