Friday night I went to the kick off party for the South Miami Manatee Fest headed by Heather Bettner from Prince Media Development hosted at the 1st National Bank of South Miami. The manatees were seven feet tall and all painted by different local artist fashioned after the Chicago Cow Parade that was so successful in 1999. Many cities like South Miami have replicated the cow art outreach with every imaginable animal.
Rosie Brown above, painted this manatee she named "Willy" for her sponsor Williamson Cadillac. Rosie cleverly incorporated a race car on the base of the manatee and then made the manatees into race car drivers.
Heather Bettner at the lectern, introduced all of the artists including many of the students who participated as well.
South Miami Mayor Stoddard above, was there with proclamations for each sponsor. Stoddard declared May 20th as Manatee Fest Day.
Marcie Ziv above, with her manatee along with her husband Jay. Marcie paints beautiful animals like this all the time in many shapes, sizes and varities. Check her work out if you would like a specific animal of your own.
Lastly, I always seem to find the behind the scene, tucked away treasures. When I was leaving the Manatee Fest, I went to see 1st National Bank's gallery space. They have a beautiful gallery where they feature ongoing shows every month. At the end of the gallery, I discovered the amazing work of Maria Ramona Sanchez. She has a beautiful style working in oils on paper. My photograph does not show all the detail she puts into her work. She paints and then paint on top of the same area. After which, she then scrapes away the top layer of paint to reveal the painting behind... stunning!
It was a great kick off! Introducing artists to the community is environmental. Purchasing local art is the same as purchasing local food. We have so many fabulous artists right here in Miami. Please support local art events and get to know the artists that make our city what it is!