By Agrippina Fadel
The Social Justice Wall in Tamarac, currently in the design stage, is promising to be a true conversation starter.
The 86-foot wall, part of the Tamarac Village Park, is currently under construction. The wall compliments the recreation area that includes a new splash pad and amphitheater.
The conceptual drawing is finished and was approved by elected officials on May 10, but the work is far from being done.
Designed and paid for through the public art initiative, the wall includes portraits and quotes from social justice leaders.
According to Michael Parker, the artist behind the project, his role during the process of the selection of social justice heroes was engaging the community and collecting supporting information about life in Tamarac and how the concept of social justice plays a role in the city.
“I met with several groups and individuals in town and heard about real issues that residents are facing. I think it is important to somehow coordinate this information visually with the representations of local and national leaders,” said Parker, adding that he felt it was essential to get input from locals.
The concept includes abolitionist Harriet Tubman, who used the Underground Railroad to rescue dozens of enslaved people; the leader of the civil rights movement, Martin Luther King Jr., presidential advisor, and educator Mary McLeod Bethune, who opened one of the first schools for African American girls in Daytona, Florida; James F. Sistrunk, the first black medical doctor to practice in Broward County; 35th President John F. Kennedy; and Jackie Robinson, the first African American to play in Major League Baseball.
George Gadson, Tamarac’s art consultant, said the ultimate goal of the art wall installation is to pay tribute to individuals whose lives and work were focused on Social Justice Movement, “across the board and no matter the ethnicity.”
“There are not many artists who can deliver and execute a project of this magnitude with techniques that Parker uses. His work in Tampa was exceptional, and it would be wonderful to have his art in Tamarac,” said Gadson.
Parker said there is still “much design work to be done” before a final concept is completed. Once complete, the fabrication and installation could take approximately four months.
While not quite set on the materials yet, Parker said the portraits would most likely be done using aluminum and marine epoxy with supporting imagery of carved concrete and epoxy or tile mosaic.
“Next step for me is to finalize the design with elements that will ensure that the final piece fits within its environment and will represent Tamarac in a respectful way, and offer an opportunity for residents to become more familiar with the idea of social justice and the level of its presence in daily life,” he said.
Parker added that any community must have discussions about social justice issues and identify activists that have impacted the movement, whether they are nationally known or local and largely unrecognized.
“I think art is an effective vehicle to start these conversations,” he added.
The construction of Tamarac Village Park, which will house the Social Justice Wall, is slated for completion by the late summer or fall of 2022.
Part of the development by JKM developers, includes new residential and retail constructions, public areas, and the Town Center located at Commercial Boulevard and NW 94th Avenue.
The art fabrication and design of the Social Justice Wall has a planned completion date fall of 2022.
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- Agrippina Fadel grew up in Siberia and received her master's in journalism from Tyumen State University. Agrippina is also a writer and editor at Draftsy.net. She has been a US resident for over ten years and speaks English and Russian.
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