Celebrating the Art of Community
By Julie Levin
One hundred years ago, Broward County was a desolate, hard to reach southern frontier, once labeled unfit for human habitation. But a century later, through the hard work of its people and the lure of its sun and sea, Broward County now gives off a much different vibe. Home to more than 1.8 million residents, the County is a vibrant mix of culture, art and diversity.
In order to showcase its 100th anniversary, Broward County is embarking on a yearlong centennial celebration to commemorate its growth by showcasing talent and creativity. Broward 100 -- Celebrating the Art of Community will encompass a countywide series of events and activities that will use art as a rallying point.
"We wanted to develop a plan that taps into and celebrates the talents and creativity we have right here in Broward County, something that uses our artists, our performing arts groups, our businesses, our restaurant and hotel industry."
Director, Broward Cultural Division
"It is a fantastic celebration that will commemorate all of the County's culture, history, heritage and beauty," says Earl Bosworth, director for the Broward Cultural Division. "It will also continue to encourage new connections and enhance the diversity of Broward County."
Broward 100 is a combined effort of the Broward Cultural Division and the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau, which formed a first-of-its-kind partnership with the Community Foundation of Broward. Thanks to a $400,000 grant from the Foundation, Broward 100 will run from October 2014 through October 2015. It will culminate in a large-scale celebration that is intended to become an annual signature event for Broward County.
The idea for Broward 100 has been in development for two years, since the time that organizers from the Broward Cultural Council, Tourist Development Council and Cultural Tourism Committee collaborated to find a unique way to mark the 100th anniversary. It was determined early in the process that the ongoing celebration should be much more than just a look back. While the observance will be steeped in historical perspective, the focus is setting the stage for the next 100 years and engaging the entire community.
"We wanted to develop a plan that taps into and celebrates the talents and creativity we have right here in Broward County," says Earl Bosworth, director of the Broward Cultural Division, adding it should be "something that uses our artists, our performing arts groups, our businesses, our restaurant and hotel industry."
Organizers want everyone to understand that they are all an integral part of what makes Broward County go and there will be plenty of ways to get involved. "We want to celebrate and commemorate Broward County with bold, innovative art projects and create a beautiful awareness and strengthening of this social bond as we celebrate our community," says Bosworth.
Inside Out Broward
The Inside Out project is coming to Broward County. The photo on the cover eMagazine issue of Cultural Quarterly is a collage of images - taken by photographer Kara Starzyk - to showcase the people who attend various programs at the Miramar Multi-Service Complex, 6700 Miramar Parkway in Miramar. Their message is "Power of the Past, Force of the Future." Images and video may be viewed on the Broward 100 and the Inside Out Project websites.
Created by Parisian street artist JR, who won the TED prize at the TED Conference in 2011, Inside Out is known as the people’s art project because of its bold and exciting format.
Using the expressions of the individuals in photographs, as well as their recorded thoughts, Inside Out Broward creates large-scale "pastings" and a global platform that allows people to share their "untold" stories.
Since 2007, Inside Out has become an international community project. Nearly 200,000 people from more than 112 countries and territories have participated - and Broward County is slated to be the largest installation yet! Residents and visitors alike are encouraged to come and show their faces and become part of Broward’s history by participating in one of the largest grassroots public art projects in the world! Let’s put Broward County on the map and be part of the celebration of our creativity and diversity.
If you would like to organize an Inside Out Broward project in your community, please visit the Broward 100 website to learn how to get started.
To help boost community participation, organizers have developed a creative blend of visual, performance and interactive artworks framed by four cornerstones that will help showcase Broward County.
The first cornerstone is VisualEyes, a visual arts plan to create a series of new public artworks that will pay tribute to Broward's past, present and future. Placed strategically throughout the County, the permanent and semi-permanent artwork will be in the form of sculptures, murals, performances and more. Organizers recently announced a call to artists who are interested in creating works that support the theme of connectivity and broad-based engagement. "Everyone can be involved in how they can display their art in their area," says Bosworth. Another aspect of the visual arts plan is encouraging galleries and museums to find ways to showcase local artists.
The second cornerstone is Calendar 100 an all-encompassing listing of the happenings taking place during the Centennial year. Event organizers throughout the County will be encouraged to include their current annual events in an official celebration of Broward 100. "Any group that wants to be an official event and tell their story about why they are important to Broward County can be a part of this calendar," notes Jody Leshinsky, assistant director for Broward Cultural Division. The event will also be linked to Broward's ArtsCalendar.com, as well as all other Broward 100 initiatives.
The third cornerstone --Inside Out Broward-- will associate the County with the world's largest participatory art project. In cooperation with Parisian artist JR, Broward 100 will become one of the largest expressions of the worldwide visual arts display. Inside Out is a global platform that encourages communities to reflect their diversity in large-scale portraits that are exhibited in public forums. "The premise of Inside Out is the idea of people being able to express their feelings related to issues that are important to them and then create a visual of those people in a digital space to share what their message is," says Daniel Fenton with the Strategic Advisory Group, a part of the Broward 100 team.
More than 120,000 people from more than 112 countries have already participated in Inside Out. Fenton believes Broward's Inside Out project will be one of the most comprehensive approaches to date, designed to reach into every area of the County in order to get groups together speaking about issues that are important to them. "We really hope to reach a lot of people both directly through participation and indirectly through people reading and seeing what the message is," Fenton said.
At the end of the celebration, organizers will pull everything together with its fourth cornerstone-- a huge culminating event on October 2-4, 2015, that is expected to bring thousands of people together in a celebration of art, culture and community. The event will include a series of performances designed by a group of Broward's best creative minds. Using live performances, simulcasts and possibly even satellite performances, Broward 100 will also create a virtual platform for fringe events - events that take place simultaneously through the County -- to grow and further contribute to the celebration.
"The culminating event will be a great way to highlight and showcase what we've done throughout the year," Bosworth says. "It's something that not only celebrates the centennial but hopefully becomes the launch pad for an ongoing signature event that ultimately will also have a cultural tourism impact."
Organizers are optimistic that potential visitors from around the world will take notice. Tourism officials are certain Broward 100 will be a boon for their industry, which brought in 13.1 million visitors last year, according to Nicki E. Grossman, president of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau. Grossman says events like Broward 100 play an important role in providing a diversity of amenities for visitors. "We don't have a major gated attraction here [like Disneyworld or Universal Studios]. We have the beach and the Everglades, so we have to continue to elevate the destination from one end of town to another," Grossman says.
Grossman says the CVB is already working with a national public relations agency to build hype surrounding Broward 100 and also with hoteliers to create hotel packages tied to some of the events. She says the celebration demonstrates the areas' vibrancy. "The best thing about it is that Broward continues to progress, develop and evolve. There are a lot of communities that have reached 100 and have begun a different type of progress or slowed down. But not this County," she states emphatically. "Broward County is walking into the light and continues to evolve into a better place to live and a better place to visit."
For more information on how to participate visit the Broward 100 website.
Use the hastag #Broward100 in your social media posts.