Florida seems to have more license plate designs per capita than anywhere else. We work hard to compensate for something, like perhaps our crappy drivers, through legions of themed designs. From proclaiming that ‘everyday is a gift’ through hospice care to saving our diverse array of endangered species to asking drivers to share the road, we’ve managed to keep the plate manufacturing entities well-employed. One displaced design that sticks with me is a jarring gash of salmon pastel over dentist office turquoise and blues that dubs Florida the ‘state of the arts’. With artistic laureates like Britto and Jimmy Buffet to represent creative ingenuity and original expression for us, it’s no wonder our ‘state of the arts’ plate looks like an art deco designer exploded upon it. Given our artistic ambitions and, thankfully, growing artistic community, why not incorporate some of that fresh talent into the ‘state’ part of our ‘state of the arts’?
Remember David Byrne of Talking Heads? Despite the fact that he sang at us in the ‘80s a chilling pronouncement that the world was the “same as it ever was”, he has managed to help bring change through the respective worlds of bicycling, art and civic function. Byrne, an artist and a bicycling enthusiast, assisted New York City’s bicycle initiatives through the crafty design of several bicycle racks. Each design is reflective of the style and identity of its neighborhood. His designs, added to a roster created by New York’s artistic community in response to a rack design contest, will have roughly one year on the streets to work as a bicycle rack and art installation project. Check out the finished products -- they’re fantastic!
Miami has certainly tried to work its neighborhood-ly artistic ambitions. We had a small army of faux flamingoes dropped all over Coral Gables for local businesses to decorate. Calle Ocho responded to that with its own collection of roughly six-foot tall roosters, many of which sported savvy costumes and paint jobs. Why can’t we take this creative impetus and striking Miamian desire for form and allow it to follow function?
The Bicycle Action Plan for the City of Miami intends for bicycle accommodation and facilities. Since this includes places to store our rides, why not rub some funk on it? Let’s consider personalizing the lockups around our neighborhoods by challenging local artists to work with the city in conceptualizing, creating and distributing hip forms of commuter accommodation.
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-- Adam Schachner