Parking meters at Brockway Memorial Library in Miami Shores have been given new coats of paint, thanks to the efforts of nine student artists.
The meters on the south side of the library, 10021 NE Second Ave., were unveiled Saturday to the students who painted them, their teachers and families. The project was part of a larger initiative led by Miami Shores resident John Camp and the library Board of Trustees to decommission and transform the meters into donation stations.
Among the newly embellished metal meters at Northeast 100th Street: a reproduction of Vincent Van Gogh’s The Starry Night, a fun-in-the-sun scene at the beach with books and an “Orange You Beautiful” display of Florida’s favorite fruit.
“The concept is that parents and families when they park they will see their schools and want to give money toward the library,” said Michelle Brown, director of Brockway Memorial Library. "It's part of the ongoing library support program.”
The idea behind the project emerged after Camp noticed the library’s meters were rarely enforced. After discovering that only about $420 was collected from all the meters in the Miami Shores downtown area (based on numbers prior to 2013), Camp was interested to see if the village would approve decommissioning the nine meters at the library for a better cause.
“I saw was a potential resource for the library to receive donations in small amounts from patrons who park and wouldn’t mind putting 75 cents in the meter like they would if the meters were enforced,” Camp said. “Overtime that’s more money in the library’s coffers that they otherwise wouldn’t have gotten.”
Camp pitched his program to the library Board of Trustees and they embraced it. Within months, the board refurbished the idea and added an opportunity for local students to get involved in a friendly competition to redecorate the parking meters. The goal was to make the out-of-service poles pieces of public art.
The Village Council approved the program in early 2014. Once the project launched, the library reached out to local schools for submissions. By the competition deadline, four Miami Shores schools submitted approximately 80 designs. Nine winners were chosen.
On Saturday, the winners were celebrated at a ribbon cutting with Miami Shores Mayor Herta Holly and a pizza party. Each winner also received a $10 gift card.
For Regina Tamayo, whose Van Gogh-inspired parking meter design won one of the nine spots, being able to represent her school in the art competition was nothing short of amazing.
“I was actually quite nervous that I won,” said Tamayo, 16, a junior at Doctors Charter School. “It was interesting to see how I recreated the painting. I was proud of how it turned out.”
Joining her were two other winning high school students from Doctors and six other students representing Miami Shores Elementary, Miami Shores Presbyterian Church School and St. Rose of Lima. The nine winning designs were chosen by the Miami Shores Fine Arts Commission. The youngest winner was in fifth grade.
“I loved having the schools involved and having the kids taking interest,” said Cheryl Gowing, president of the Brockway Memorial Library Board of Trustees. “This will be great to encourage more people to feed the meters not because they want to avoid a ticket, but to help support the library.”