Broward County’s Public Art & Design Program in partnership with Port Everglades unveiled a transformative three-dimensional mural by artist Manuel Di Rita, aka Peeta, at the Port’s recently completed 1,800-vehicle Heron Garage serving cruise terminals 2 and 4, according to a press release.
Executed in the Italian artist’s illusionistic style, the 70-foot-tall native Florida Great White Heron features colors, shapes, and images reflecting South Florida’s natural environment.
The Heron mural abstractly depicts an elegant avian regally silhouetted against the sky in vivid and subtle shades of whites, blues, greens, complemented by a striking orange accent. Heron was welcomed at a ribbon-cutting celebration on February 24 hosted by the Cultural Division and headlined by Broward County Mayor Michael Udine, Commissioner Beam Furr, Port Director Jonathan Daniels, Visit Lauderdale Executive Vice President Anthony Cordo, and other dignitaries, artists, and arts enthusiasts.
The Cultural Division’s Public Art & Design Program selected this site for its visibility and for wayfinding purposes. Cultural Division Director Phil Dunlap opened the unveiling by observing that “the artist succeeded in creating a unique and exciting mural, which is also a memorable environmental marker for the Port.”
Mayor Udine noted that “the 3D wildlife impression was reminiscent of Everglades foliage and beautiful waters. When Port Everglades visitors see this iconic mural, they will know that they are on their way to an amazing tropical vacation.”
Peeta stated that his intent was to use this artwork to display the exuberant spirit and creative diversity of public art in the Port. Port Everglades Director Jonathan Daniels agreed that the artist had met his goal. “Port art celebrates human relationships with the natural world as part of our commitment to the environment, it is enjoyed here by our cruise visitors, the Port’s workforce, and the local community.” Daniels went on to note that more than 50 visually stimulating public artworks can be found across Port Everglades’ industrial landscape and in Port buildings. Over the past two decades, the Port has invested more than $2 million in public art.
Earlier this season, Peeta shared his expertise during a free master class workshop for 13 local artists held at the new Welcome Center of the Seafarer’s House in Fort Lauderdale in which he demonstrated practical techniques for bringing a mural design to life
Cultural Division Project Manager Dominique Denis remarked that the opportunity helped “nurture local talent, which expands our public art mission by training a new class of emerging artists by a master of the craft.” For the mural and the workshop, Peeta was represented by GNU Urban Design and Ukrainian-born curator Iryna Kanishcheva.