20 Year Anniversary

Donation of Hurricane Andrew Mural to FIU

Tuesday, November 26th, 3pm-5pm, at the Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum, FIU Main Campus in Miami, Center for Folk and Community Art (CFCA) and the organization founders, artists Dena Stewart and Stewart Stewart, officially donated their iconic, “Love Can Build Anything” Hurricane Andrew Mural to the International Hurricane Research Center (IHRC) at Florida International University.


in front of muralIn 1993, artists and community activists Dena Stewart and Stewart Stewart were commissioned to create a backdrop for composer, Lanny Smith (Earthman) to introduce his anthem “Love Can Build Anything” for the reopening of the Miami-Dade Zoo. Earthman

Rather than paint a scenic picture themselves, the Stewarts worked with Barbara Phillips and her students, forty-five children (ages 12-14) at Mays Middle School in Goulds, FL. Many of these youngsters experienced the destruction of their homes and were temporarily living in trailers on the school grounds. Under the guidance of the Stewarts, the students first wrote about what they heard, saw and FELT, before, during and immediately after the Hurricane; then they created images to go along with their writings. Together, the Stewarts and the children created, “Love Can Build Anything”, a 48 foot movable mural.


Pres. Clinton in front of muralThe Mural became a symbol of healing and remembrance and was often the centerpiece at the re-opening of churches, temples, shopping malls, as well as at ceremonies relating to the rebuilding process after Hurricane Andrew.

The mural served as a backdrop for a nationally televised Presidential Town Meeting in Homestead, FL on Labor Day, 1993. President Bill Clinton added his support for this project by signing the mural as a personal commitment to volunteerism.

The Mural found a temporary home at the Early Warnings Hurricane Museum in Deerfield Beach until the Museum closed. Thankfully, the Mural was saved from possible destruction by Erik Salna who brought the panels to FIU where he is part of the IHRC team.

Erik tracked down Dena and Stewart to notify them that the Mural was safe with him, as well as Barbara Phillips, the teacher involved and several of the students from her class, now adults in their mid-thirties.

FIU’s International Hurricane Research Center (IHRC)  is an interdisciplinary research center focused on the mitigation of hurricane damage to people, the economy, and the built and natural environments.

Center for Folk and Community Art (CFCA) founded by Dena Stewart and Stewart Stewart use writing and visual art as a tool of intervention, prevention and education to impact community issues and improve the human condition. Inquiries: 305 534 8807


NOTE:  SyndicatedNews.NET’s Publisher/President, Ruthie DiTucci came to Florida International University’s ceremony when the mural was turned over to the Department of Hurricane Studies just to witness the event and she reports that it was absolutely a moving moment.

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