DSC_9963Art installations visually herald a new horizon at Sunset Place.  Over the summer break The Shops at Sunset Place has given local university and high school student artists the chance to take on their largest canvas yet.

A theme in banners throughout Sunset Place and in print media is: “It’s On the Horizon.”  These projects are signaling refreshing changes for the center in anticipation of its transformation by new ownership and management.  “Activating large canvases like what you’re now seeing brings inspiring art and engages community involvement,” reports Alex Schreer, Director Marketing for Grass River Management.

DSC_9844The center commissioned University of Miami graduate art student Izia Lindsay to transform the seven structural columns at the Sunset Drive entry plaza into a canvas for abstract landscapes of South Florida’s native wildlife, where locals and visitors have been able to watch him transform the area firsthand.

During the first week of July, working at night (from 10p to 6a) using some 100 cans of spray paint, the Trinidadian muralist created columns of “Tropical Nouveau,” transforming the blank 30 foot high and 10 foot round into works of art.

Lindsay is known for large, colorful murals that reflect nature, and his work has previously graced the walls of Miami’s Wynwood as well as communities in Barbados, Suriname, Curacao and his native Trinidad.  Just minutes from where he currently lives and attends school, this project hits especially close to home. “I’m honored to have the opportunity to create a work of art for the South Miami community that has welcomed me and become my second home,” said Lindsay.

At age twenty-four, Izia is a MFA Graduate student at UM and also a Teaching Assistant.  He began his graduate studies last August and expects to be graduating in 2018.  He first visited Miami as an exchange student at UM four years ago, where he spent a semester working on his final year thesis and knew he wanted to return.  “This visit had a great impact on me making a decision to further my studies at the University of Miami,” says Lindsey.

DSC_9842Of his artistic works, Izia reflects: “My art is a reflection of my surroundings and how exquisite I see life to be.  I believe art in any environment has the power to affect space. My vision as an artist is to subconsciously connect with people positively.”

From the sidewalks during SOMiartwalk© and the “SOMI Sidewalk Showcase” of local talent, to the walls of Sunset Place, students from the National Honors Society art magnet program at South Miami Senior High School, have been involved in community art projects.  At the SOMiartwalk© they brought art on the sidewalks with colorful chalk renderings, appreciated by passersby for many days later.

Now, they are working on a more permanent art project at Sunset Place.  Here, the high school students are taking on their own once-in-a-lifetime project in the Sunset Place grotto, where they are working with their peers to bring vibrant nature scenes to life on the grotto columns.

With guidance from Lizzie Hunter, their instructor, students woking on the project are: Amanda Muñoz, Mayra Ona, Yesenia Padron and Brenda Rodriguez.

“This is a great example of getting students involved in the betterment of their communities,” says Schreer, “and in the next two years, our guests will be experiencing more “pop-up art” throughout the center.”


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