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Students help light up Coral Gables in South Florida’s first art and light exhibition

Students help light up Coral Gables in South Florida’s first art and light exhibition

February 10, 2021 at 10:00am

The city of Coral Gables is turning on the lights, and FIU’s Department of Art + Art History is helping them do it.

Feb. 12 through March. 15, Illuminate Coral Gables (ICG)—South Florida’s first art and light public art initiative focused on the intentional use of light and technology—will transform public art into magical and mysterious works at night. 

ICG’s educational component, a partnership with FIU’s Art and Art History Department, will include a projection-mapped video and sound-based work titled “You Are Here” and a unique student-led interdisciplinary exhibit, "You Are Here: Introspective,"  by Professor Jonathan Perez and six undergraduate and graduate students. 

"You Are Here" focuses on the intersection of the natural and built environment of South Florida and the City of Coral Gables and will cover the west side of the Coral Gables Museum during the month-long exhibit. 

"You Are Here: Introspective" gives viewers a behind-the-scenes look into the makings of "You Are Here" and expands on how art, nature and AI technology all come together in a video-mapping project. The exhibition will be on display in the community meeting room inside the Coral Gables Museum. 

Taking up the challenge are Tara Remmen, L’nique Noel, Emily Silverio-Williams, Maria Daniela Maldonado, Heather Kostrna, Ari Temkin and Jennifer Hudock. The team created the piece using manual and artificial intelligence animations, time-lapse videos and curated footage entirely. 

“Illuminate Coral Gables (ICG) brings to light high-caliber artistic and educational experiences for South Florida community and beyond,” says David Chang, chair for the Department of Art + Art History and Arts Advisory Committee member. “It is a manifestation of the desire and appreciation of art by nationally and internationally renowned artists as well as emerging artists.  

“The site-specific, projection-mapping video art project is yet another testimony to the commitment of our innovative and thought-provocative faculty and our creative and hard-working student artists in CARTA’s Department of Art and Art History,” he adds.

The work for “You Are Here” started more than a year ago when Chang created a class and tasked Perez with assembling and mentoring undergraduate and graduate students to create the video-mapping piece. 

“Working with this group of students was an absolutely enriching experience,” says Perez. “Their dedication and creativity is inspiring for me.” 

Most of the conceptualization and brainstorming efforts were done remotely through apps such as Mirro and Zoom. In addition, the experience allowed some of the students to bring their visual work to a digital space for the first time.

“I think one of the amazing things about art, in particular, is that no one can create the same art,” Silverio-Williams says. “So, [combining] eight minds resulted in a journey I know I couldn’t have found by myself.” 

For painter Noel, this video challenged her to bring her painting to the virtual space, as she now had to animate her paintings. 

“Through the painting process, I had to think as an animator,” Noel says. “I had to paint each component separately as opposed to painting one thing on top of another, in order to collage each individual piece so that I could then animate it.”

Along with “You Are Here,” ICG also features eight projects of video projections and sculpture and art installations by local, national and international artists. Seven of the artworks are new site-specific commissions.

ICG has been created for specific outdoor locations throughout Coral Gables and is a project of the Coral Gables Community Foundation, which also created the Umbrella Sky Project in Giralda Plaza in 2018. 

Envisioned as a new and annual public art benchmark, ICG will allow residents and visitors to experience high-quality art on their daily journey. 

ICG is free and can be safely navigated outdoors by foot, bicycle or vehicle. Measures to ensure safety and social distancing will be used such as hand sanitizing stations and social distancing markers. Facial coverings will be required.

Art projections, including “You Are Here,” will be on display on Wednesdays through Sundays from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. and artworks will be on display throughout the entirety of the exhibition. "You Are Here: Introspective" will be on display Mondays through Sundays from noon to 5 p.m.

Learn more about Illuminate Coral Gables.