If you happened to be high in the sky near Miami International Airport at around 12 p.m. on 12/12/12 you would have seen a gigantic masterpiece in the field of Miami Springs Middle School.
Conceptual artist Daniel Dancer has worked in communities from Alaska to Australia to create art upon the earth. On this special day in Miami Springs, more than 1,800 students, staff and community members came together to become a living work of art.
This massive undertaking was led by Miami Springs Middle School science teacher Katie Ortiz, who has been coordinating the project for months, along with the support from many others, including the school PTA and the Art for the Sky Club.
“We had the idea to start an Art for the Sky Club for this special event,” Ortiz said. “The club met twice a month and they helped with all of the planning and fundraising. These were the students who voted on the sailfish image.”
From afterschool fundraisers to parent donations, the school’s PTA led the fundraising efforts, which was no small task. PTA President Susan Baan even went before the Miami Springs council to ask for assistance. Miami Springs mayor Zavier Garcia reached out to community businesses and was able to get anonymous sponsors to help with this massive project.
After months of planning, the big day arrived. As Dancer and Art for the Sky Club members worked hard to prepare the grounds with mulch and sand, eager students from Springview Elementary and Miami Springs Elementary arrived on the scene. Miami Springs Middle School invited incoming local fifth-grade students as an opportunity to visit their future school as well as provide them with the opportunity to be a part of this big community project.
Every student on campus joined in. Everyone was assigned a specific color to wear. Yellow, blue, purple, black and white, all dressed according to the plan. Mayor Garcia and City Manager Ron Gorland were in attendance and were enthusiastic about being part of the masterpiece. It was hard to tell who was more excited, the students, the school staff or local city leaders.
“It’s very cool to be a part of this event. I’m very excited,” said Garcia. “Every school in Miami Springs does something unique. Having such a wonderful event like this is one of the things that Miami Springs Middle School does to bring attention to our beautiful city.”
The entire project was a collaborative community effort that showcased the beautiful artwork of Dancer but also the beauty of a community that comes together.
“I’m part of Miami Springs and whatever I can do to help the Springs, that’s what I’ll do,” said longtime Miami Springs resident Bob Moore. “We really need to support our kids and our schools.”
Moore was behind the scenes coordinating the donation of the crane from Harrison Crane Services.
Not only does Dancer put together the people on the ground to form the temporary masterpiece, he also creates a video, using images that were taken from high in the sky. The school will sell videos and T-shirts with the image as a fundraiser. Dancer visited the school a few years ago and Ortiz’s plan is for Dancer to return again in three years.