Press Release  February 22, 2021

Illuminate Coral Gables: a New Public Arts Initiative

Photo by John Talley Photography. Courtesy of Fung Collaboratives.

David Gumbs, Echoes of My Skin, 2021. 280 Miracle Mile.

CORAL GABLES, FL – The City of Coral Gables is turning on the lights. Illuminate Coral Gables (ICG), a new public art initiative focusing on the intentional use of light and technology to transform public art by day into magical and mysterious work at night, will be on view through March 13, 2021. Curated by Lance Fung with Catherine Cathers, Jennifer Easton, and Rosie Gordon-Wallace, ICG, has been created for specific outdoor locations throughout Coral Gables. ICG’s eight projects include video projections, sculpture, and art installations by a stellar group of local, national, and international artists including Kiki Smith and Cai Guo-Qiang. Seven of the artworks are new site-specific commissions. ICG will be on view Wednesdays through Sundays from 6-10 pm. ICG is a project of the Coral Gables Community Foundation.

Photo by John Talley Photography. Courtesy of Fung Collaboratives.

Kiki Smith, Blue Night, 2021. Giralda Plaza.

Blue Night, sponsored by the City of Coral Gables is Smith’s project, is installed in Giralda Plaza. Forty-two suspended mirrored renderings of animal constellations from both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres reflect light through transparent blue backgrounds: holographic vinyl denotes the stars that comprise the constellations. An Augmented Reality (AR) component enables viewers to see ghosted constellation images and asterism on their devices throughout the day and night. A free downloadable artist coloring book will be available.

Cai Guo-Qiang’s Fireflies is being exhibited in South Florida for the first time. This project was commissioned by the Association for Public Art (APA) with Fung Collaboratives and was first presented in Philadelphia in 2017. The project was curated by Lance Fung. Major support was received from the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. This interactive and mesmerizing public artwork roams through downtown adding color and joy through handmade Chinese silk lanterns.

Participating Artists include Cai Guo-Qiang, Carlos Estévez, David Gumbs, Ruben Millares, Joseph Mills, Jonathan Perez and FIU student artists, Sandra Ramos, Kiki Smith, and Antonia Wright.

ICG’s educational component, through a partnership with Florida International University’s Department of Art and Art History, includes a projection-mapped video and sound-based work that focuses on the intersection of the natural and built environment of South Florida and the City of Coral Gables.

Courtesy of Carlos Estevez, Mai Shirai, Johnny Sims, and Illuminate Coral Gables.

Carlos Estévez, Urban Universes, 2021.

Artist Carlos Estévez has created an educational tool and interactive artwork in collaboration with Miami-Dade County Public Schools. Through a demonstration video, Estevez hopes to inspire and help students and their families to make kites that are based on identity, self-portraiture, and inclusivity. This video available online for free.

By initiating ICG, the Coral Gables Community Foundation is using art and culture as a beacon of resiliency, community strength, and support for the City’s residents and visitors for its vital small business community while realizing a museum-quality exhibition. Envisioned as a new and annual public art benchmark, ICG organizers recognize that residents and visitors will be able to experience high-quality art while downtown. Once the pandemic struck, it was clear that ICG was the perfect exhibition for tough times because it is free and can be safely navigated outdoors by foot, bicycle, or vehicle. Measures to ensure safety and social distancing have been implemented and facial coverings are required.

Illuminate Coral Gables is a fiscal sponsorship fund operating under the charitable umbrella of the Coral Gables Community Foundation, a 501(c) (3) public charity, and is a collaborative partnership between the public and private entities of Coral Gables, Florida. The City of Coral Gables is a founding stakeholder along with the Downtown Business Improvement District of Coral Gables (BID), the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce, and Coral Gables Art Museum. The Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs are new supporters and we are pleased to receive grants from The Kirk Foundation and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

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