Michelangelo would be proud. A bright, huge mural connecting several buildings on the campus of Sunshine Cathedral was dedicated on May 7.
“We wanted to say something about who we are. We have signs and the steeple. But this really says us,” Sunshine Senior Minister Rev. Dr. Durrell Watkins said.
The church resides in a southwest Fort Lauderdale neighborhood and has long been a spiritual touchstone for the LGBT community. Now it’s a living, breathing art installation. They came up with the idea to make the bare white buildings not only eye-catching but engaging. They reached out to local creative genius Topp Artist (AKA Trey Opp, who created his professional moniker by combining the first letter of his first name with his last name and profession).
“We said to him, ‘Blank canvas, do what you want,’” Watkins said.
“I did a proposal and put the whole idea together and it turned into what it turned into,” Topp Artist said. “The rainbow represents the sun’s rays for the sunshine state, wrapping around the building. It turns into flamingos and palm trees in geometric shapes.”
At some points, the rainbow colors diverge but always come back together, representing how people go their own way in life but are still tied to the people and institutions that are important to them.
In addition to the rainbow, there are symbols that are uniquely Florida, but you have to look for them. Watkins is delighted.
“They included Florida flora and fauna. So you see the birds and flowers and reptiles. They put that in but funky pixelated.”
Topp Artist said a lot of thought went into every square inch of the mural.
“The rainbow represents the sun’s rays for the sunshine state, wrapping around the building. It turns into flamingos and palm trees in geometric shapes.”
Church board member Penny Sanfilippo said it gives a new vibe to a part of the church that needed it.
“You had a dead space that you passed through. Now you want to come through to see. You can’t help but be uplifted by the colors, the motion, things that are going on here.”