Miami FREEDOM  TOWER  MIAMI 

                        by Ana M Bikic


 

                 MIAMI DADE COLLEGE INHERITS THE NEW WORLD MURAL

                         INSIDE THIS ICONIC  SYMBOL OF FREEDOM

THE TOWER OF DREAMS

 

Freedom Tower Miami Mural Painted
 by:
William Mark Coulthard 

Wade Foy & John Conroy
1988 Miami Artisans
 
 
 
 

                                                               

 

 www.freedomtowermiami.org 

 

 
 
 
 

                                                             

        

          HERE IS A BRIEF DISCRIPTION OF THE MURALS CREATION AND PRESENT CONDITION .

  The Freedom Tower ,Miami, on Biscayne Blvd,on the 2nd Floor main room facing west hangs the 60 ft x 20 ft  

New World Mural.

Painted in 1987 & signed "MiamiArtisans1988".

The Miami Artisans were          Wade Foy, John Conroy 

   & William Coulthard.

 other works include Opa Locka City Chambers,Coconut Grove Play House.

"The New World Mural" of Miami's Freedom Tower can become the symbol within the symbol of our shared heritage. It has been hidden to most people for two decades and many do not know of it's existence within the Tower !

 However those of us that paid our respects to Celia Cruz as she lay ''in state'' at the Tower will remember this mural backdrop behind her coffin.

This reproduction of the original canvas mural from the 1920's has been credited in the Tower of Dreams Documentary for having survived hurricanes,the homeless, graffiti and vandals.

 The Mural 's center group presents Ponce de Leon and the Tequeste Chief back dropped by the new world map and flanked with the symbols of discovery , power, myth and adventure. Galleons rigged for full sail end the corners of a pyramidal layout hidden by the imposing circles of the map background.

The side panels left and right are sepia toned and reaffirm the opposing cultures .The mural is a fantasy celebration of unity and fate. Mermaids, fruit, fantastic sail boats and galleons, conquistadors with musket and native Indians in canoe set the scene for half a millennium ago. (500yrs.)

The mural celebrates the arrival. A probable reason for its original commission when the Tower was Built in 1925.& Lost by the late 1950's.

Miami's  well known architect Mr.Richard Heisenbottle approached the late Wade Foy and his Miami Artisans to recreate this beautiful Spanish revival art work. Originally  the Tower had two murals

but only one was recommissioned for the restoration in the late 8o's.

The color scheme allows the audience to see the large painting as a whole. Cool blues and aqua variations appear lively over the earth tones of the map. A perimeter of Dog teeth pattern in brown and cream enclose the work .

 The only black used is reserved for the most crucial focal points.

Due to the direction and wall position of the Mural fading has not been an issue although surface dust is now clouding the real color balance.

The Miami Artisans were a group of artists who worked for the Coconut Grove Playhouse as scenic painters , working in the summer months on restoration and decorative projects all over South Florida.

The "New World Mural ' was an off season project ,one of many around the city ,including the Arab Script ceiling in the Opa Locka City Hall in 1987. Viscaya and many March of Dimes displays for the Trumps. 

The Miami Artisans were....

Principle Artists

* Wade Foy , Syracuse NY, Fine Arts

and Theatre/Film Studies,Lead Scenic for

 the CGPlayhouse 1985-8 ,MIami Artisans.

* John Conroy Syracuse,NY                 www.twconroy.com

.Antiquity and Restoration Family Business.

Theatre Studies .1982-4,Miami Dezign 1987-8

* William Mark Coulthard,       www.wmarkcoulthard.net

Newcastle UK. Fine Arts ,Edinburgh film and

theatre.1982-5,Asst.scenic artist CGPlayhouse

1986-9 Miami Dezign, Miami Art Works.

Supporting Artists

* Ana Bikic Cordoba,Arg. Fine Arts,           www.anabikic.com

 Graphics and Publishing. Editor of...

 

 

 

 

 

Steve Kolst Berkley California, Props Master Coconut G. Playhouse.?

Ian Richards NY/NY Graphics , Stage Design, Illustration. ?

Installation Crew

Howard Beals

 Busch Gardens TD 1982-4, Miami Design,

1987-95 CG Playhouse Tech Director 1985-7

Cesar Bikic Cordoba,Arg.

Prince Valiant Painting Co. 1988-94

Karen Holmes Syracuse, NY . ?

How ,Where and Why.?

Wade Foy was given the opportunity to bid for this reproduction mural on our behalf on the strength of the work we were putting out at the Playhouse in the Grove and for the City Hall Chambers ceiling we painted in Opa Locka.

We were given the old Colosseum Theatre on 37th Ave ,slated for demolition ,as a studio space.The old movie theatre had been converted into an indoor sports facility . We removed two center walls from the racquet ball courts and kept the same lighting to create a single running wall that could hang the canvas. The canvas was ordered from NY and two lengths were sewn horizontally to give a 60ft x 20ft canvas drop.

The information that was available at that time about the original mural from the 1920's was little more than a handful of zerox copies. We exhausted the possibilities for the interpretation at the City Library and Museums,we conferred over two months and constantly through out the painting stages.

The research provided many controversial and damning histories that seemed at odds with the general design style that the 'zeroxs' indicated. Color and Detail were our widest areas of freedom and the evidence for the eight side pictures was mere shadow and outline to deduce from.

Once backgrounds ,cartooning and boarders were finished ,the canvas was tinted and sealed with the first varnish solutions. It was important to "age" the work to add to the authentic, This seems to have been very successful in fooling people to the extent that the award winning Documentary "House of Freedom,Tower of Dreams" did not credit us at all despite the attention the mural receives in the film.

The painting is clearly signed "Miami Artisans 1988'. in the lower right. Our names were recorded with the city  and mentioned in the papers but this was all pre PC.   {feels like b.c.} We did however submit our group annual work to the Library of Congress in 1989.  NB...Copyright was claimed.

Installation was a group effort of friends and family. The wall was grove horizontally , with the seam buried into this cut we then pasted the canvas , top and bottom halves over two days, further coats of flat varnish were applied a week later.

Miami Dade College inherits this now truly public art work,the mural has proved itself worthy of restoration and although it is a replication of the original 1920's version with contemporary rendering and interpretation it

 has with stood climate and contempt due to its workmanship and beauty.

"The New World Mural" of MIami's Freedom Tower can become the symbol within the symbol of our shared heritage. It has been hidden to most people for two decades,many do not know of it's existence within the Tower.

 When the College is ready to open the doors of the Freedom Tower to the people of South Florida, People will discover a treasure within....

...a symbol of different people who met here many centuries ago,on these shores,making us rediscover our own differences and to remember the places we have come from ourselves.

    The mural provokes us not to let history repeat it's ugliness, the fantasy of the Mermaids remind us that we are who choose destiny,that the "sirens " call to doom is our choice to ignore ,allowing us to enjoy the fruits of all our labors ;plentiful, abundant and diverse.                                 by  Ana Bikic  

        

   about  us ;

Trompushka  Inc.  is a lic. ins. painting contract company bridging the gap between trade and fine art , working in paint and structure we have over twenty years experience working in South Florida.

 Ana Bikic is an International Artist and recently showed at the Books&Books Coral Gables this spring with her IYOR reef paintings and at the annual Riviera Club  Art Show. Editor of the National Artists Registry for the Florence Biennale and author of the ECOSYMBOLISM ART MOVEMENT  2006.

  

                                                                                        www.ecosymbolism.org

    

                                          Ovi Chabad in the Grove.                            

Entrance ,Stairs and

         Ladies Gallery. 2006/7

 

               MIAM DADE COLLEGE INHERITS THE NEW WORLD MURAL

                       INSIDE THIS ICONIC  SYMBOL OF FREEDOM

                                      AND TOWER OF DREAMS