Artist George Sánchez-Calderón is showing Bal Harbour the critical side of its social history, and the town is taking it with grace like a true dame. They're funding him, as the winner of the town's first public art commission "Unscripted." In front of the mammoth St. Regis, the town's pride and joy, and also one of its newest buildings, he's putting up a large Hollywood-style sign with the name of the historic and legendary hotel that stood there before it, the Americana. Designed by famed architect Morris Lapidus, it was the setting of many important events, and architecturally on par with his Fontainebleau and Eden Roc Hotels, creating a triumvirate of postwar luxury on Miami Beach. The town failed to protect the Americana, and it was demolished in 2006.
Sánchez-Calderón's second piece, a little house that he will build in Bal Harbour's Founder's Circle, refers to the ticky-tack houses of Levittown, of which Bal Harbour draws strong parallels. Although BH was built for the monied, and classy, elite, and Levittown for the middle-class masses, they were the same in many other respects. Both fulfilled a need for new housing in the postwar boom years. Both embodied the suburban ideal, with their master planned, predominantly residential, and segregated (segregated by race, wealth, and "good taste"), identities. And both were built at about the same time, with Bal Harbour incorporating about a year before Levittown.
· Bal Harbour provides South Florida artist with global platform [MAEX]