Staff Report

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – A group of talented young artists and sailors were recently challenged with one directive – work together to imagine the ocean surface as a floor for human movement.

The artists, members of the Street Art Regatta also known as StAR, painted sails of massive human feet. During their pilot launch this past November, their comrades, young sailors, with Optimist Dinghy, the smallest international sailboat racing class, were tasked to physically maneuver the painted sails of feet, creating the illusion that the sailboats were dancing.

Organizer Clare Vickery, founder and director of the Grace Arts Center in South Florida, said the original eight sails will race again on April 29, 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., from the Lauderdale Yacht Club.


Vickery said the inspiration to pair street art with the marine industry came from an original series of sails by the late

Painter Purvis Young in 2006 for the Winterfest Boat Parade, and an American Artist in Italy named Melissa McGill.

“Purvis was not a figurative painter but his abstract images came alive on the water with the wind and lighting at night,” said Vickery.

“For years I had been trying to find the right connection between artists and the marine industry to expand on the awardwinning Young sails for Winterfest. In 2019, I came across the Venetian ‘Red Regatta’ orchestrated by Melissa. Sails of all sizes were painted in many shades of red celebrating the ancient city’s crimson color, legacy of design, innovation, arts and conservation of its history amid the increasing flooding from King Tides.

“StAR was also influenced by memories of festive regatta competition events from my youth where university students from art, design, and engineering schools joined with rowing athletes and the community to decorate boats and race them on the river,” said Vickery.

Artists involved in the StAR program are committed to working in neighborhoods with little access to the arts or sailing opportunities. The first StAR Wall was completed in March 2021 along the historic Sistrunk Boulevard (6th Street) at NW 9th Avenue. Hiero Veiga collaborated with another Artist, Remote, to create a sail for StAR characterized by the singular leg and foot en pointe. Hiero was then commissioned for a mural near the Avenue of the Arts in Fort Lauderdale, 30 days before the official opening of the Street Art Regatta.


The inaugural StAR event is being presented by the Lauderdale Yacht Club, LYC Sailing Foundation, the Broward County Cultural Division, the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs and North Sails.

Registration is required for entry and all guests. “Should rain be forecast, we will contact registrants a day before with instructions, including a rain date,” Vickery said. Vickery said there will also be a live stream option to view the event.

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