Power of Art
Inspiring Community Healing After Gun Violence
In the weeks following the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the Cities of Coral Springs and Parkland, Florida, in partnership with the Coral Springs Museum of Art, applied to Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Public Art Challenge – an initiative that provides U.S. mayors the opportunity to apply for funding for temporary public art projects that address a civic issue impacting their communities. The two cities, whose residents together make up the student body at MSD, were seeking ways to help their residents respond to the tragedy and hoping that public art could aid in the community’s healing from this horrific event.
The cities’ proposal was selected by Bloomberg Philanthropies in November 2018. The project, “Inspiring Community Healing After Gun Violence: The Power of Art” is a curated series of five large-scale temporary public art installations designed to be created with community members. Each of the five installations provides a variety of opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds to participate in socially engaged public programming and cathartic experiences. The goal of the project is to provide healing and social cohesion and to present a national example of community support and resilience.
The five installations will be presented over two years. They will be made from a variety of media and will all involve community members in transforming humble materials and actions into works of art imbued with deep communal meaning. These collaborative art experiences are intended to reduce isolation while building community, and ultimately, give participants a sense of being part of something greater, as the community seeks to heal from this trauma that is still all too raw nearly a year later. The projects will all draw from and build upon the Coral Springs Museum of Art’s Healing with Art program – an art therapy program begun by the museum in the immediate aftermath of the shooting that has proven to be vitally needed in the community.
The selected artists are David Best, Kate Gilmore, Carl Juste, Steven and William Ladd, and R&R Studios (Roberto Behar and Rosario Marquardt). The artworks explore concepts such as remembering, keeping vigils, taking care of each other, and the human presence as a refusal to give in to hate and violence. They will become gathering places and create opportunities for conversation regarding civic issues that resulted in the tragedy, so the community can redefine its own narrative and become stronger together. Ultimately, the “Power of Art” project aims to make an impact on individuals’ and the community’s healing and serve as national model of a strategic, art-focused response to a tragedy, while deepening the public dialogue around the need for healing from such events for communities to move forward and create the future they wish to see.
The first project is The Temple of Time project by David Best. David will work with community members to build a 35-foot-tall temple, with no religious affiliation. Building the temple together, community members will produce an object of great beauty of out of their loss, which will become a place where the community can gather. Community members will work alongside David’s temple crew, seasoned volunteers who have worked with him on past projects. Construction of the temple will run from January 30th to February 12, 2019. It will be built on the former City Hall site in Coral Springs (9551 W. Sample Rd). In past work with grieving parents, students, and first-responders, David has found that the process and resulting temple help people to rebuild hope and release grief. Once constructed, it will be open to the public from 7 a.m. to dusk every day until approximately mid-May, when it will be burned in a ceremonial fire. The burning will be a closing ritual, a cathartic experience that allows people to let go of difficult emotions and make room for remaining positive emotions and loving memories to be made stronger.
The City of Coral Springs is in the process of developing a website to educate residents and visitors about the Power of Art projects and impact. To learn more about the project, email Dale Williams at email@example.com.
Public Information Officer/Writer