By: Sharon Aron Baron
The City of Coral Springs, in partnership with the City of Parkland, won the 2018 Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Art Challenge.
Coral Springs will receive $1 million for its project “Inspiring Community Healing After Gun Violence: The Power of Art.” The project will use art to bring the community together in collective healing and reflection following the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting last February.
On Tuesday, Bloomberg Philanthropies announced they were one of three finalists chosen after more than 200 cities applied.
Beginning on February 14, 2019 – the first anniversary of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas school shooting, five art installations will be created around gun violence, intending to provide healing for the communities affected. Each one will have extensive input from residents and will be placed throughout the cities. The installations will draw from the Coral Springs Museum of Art’s “Healing with Art,” program, which was established in the aftermath of the school shooting as an immediate response to address trauma experienced by students, teachers, and parents.
Five artists were selected by the community advisory committee including David Best, Kate Gilmore, Carl Juste, Steven and William Ladd, and R&R Studios.
Former Mayor of New York City Michael Bloomberg, founder of the nonprofit and chairman of Everytown for Gun Safety said the project was a powerful example of the ways public art can bring communities together and draw attention to important issues.
“I hope that it will help bring some solace to people who have lost loved ones to gun violence, including all the families in Parkland – and that it will help to prevent further tragedies by inspiring more people to act,” he said.
Last month, Bloomberg visited Coral Springs and told audience members at the gun safety event that he was going to do everything he possibly could do to “make sure that no one else goes through what you did.”
Bloomberg Philanthropies invited mayors of U.S. cities with 30,000 residents or more to submit proposals for temporary public art projects that address important civic issues, and demonstrate an ability to generate public-private collaborations, celebrate creativity and urban identity, and strengthen local economies.
Coral Springs Museum of Art Director Julia Andrews said that the collaborative experience of this public art project seeks to reduce feelings of isolation and build community bonds.
“We hope it will help us heal as a community from this trauma that even nearly a year later is still too raw.”