During a Special Presentation on January 22nd, Councilwoman Jenifer N. Bailey took time to share two very special highlights related to ArtWalk Homestead Festival of the Arts, which was held on December 8th at Schnebly Winery. Presented by Councilwoman Bailey and the Southwest Advisory Committee (SWAC). ArtWalk is an annual community festival designed to provide families a fun-filled day of interactive art activities, along with showcasing the work of professional and student artists.
Councilwoman Bailey began her presentation by sharing an inspiring quote from Pope Benedict the XVI about the power of art: “Art is capable of expression and of making visible man’s need to go beyond what he sees. It reveals his thirst and his search for the infinite.”
She continued, “Art is not only beneficial for our physical and mental health, but it can inspire a young mind and transform a surrounding. The Southwest Advisory Committee and I have been putting a lot of time into Art in the Park and ArtWalk for all of these reasons. Tonight we want to share two really cool stories with you.”
First, she introduced Ray Payano, Energy Conservation Consultant for Homestead Public Services, who talked about using “Green Education” to transform Homestead by fostering citizens’ awareness of practical environmental stewardship — via their energy consumption and other daily habits and choices. He said, “We’re really trying to build a future that’s healthy and sustainable for our kids to grow up in — I’m pretty sure many of you feel the same way.”
As an example, he explained that 1,000,000 water bottles are used every minute and that only 10 percent are recycled. We said, “Hey, what if we used art to help bring about good conservation practices?” Then, Councilwoman Bailey suggested they develop affordable water-filling stations for ArtWalk and other events.
Payano explained how creative water-filling stations were built for ArtWalk, designed for people to fill their own water bottles instead of purchasing disposable water bottles. Constructed from repurposed wood left over from the construction of the police station and Homestead Station, the filling stations were beautifully painted and inscribed with the words “Refill, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.”
Payano said, “If all of us just take a small step to start educating each other about conservation and do things at home to conserve, I think we’re going to transform the City.” He then invited audience members to applaud Councilwoman Bailey for her efforts to promote conservation in Homestead. (For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 305-224-4738.)
Councilwoman Bailey then introduced Enma Cruz, an ArtWalk artist whose vibrant and colorful paintings of women inspired young artist Gianna Nino during the event. Councilwoman Bailey said, “As the night was winding down, I noticed a young lady (Gianna Nino) with her canvas art. She had attended one of the canvas art classes. She loved one of the pieces in the gallery so much that she took a picture of it, took it to the class and recreated it. She did a phenomenal job.” A photo was shown of Cruz’s original piece with Nino’s interpretation alongside it.
Sharing her passion for being an artist, Cruz said, “Art means everything to me. It’s a way of escaping the world in the most creative way possible.” She said she was thrilled that her work had inspired Nino, adding, “You don’t know who’s looking up to you even when you think what you’re doing is just ‘OK’. Some look up to others, some are inspired by others. All I know is there is something special about us all. Today, I stand here with my body full of joy because I inspired someone to create something that someday might be in an art gallery or museum.” A footnote to the inspiring ArtWalk story is that Cruz plans to give her painting to Nino.