Local artists teamed with neighborhood high school students have added a splash of color to parks throughout Southwest Miami-Dade County.
Miami-Dade County Commissioner Juan C. Zapata launched an “Art in the Park” program to revamp the aesthetics of parks in his district 11.
“This is part of our effort to bring more public art to our green spaces to make the West End a culturally vibrant community,” Zapata said in a news release. “I invite residents to sit back and relax in these beautifully decorated chairs while enjoying the outdoors.”
The artwork comes in the form of painted lawn chairs. Four local artists teamed with neighborhood high school art students. The artwork themes on the chairs include but are not limited to nature and family.
The colorful chairs can be found in six parks in the West End: Westwind Lakes, Sun Lake, Kings Meadow, Tamiami Lakes, Oak Creek by Country Walk and Butterfly Garden at Kendale Lakes Library.
Artists Zeal Allen, Adriana “Driskee” Perez, Griselda Lechini and David Lavernia were tasked with painting the chairs.
Perez, a passionate artist all her life, paints in a pop style mixed with abstract. Her themes depend on her mood. She met one of the project organizers at a local meeting. “I loved the idea. They asked if I would like to participate and I quickly jumped on board,” Perez said.
“The project is going really well,” she said. “The chairs look great and really give life to the parks. I hope they can inspire and promote a positive and creative atmosphere.”
Perez is now working with the Miami Dolphins, painting 50th anniversary helmets that will be displayed and auctioned off for charity.
Griselda Lechini has been painting since 2008. After her modeling career in Miami, she moved to Louisiana and discovered her passion for painting. Her style is neo-impressionism and she usually paints landscapes, the feminine figure and some abstracts.
Lechini participated in a booth at a public event organized by Zapata and received great recognition, she said.
“They loved my paintings and since then, I was invited to participate in a couple of projects including Art in the Park,” Lechini said. “I must say, I’m more than grateful to the people in there and especially to Commissioner Zapata and his amazing team. A group of hard workers and visionaries.”
Lechini described her participation in the project: “I was painting thinking of children playing in the park and old people having a nice time with some colors and fun in the park. I hope they can perceive the good feelings I put on my pieces.”
Students from Felix Varela High, G. Holmes Braddock High, John A. Ferguson High, W.R. Thomas Middle and the Miami Arts School at Zelda Glazer Middle School joined the artists in the project.
This community art project wasn’t Zapata’s first. He helped start the West End Art Fair and Gallery Night at Kendale Lakes Library, and also sponsored a project in which utility boxes were artistically redesigned.