This summer, Carol City Middle School, built in 1955, got a 2015-style update.
Starting in June, more than 30 artists and 100 volunteers beautified the Miami Gardens school. New plants were installed and the bare walls became canvases to more than 30 murals, depicting subjects that ranged from the famed black astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson to a child reading atop a stack of books by Langston Hughes, Frederick Douglass and Richard Wright.
The evolution is cataloged on the project’s Instagram page — @artinthegardens.
Hec One Love, a street artist famous for his “Loveism” campaign, curated the murals and included one of his own that bears his signature phrase: white block letters on a colorful splattered wall. The mural faces Northwest 37th Avenue near 188th Street.
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“People always ask me what it means,” he told the audience of donors, volunteers and artists during Monday’s unveiling. “It’s not about words, it’s about action.”
Love said he hopes the art inspires students to see their school as a luxury, not drudgery.
“It invigorates their whole mindset,” Love said. “It makes it a cool place.”
During Monday’s event, Alberto Carvalho, superintendent of Miami-Dade Schools, heaped praise on the artists.
“People call it urban art or street art,” he said. “I actually think it’s the people’s art. It’s the most significant, organic expression of one’s heart, of one’s mind.”
The artists volunteered their time and bought most of their own supplies; the extra costs were made up through donors and a GoFundMe page. As of Monday, the fundraiser had met a little over half of its $5,000 goal.
The Miami Carol City Senior High marching band played Pharrell Williams’ Happy, to the delight of Dr. Wilbert “Tee” Holloway, a school board member. Students dressed in all black shimmied, swayed and jammed out on the auditorium stage, their instruments gleaming under the stage lights.
He likened the effects of the band’s boisterous music to the new murals.
“Art is a component of learning,” Holloway said. “We will not let the arts die in our community.”
After the event, student band members celebrated in true middle school fashion — with pizza and ice cream.
Follow @harrisalexc on Twitter.
Artist lineup and their Instagram handles:
Hec One Love (Curator): @heconelove
Jai Artistry: @jaiartistry1
Aquarela Sabol: @aquarelaart
Claudio Picasso: @cpwon
Ruben Ubiera: @urbanruben
Yuhmi Collective: @yuhmicollective
Ernesto Maranje: @ernestomaranje
Nicole Salgar: @nmalgar
Ivan Roque: @alhailtla
Derek Hunter: @derekhunterart
Santiago Rubino: @santiagorubino
Renda Writer: @rendawriter
Rei Ramirez: @reiramirez21
Claudia La Biance: @claudialabianca
Cristhian Saravia: @golden305
Angelo Campos: @angelocampos1
Tee Pop: @teepopart
Registered Artist: @registered_artist
James Brutus: @jamesbrutusart
Manuel Zapata: @taco_designs
Eduardo Mendieta: @EM_C
Remoteroc / Sprayskull: @grafftoyz
Monique Lassooij: @molassooij
Nate Dee: @artistnatedee
Wilson Art: @artwilson22
Angie Georgina: @angiegeorgina_art
Dave Lavernia: @davel_art
Brian Butler: @upperhandart
Luis Valle: @el_chan_guri
Gabriel “GG” Gimenez: @ggartwork