Who says a canvas has to be stationary? HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention will soon be mobile in South Florida.
On Aug. 31, ArtServe and the Florida Department of Health are presenting Art to End AIDS at The Pride Center at Equality Park where a mural by local artist Georgeta Fondos will debut. The mural isn’t a building or wall. It’s on a semi-trailer.
Local company Cliff Berry, Inc. donated one of their trucks to create a mobile mural. ArtServe President and CEO Jaye Abbate said it was CBI President Cliff Berry II that had the idea to make it mobile.
“Mr. Berry suggested that the FDOH in Broward County could reach more people by allowing the message to come to the people,” said Abbate. “He generously offered to have the truck moved to a neighborhood festival, a school, or another event around the area.”
ArtServe and the FDOH initially announced the project Dec. 1, 2015 — World AIDS Day — and had a call to artists. ArtServe Director of Development David Plath said more than 35 mural concepts were presented and were eventually narrowed down to eight finalists. Last month, Fondos was announced as the winner and immediately began scaling her artwork for the trailer.
Plath said judges looked for how artists effectively used the HIV Ends With Me campaign themes in a creative and original theme. Fondos emerged as the winner.
“What stood out in Georgeta’s image was the positive images of the beach and a rainbow,” Plath said. “It also includes the familiar pillars of entry at Las Olas and A1A which helped to make the work more recognizable and Broward-centric.”
The idea to paint a mural of this magnitude came from EcoMedia — a division of CBS. EcoMedia partners advertisers like FDOH with nonprofits like ArtServe for a multitude of different projects, like community housing, veterans’ recovery programs, healthy meals for seniors and children and mobile health clinics. Theresa Schieber, senior vice president of operations and strategic partner development at EcoMedia, had the idea for a mural that brought FDOH and ArtServe together.
“ArtServe has such a natural set of relationships to help facilitate this project,” she said. “This is our first public mural project in South Florida.”
Even though this is the first one in South Florida, Schieber said other mural projects have been done around the country that are similar. With the addition of the semi, she hopes to replicate the project at some point.
While ArtServe has had large art projects before, Plath notes the magnitude of this one.
“This is a big project because the Florida Department of Health in Broward County has a big vision,” he said. “They are thinking outside of the box to tackle a ‘big’ health issue impacting our community, and the hope is that this initial mural becomes just the first of a broader art and health initiative.”
Kristofer Fegenbush, COO of The Pride Center, says they’ve used art in a variety of ways for HIV prevention outreach and this isn’t the first partnership they’ve had with the FDOH that brought attention to HIV and AIDS.
“In 2014 we collaborated with the Florida Health Department in Broward County on a creative anti-stigma/prevention campaign that ran on the Broward County bus system,” he said. “It was the first time for The Center to see our creation and logo traveling along on the outside of the buses county-wide and in ads and posters around town.”
But this is the first time The Center will be hosting a big event to unveil a public mural project.
“Art can be used as a powerful tool to carry healthy, empowering messages to the communities we serve,” Fegenbush said. “[ArtServe] has done a masterful job leading a community of artists through the project.”
Plath believes the artistic component is a big help to bring awareness to people who may not otherwise have noticed.
“This project is a visual reminder that we CAN stop the spread of HIV, but it means taking personal responsibility and working collectively to accomplish a zero incidence rate of infection,” he said. “It’s a highly creative way of reaching new audiences, appealing to those that might never respond to a PSA or even think they may be at risk.”
If You Go:
Art to End AIDS
Wed., Aug. 31
The Pride Center
2040 N. Dixie Hwy
Wilton Manors, FL 33305
Event is free and open to the public.