Standing at nearly 14 feet tall and covered with 6,500 pieces of bright blue glass, a new Instagrammable moment has made its way to the Island City.
Hunt Slonem’s “Thunderbunny” is on loan from the artist by way of the New River Fine Art in Fort Lauderdale and will reside at Justin Flippen Park for the next year.
“This sculpture, born from an early mosaic piece I created for a West Palm Beach building, has been years in the making, with its Floridian origins lending it a profound connection,” Slonem said in a statement. “I'm thrilled by the perfect fit my work finds in Florida, and the sheer ecstasy I feel knowing it will grace Wilton Manors in monumental scale.”
Lisa Burgess, president and founder of New River Fine Art, explained that “Thunderbunny” first made its way down to South Florida for the Palm Beach Modern + Contemporary art fair in 2022. When she discovered that it wasn’t immediately needed by the artist until Spring 2024, she asked Slonem if he would agree to loan it to Wilton Manors. The world renowned artist enthusiastically agreed, and after the OK from the Wilton Manors City Commission, New River Fine Art and Art Gallery 21 helped put up funds to support the display.
“I was very excited because I couldn’t think of a better place for it to go,” Burgess said.
She explained that the main thoroughfare at Five Points would give “Thunderbunny” great visibility, and she was also impressed with the city’s efforts to expand its public art. Around town, one can partake in the Sculpture Walk, including melting popsicles, oversized orange slices, candy hearts, and countless other pieces to enjoy.
Slonem is an American artist known for his paintings of butterflies, bunnies and tropical birds; his work has been on display in more than 250 museum exhibitions as well as 60 permanent collections, including the lauded Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
“I just smile every time I look at it,” Burgess said of Thunderbunny. “We want it to bring culture, happiness and joy to anybody who sees it. That’s one of the purposes of public art.”
And with a concrete pad now in place at the park, she hopes it opens opportunities for more public art to be on display there.
An official unveiling ceremony for “Thunderbunny” is planned for the future; a date has not yet been announced. In the meantime, visitors are encouraged to take a photo with “Thunderbunny” and include the hashtag #thunderbunnyWiltonManors when sharing on social media.