NWSA Visual Arts alumni design artwork for MSC Cruises to inaugurate the revolutionary MSC Seaside sailing from Miami

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MSC press release picture.MIAMI – Three New World School of the Arts visual arts college alumni artists have been commissioned by MSC Cruises to design and create artwork for an MSC (Mediterranean Shipping Company) shipping container. MSC Cruises will weave this collaboration into a series of showcase events as they prepare to launch their new revolutionary vessel, MSC Seaside, from PortMiami next month. Led by NWSA faculty member Aramis O'Reilly, the artists who designed and will carry out the artistic execution of the container are New World School of the Arts alumnae Michelle Vasquez, Cindy Becerra, and Rachel Lee. The team, who will paint three sides of the MSC container, aim to complete the work in just four days beginning the week of Thanksgiving.
In celebration of MSC Cruises’ new product launch in Miami, the cruise line will showcase the finalized work of art container in Wynwood on December 5, 2017 in an art installation pre-event titled “Art of the Party,” during Art Basel Miami Beach.
The art-transformed shipping container will again be on display on December 21 during the “MSC Seaside Naming Ceremony” at PortMiami.
The three artists, Professor O’Reilly, and NWSA Dean of Visual Arts Maggy Cuesta have been invited by MSC Cruises to partake in both events. In addition, New World School of the Arts Jazz Combo One led by NWSA music faculty member Jim Gasior, will be offering a performance during the celebration at the PortMiami.
“VIVA Creative, a creative firm representing the cruise line, first contacted us last month to explore the possibility of having our visual artists engage in this project,” explained Maggy Cuesta. “I was thrilled and immediately reached out to a number of potential students who I knew would not only be interested in the project, but could create the type of design in which MSC Cruises might be interested. After meeting with several artists and exploring their concepts and interpretation of the commission, O'Reilly and myself evaluated their proposals and finally selected a group of three female artists.”
“It is important for these young artists to experience real-life professional business scenarios early on in their careers,” said dean Cuesta. “Adhering to deadlines, understanding client input and direction, and being cognizant of expectations while setting realistic goals are all important attributes as they transition from a learning-based environment to a professional and often demanding setting. New World School of the Arts’ rigorous curriculum and training in their respective visual arts fields has prepared these three artists for this type of work, and this commission will allow them to reap the benefits of their arts education."
Aramis O'Reilly, faculty member leading the container project at NWSA highlighted, “Conceptually, the container symbolizes the global link of societies and people. Travel brings us all closer together and we find through engaging the world that we are more similar than we are different. The image of MSC Seaside ship on the container was conceived with the mindset that this engagement with the world is always energetic, hopeful and adventurous.”
“As far as the technique and process of creating the work, it entails a sequential layering of events,” explained O'Reilly. “First a team lays out a basic contour drawing whose shapes are then filled in with spray paint. Then blocking in the general shapes of color, the team goes back and adds a layer of detail. Another layer of spray is then added followed by more details. This back and forth process creates an image both rich in a history of paint applications and serves as a record of a true cooperative process.”
Although Michelle Vasquez graduated from New World School of the Arts almost a decade ago, she continually returns to New World School of the Arts to participate in events and give back to her community while collaborating and mentoring younger peers. Most recently, Vasquez, Becerra, and Lee participated in the NWSA Alumni Art Auction @ Faena Forum by donating their artwork to NWSA as part of the school’s fundraising initiative to secure funds for Artseen, the off-site visual arts studios located in downtown Miami.
About the Artists
Taking the lead in the project is Michelle Vasquez, who graduated from NWSA with a BFA in 2008. Along with her husband (also an alum from NWSA), Michelle started a collective called Yuhmi in the summer of 2009, which over the years evolved into a collaborative unified vision, exploring subjects of human ecology through paintings, drawing and design. Their work has been part of various installations and exhibitions throughout Florida, New York, San Francisco, Washington D.C., Montreal, and Toronto. Yuhmi participated in Miami for the 16th Edition of SCOPE; Cuba Skate; Street Art for Mankind/Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation; Dade County Bar Assn.; Y.L.S.; Urban Blue Project; and the Jason Taylor Foundation. They have created murals for clients such as Ford Motors/Warriors in Pink, Vitalidad Blue Odyssey for Glade; The Kimpton Group/Epic Hotel; Sagamore Hotel; Stanton Marriott; and Whole Foods – as well as events, festivals and mural projects in Miami with Wynwood Life; Carol City Middle School; Little Haiti Mural Project; Beck’s Urban Canvas; and the Downtown Hollywood Project.
“This project has afforded us the opportunity to work on an object that otherwise we would not have thought of painting,” said Cindy Becerra. “It’s exciting because of its large scale and unique surface. I am fortunate to work with wonderful and creative people in the making of this mural.”
With a BFA degree from NWSA, Cindy Becerra’s works are a product of erratic gestures that intuitively exist within whimsical spaces. She investigates the connection between physical and spiritual realms through drawing and painting. Her work has been shown at the Cisneros Fontanals Foundation (CIFO); Miami Biennale; and the Art and Culture Center of Hollywood. Becerra was born in Bogotá, Colombia and graduated from New World School of the Arts in 2017 with a major in Painting.
Rachel Lee highlights, “MSC Cruises’ trust in our creative and professional abilities has given us the chance to expand on our artistic knowledge and techniques, and this has added to the productivity of my last semester as a New World School of the Arts student. Working with my peers and professor to produce this mural for MSC Cruises has offered me an opportunity to collaborate, in a different and unique setting, which has allowed me to further explore my problem solving abilities while gaining experience in public art.”
Rachel Lee, also a BFA graduate from the NWSA college class of 2017, focuses on painting with an interest in printmaking and ceramics. Lee is inspired by the DIY work ethic of American punk/alternative rock musicians, 90’s video game graphics, and the Miami suburbs. Her work has been exhibited at the Perez Art Museum Miami Biennale; University of Wisconsin; Cisneros Fontanals Foundation (CIFO); ArtCenter South Florida; and Mindy Solomon Gallery.
Aramis O’Reilly joined Miami Dade College in 1996 as an adjunct professor for the visual arts department at the New World School of the Arts. In 2002, he was hired as an assistant professor and has continued his career as an associate professor senior, teaching all levels of painting and drawing. As a practicing artist, his work has been shown in various national and international exhibitions and is included in numerous private and public collections, i.e., collections of The Cintas Foundation in NYC, The Ralli Museum in Marbella, Spain, President Jean Bertrand Aristide in, Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and the Miami International Airport Art Gallery. Besides his studio work, he has been involved in several large-scale public art projects. In 2012, commissioned by Miami-Dade Art in Public Places, he designed the courtyard floor for the NFL-Youth Education Center and the same year was commissioned by Florida State Art in Public Places to create “Pierina” for Florida International University's School of Nursing and Health Services. Professor O'Reilly received both his BFA and MFA in Painting from Florida International University.
About New World School of the Arts
A Florida center of excellence in the visual and performing arts, NWSA provides a comprehensive program of artistic, creative and academic development through a curriculum that reflects the rich multicultural state of Florida. With programs accredited by the National Association of Schools of Dance, Music, Theater, and Art & Design, NWSA offers four-year BFA and BM college degrees, as well as the high school diploma and the Associates in Arts degrees. Through its rigorous curriculum and conservatory-style teaching NWSA empowers its students to become leaders in the arts.
At New World School of the Arts, visual arts students are able to explore and develop their personal artistic and aesthetic vision while being guided by a dynamic and distinguished faculty who are all practicing artists. Through disciplined training in traditional and new media, students also develop new skills and refine others while gaining invaluable understanding of the roles of art and design in society. Areas of concentration in the Visual Arts program include Drawing, Electronic Media, Graphic Design, Painting, Photography, Printmaking, and Sculpture.
New World School of the Arts was created by the Florida Legislature as a center of excellence in the performing and visual arts. It is an educational partnership of Miami Dade County Public Schools, Miami Dade College and the University of Florida.
Information about New World School of the Arts Visual Arts Program at (305) 237-3620 or (305) 237-3135.
Please visit the New World School of the Arts website at http://nwsa.mdc.edu/
About MSC Seaside
MSC Seaside, MSC Cruises’ newest flagship, is the company’s 14th addition to the MSC Cruises fleet, arriving to PortMiami on December 21, 2017. MSC Seaside is a brand new prototype, designed to bring guests closer to the sea and enjoy the outdoors like never before.  The ship boasts generous outdoor public spaces so that guests can make the most of the sunshine, including a waterfront boardwalk with al fresco dining and activities. The ship’s design is truly an industry first and unlike anything else at sea, with a “beach condo” inspired architecture connected by a panoramic glass elevator. Guests can stroll across two glass-floor catwalks offering the illusion of walking on water, or venture to the 131 ft. high ‘Bridge of Sighs’ providing guests with unparalleled ocean views. MSC Seaside will sail 7-night itineraries year round from Miami to stunning eastern and western Caribbean destinations.
About MSC Cruises
MSC Cruises is the world’s largest privately owned cruise company and the number one cruise line in Europe and South America. The Company sails year-round in the Mediterranean and the Caribbean and offers seasonal itineraries in northern Europe, the Atlantic Ocean, Cuba and the French Antilles, South America, southern Africa, and Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sir Bani Yas. The MSC Cruises’ experience embodies the elegant side of the Mediterranean to create unique and unforgettable emotions for guests, through discovery of the world’s cultures, beauties and tastes.
Following a more than 6 billion USD investment endeavor between 2003 and 2013 for the construction of 12 modern cruise ships, MSC Cruises launched in 2014 an industry-unprecedented nearly 10 billion USD investment plan to build another 11 next-generation mega cruise ships, coming into service between 2017 and 2026. The Company is set to nearly triple its capacity by 2026. MSC Cruises vacations are sold across the globe through a significant distribution network in 67 countries. The Company employs over 17,000 people across the globe, both ashore and on board its ships. The MSC Cruises fleet comprises 14 modern ships: MSC Seaside; MSC Meraviglia; MSC Preziosa; MSC Divina; MSC Splendida; MSC Fantasia; MSC Magnifica; MSC Poesia; MSC Orchestra; MSC Musica; MSC Sinfonia; MSC Armonia; MSC Opera and MSC Lirica.
MSC Cruises feels a deep responsibility for the environments in which it operates and was the first company ever to earn the Bureau Veritas "7 Golden Pearls" for superior management and environmental stewardship. In 2009, MSC Cruises began an enduring partnership with UNICEF to support various programs assisting children worldwide. So far, more than $7.5 million has been collected in voluntary guest donations.
More information at http://www.mscpressarea.com/en_US
Photo by NWSA dean of visual arts Maggy Cuesta. NWSA alumnas Rachel Lee and Cindy Becerra.