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Sometimes art is more than just a pretty picture, or a sculpture, or a song. It’s also about making a positive change in the community. That’s the reason Vice Mayor Stephen R. Shelley is featuring Suzanne Moe and Marcela Noriega in his Artist in the Spotlight program. Suzanne and Marcela (also known as "SUMA") have a mutual passion for creating community projects that address important issues while connecting people through the Arts.
Concerned about heat-related illness among local agricultural workers, SUMA decided to help by initiating a community-involved project called COOL TIES: reusable cotton bandana/ties filled with special polymer crystals that get cool when soaked in water. When tied around the neck, covering the carotid arteries, COOL TIES serve as a cooling system for the major vascular network. They can help prevent heat stroke and exhaustion. Fabric designs for the COOL TIES are created at collaborative ink drawing events - where participants are all welcomed to gather together to connect, have fun, and actually draw the designs side by side!
Vice Mayor Shelley thinks highly of the project, “It’s always great when art serves a greater purpose: to bring the community together and help those who need it most. I’m very proud to feature COOL TIES and their noble mission as a Homestead based initiative.”
Suzanne and Marcela have pledged to donate seven thousand COOL TIES (to begin with) to regional farm and nursery workers. They are also accepting tax deductible donations to help fund their plan: to replicate this project in agricultural communities across the state and beyond.
The Artist in the Spotlight program, which was created in 2010 by Vice Mayor Shelley, seeks to identify, nurture and empower local artists by giving them the opportunity to present their work to the general public. SUMA’s work will be on display through the end of April at the William F. Dickinson Community Center at 1601 N. Krome Avenue and the Historic Homestead Town Hall Museum, 41 N. Krome Avenue, Homestead, FL.
To learn more about SUMA and COOL TIES, how to donate or how to participate in one of the Community Ink Drawings, visit their websites: www.communityartcoolties.com & www.sumaworks.com