The stylish destination of Bal Harbour has selected George Sánchez-Calderón to be the winner of its first public art commission, “Unscripted,” coming to fruition this October. Created to support and challenge the artistic talents in South Florida, the “Unscripted” project is the first of an ongoing series of commissions geared toward providing artists with a new platform to create an ambitious project and contribute to the growth of Bal Harbour as a creative destination. Due to the quality and ambition of two of the final proposals submitted this summer, Bal Harbour decided to pursue an additional commission for Spring 2013. Sculptor, installation and video artist Christy Gast will be featured as the second “Unscripted” commissioned artist.
George Sánchez-Calderón’s winning public art project, entitled “Pax Americana,” draws inspiration from Bal Harbour Village’s history, by reflecting upon the iconography that has collectively defined the archetype of “the American Dream.” Positioned in front of the new St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort, where the Americana Hotel previously stood, Sánchez-Calderón will create a six-foot tall, stainless steel letter installation of the word “Americana,” in reference to this historical site. Many important political events and national conventions were held at the notorious hotel designed by Morris Lapidus, which over the years hosted Presidents Kennedy, Nixon, Johnson, Reagan and Clinton—an apt reference leading up to this year’s presidential election.
As his second installation, entitled “Levittown House,” Sánchez-Calderón will build a recreation of a Levittown-style house on Bal Harbour’s Founder circle. Bal Harbour Village was one of the first planned communities in South Florida, as a quiet residential neighborhood with former World War Two army barracks. Bal Harbour was incorporated in 1946, just a year before Levittown, and both communities were developed in response to the United States’ post-war housing needs. For Sánchez-Calderón, the Levittown house symbolizes the prototype of post-war America, which forever changed the American urban and suburban landscape.