The Coral Gables Museum announced the winners of the contest Capture Coral Gables 2019 during the Awards Ceremony and Opening Reception for the exhibition, “Capture Coral Gables; Fresh Lenses on the City Beautiful,” on Friday, Jan. 18, at the Community Meeting Room.
John R. Allen, executive director of the museum and Yuni Villalonga, the chief curator, addressed a room packed with excited artists and visitors who had been voting for the People’s Choice Award in the spot, during the first hour.
This year, the Grand Prize went to artist James Palma with the photograph Umbrella Sky. In the picture, there is a black silhouette of a hand holding a transparent ball that shows a panoramic view of Giralda Plaza with the recently dismantled, colorful installation of umbrellas of the same title by the Portuguese project Sextafeira Productions. In the background one can see an up-side-down blurry closeup of the umbrellas.
The award in the Nature/Landscape category went to artist Irina Lawton with the piece Granada Magica, a foggy shot of the Granada Golf Course where part of a trunk and a long branch of a Banyan tree serve as a frame for the pastel-color stripes of nature.
Humberto Duarte received the Night Photography Award for the piece De Soto Plaza Tower. The photograph shows the illuminated fountain and the tip of the Biltmore Hotel in the far right against the dark sky and nature. Taken from across the traffic circle where the fountain sits and at a slow speed, the photo is crossed by a stripe of red light from a passing car.
The Street Photography Award was given to Ruben Hernandez with Winds of the Season, the documentation of the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, where a piece of tarp flies off a fence, into the sidewalk.
“I was walking down Ponce de Leon Blvd. when a piece of tarp slapped me in the face; I paused and took this photograph” the artist said.
Celia D. Luna took home the award in the Portraiture category with Coral Gables Woman, a snapshot of a stylish lady passing by the intersection of Ponce de Leon Boulevard and Miracle Mile. Luna achieves a beautiful composition full of repetitions and perspective where her subject is superimposed to the front (or back) of a bus and appears to spearhead its motion.
The Digital Photo Manipulation Award was given to Michael Jimenez for Nickelodeon, a black and white, winterly close up to the marquee and the neon signs of the Miracle Theatre.
“I love the look of this theater and always wondered what going to it would feel like back in time and under the snow,” Jimenez said.
The piece Books on Books in Books & Books by Matthew Kanakis was this year’s People’s Choice Award. In the photograph, a young girl with glasses holds an open book in her arms and looks at the camera. She is sitting on a chair against Books and Books’ shelves. The sepia tones and the old-library feeling of the picture contrast with her up-to-date fashion clothes.
“I captured this photograph of a young Coral Gables resident who grew up coming to Books & Books all the time. She loved the scenery and vintage style aesthetic and we both knew it would be a perfect place to recreate a visual that will evoke feelings of nostalgia,” Kanakis said.
This year’s exhibition marks the beginning of a series of events that the Coral Gables Museum has prepared to celebrate the building’s 80th anniversary. Among them are the art exhibitions and competitions Mutable Permanence and Keystone Art LXXX for which adult and student artists respectively have been asked to create artworks that focus on the building.