see more
  • Share
By: Gino R. Campodónico

He has curated internationally recognized exhibitions around the world. Now, Lance M. Fung brings his unique sensibility and cutting-edge approach to Greater Miami with Illuminate Coral Gables, a free month-long experiential exhibition that will turn the city’s streets, historic buildings, and public spaces into a brilliant outdoor museum.

Lance M. Fung
Lance M. Fung, Illuminate mastermind and chief curator.

As one of Greater Miami’s oldest neighborhoods, Coral Gables is getting a glow up, literally. Known as “The City Beautiful,” Coral Gables is launching Illuminate Coral Gables (ICG) on February 12, 2021. This free month-long experiential exhibition will turn the city’s streets, historic buildings, and public spaces into a brilliant outdoor museum. The mastermind and chief curator behind the project is Lance M. Fung, the chief curator for Fung Collaboratives, an organization that conceives and realizes art exhibitions around the world, and its non-profit partner FC Projects. Fung has been curating impressive large-scale public art exhibitions worldwide in places such as Venice, Egypt, and South Korea for decades, and ICG is his first major work in Miami.

A proud, out gay man, Fung is passionate about supporting minority artists who identify as LGBTQ+. He frequently works on projects with his husband, John Talley, who serves as project director for ICG. “I just do what I do and am proud of who I am as a person and arts facilitator,” says Fung. “It’s very important to me personally because I feel creatives from the LGBTQ+ and BIPOC communities have a unique insight into unique life experiences and ways to interpret and represent them. Going beyond LGBTQ+, gender equity and diversity are paramount to creating an exciting and meaningful exhibition for me. I know I have a responsibility, especially with a personal understanding to show all sides of a curatorial premise.”

Illuminate on Coral Gables City Hall
Coral Gables City Hall - one of many Illuminate exhibits.

Downtown Coral Gables will serve as a three-dimensional canvas with newly commissioned and existing works by world-renowned local, national, and international artists including Carlos Estévez, Ruben Millares, Antonia Wright, Jonathan Perez, Sandra Ramos, and more. Curated by Fung, alongside Catherine Cathers, Jennifer Easton and Rosie Gordon Wallace, the exhibition features eight projects incorporating video projections, sculptures and art installations. Fung describes the exhibition as “a relevant, thought-provoking, personal and universal exhibition utilizing light and technology as its primary artistic materials.”

The eight amazing artworks were created by 16 artists, many of whom hail from Miami. Six of the pieces are new site-specific commissions. “It’s been thrilling to research, meet, bond, and discover the regional talent and then marry them with some of the other artists that I have known through lifelong collected experiences and friendships,” Fung says. One highlight of the ICG experience is Kiki Smith’s site-inspired installation, “Blue Night,” which consists of more than 42 animal constellations filling the center section of Coral Gables’ popular Giralda Plaza. Throughout the day and night, this installation embraces technology through an augmented reality feature, enhancing the experience for visitors. Another highlight is “90 Miles: De-construction, 2021” by Miami’s Sandra Ramos, on display at the Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables. The 32-foot walkway consists of 12 light boxes in the shape of a symbolic bridge between Miami and Havana, Cuba. “I want all to discover, be amazed and ponder each site-specific commission while viewing the free exhibition by day, night, both, and thereafter,” says Fung. His hope is that ICG inspires young people to “use their voice and talent to be heard and make a difference.”

Family enjoying Illuminate in Coral Gables
Family enjoying festivities during Illuminate in Coral Gables.

For those visiting ICG, Coral Gables offers more than just the exhibition. “The unique architecture and city planning is perfect for a self-guided tour by foot, bike or car,” says Fung. Extend your experience and visit some of Coral Gables’ beloved restaurants, which are among Fung’s favorites in Greater Miami. “I look forward to visiting the historic and special Biltmore Hotel and the inventive and tasty Bachour restaurant each and every trip we take. Any restaurant or bar at the Biltmore Hotel will be delightful. Simply any dessert at Bachour is a must. I honestly have never seen such beautiful pastries that taste as good!”

ICG is poised to further Miami’s position as an international beacon of art, with Fung and his team playing a critical role in shining a spotlight and pushing the boundaries of relevant and thought-provoking works. “Although I’m terrified to be working in such an art savvy community as Miami, I am thrilled to bring my quirky vision to town,” Fung says. When in town and not busy working on the exhibition, Fung enjoys visiting Mr. C Miami in Coconut Grove for its “architecture, interior design, service and menu,” and shopping in the posh Miami Design District. He also enjoys visiting the destination’s many museums and, of course, taking in the sun with his husband on one of Greater Miami’s many famed beaches.

Unveiling on February 12, 2021, Illuminate Coral Gables brings stunning interactive art, video projections, and light sculptures to the streets of Coral Gables. Art installations can be enjoyed 24/7 through March 13, 2021. The free Illuminate experience will be on view Wednesday through Sunday from 6 to 10 p.m. through March 13, 2021. The experience will also be available on Monday, February 15 in celebration of President's Day Weekend.