Best Public Works Project - 2009
Coppertone sunscreen's advertising was probably responsible for more tourism in Miami than the sun itself, so it's only fitting that the company's iconic sign is back in public view. You know the one: the little dog pulling the bathing suit off the girl. Somehow that strange combination of innocence, fun, and naughtiness became emblematic of Miami itself, and seems about as inseparable from our identity as the Citgo sign is with Boston. How such fantastic pictorial mythology got stuck in a warehouse for so long is a mystery to us, but thank god for Antolin Carbonell, an Upper Eastside tour guide and historian, who spearheaded the effort to find the sign a new home in the MiMo district. You can find the Coppertone girl (modeled after the granddaughter of company founder Charles E. Clowe), locked in her Sisyphean battle to keep her trunks up, on the north-facing wall at 7300 Biscayne Blvd., just two giant toddler steps from the Vagabond Motel, whose original sign was also made by the Tropicalites company. She must feel right at home.