Another Coral Gables Tax Payer Funded Artist Becomes Political

Ariel Fernandez

Founder & Editor
[email protected]


Last week, the City Commission decided against using tax payer dollars to fund artists Sandra Ramos and Cai Guo-Qiang, who are affiliated with the Cuban and Chinese regimes, respectively.

The next day, the artists behind another City/tax payer funded project took to social media to make another politically charged statement.

Chalk and Brush Design, Co. was hired by the City and the Business Improvement District (BID) to paint four murals throughout Miracle Mile at a cost of $25,000 from the City and $25,000 from the BID.

On Wednesday of last week, Chalk and Brush posted the following message in a story on their Instagram account: “Looking for an exterior wall in Miami (roughly 10×10) to paint a mural for Cuba not affiliated with any right wing businesses, please.”

Gables Insider reached out to Chalk and Brush asking what their company meant by “not affiliated with any right wing businesses?”

They replied, “we did not mean to hurt anyone’s feelings nor do we discriminate against any businesses in our paid projects.”

The organization’s statement on Instagram, which they linked, the matter went further: “Today we shared a story that definitely ruffled some feathers. As a Cuban-raised artist living in Miami, I wanted to paint a mural in support for my people and the artistic movement that started this current uprising. As a leader of a team consisting of members of the LGBTQIA+, Black, Cuban, and Jewish communities, we wanted to make sure this free mural went to a business that supported those ideals. We apologize to anyone whose feelings were hurt by our message and take full responsibility for that. We have always been open about our liberal beliefs, and are proud and happy capitalists who hope to see an end to the Communist dictatorship in Cuba. We believe that love is love, that women deserve access to reliable reproductive health, we believe in science, and that no human (including the many Cuban and Hatian people who may seek asylum after their respective crises) is illegal. While we understand this post will not change any minds, we hope everyone who sent us their thoughts and engaged with our posts has a great rest of their week. We will not be participating in any debate in our comments but welcome your thoughts. Back to art! ❤️C+B”

Since Gables Insider‘s publishing of the article on Ramos and Guo-Qiang, many residents have reached out about their disagreement of using tax payer dollars for public art.

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14 thoughts on “Another Coral Gables Tax Payer Funded Artist Becomes Political

  1. Let it be Mr. Lagos, once you put restrictions on art it ceases to be art and becomes propaganda. You have
    placed the city of Coral Gables into a past that we need to leave behind. A public apology is due to the two artists that were banned from the Illuminate project. I

  2. Suffice it to say that Arts Organizations generally stay out of Politics.

    Individual Artists, Authors, Composers and Lyricists, Musicians, and Film makers have always had a point of view. Free speech comes in so many forms. Let’s not entangle our local politics and politicians with challenges to first amendment rights. We are supposed to be a Nation of people who encourage freedom of expression, with an open arm for the oppressed.
    Let us not encourage our political leaders and their advocates to actually become the oppressors. It’s as if they are abused children becoming the abusers.

    There is room for all in our community. Which is after all composed of refugees of all nationalities, political beliefs, and religions.

    Americans, except Native American Indians, are all refugees! Don’t substitute prejudice, and passion for rational thoughtful opinion.

  3. Miami and Coral Gables seems to be only for the right-wing Cubans indeed. The reason people don’t want to be associated with you is that you discriminate against LGBTQ, black people (remember you disagreed with BLM), and immigrants from other countries (if they’re indios, it’s okay if they’re white). Your love of Republican politics means you also love saying people don’t deserve welfare programs, that black people are welfare queens, and that you shouldn’t be picking up the bill for other people’s bad decisions. But now you want everyone’s sympathy… Hah. People don’t forget so easily. Treat others as you want to be treated.

  4. I think most of these comments appear to miss the point. The issue as I see it is the use of tax money for the art. If a private entity, without any public funds, was funding it, that would not be the concern. But, there is a greater concern, it is a well known fact that both China and Cuba are constantly involved in human rights violations, and that their governments control all financial transactions. Supporting financially these artists would, as a matter of fact, provide what those dictatorial regimes are desperate to get: DOLLARS. Dollars that they use to undermine democracies all over the world!
    Our tax dollars should not help them to continue the abuse of their people, blacks, whites, browns, homosexuals, straight, religious, atheists, ………who clamor to be free!

  5. Rockefeller & other US industrialists hired Marxist Mexican muralists to paint here in the US. I believe some are at one of our prestigious universities.

    They didn’t felel so threatened then. I do understand that the pervs are slowly taking over & drastically changing our society & values. I do feel threatened by the future proposed by the tattooed inmoral younger generation, that believes in handouts.

    Out of curiosity, I googled Sandra Ramos and looked at some of her work to see what it was about, before criticizing/ opposing because of her alleged political ties/ views/ Cuban work permit.

    I saw huge Passports some with images of the Brickell skyline & other images relating to the Cuban diaspora. The diaspora is a result of suffering in Cuba. So her work recognizes this. She is permitted to LIGHTY/ indirectly criticize the regime. However, I also saw images of George Washington & dollar bills. These images somewhat support the Cuban dictatorship’s propaganda.

    But, there are some truths to this propaganda about materialism. It doesn’t provide Happiness! My Cuban cousins drive Mercedes & BMW’s, have huge credit card debts to Capital One & continue to sell their bodies here in Miami to get by as Rent Boys or escorts. In Cuba they are called “pingeros y jineteras”.

  6. While your emails provide welcome information to Coral Gables residents, it is clearly evident that you have a viewpoint on many political issues. That is fine as well but please do not infer that you represent the “residents of Coral Gables”. Many agree and many do not support your positions.
    As to the latest cancel culture of artists that help beautify our City Beautiful and add to our economic growth downtown, will it be “ban books” you don’t agree with next.

  7. The problem is not that “Another Coral Gables Tax Payer Funded Artist Becomes Political”; the problem is Another Coral Gables Tax Payer Funded Artist!!!

  8. In response to the comment below about Lago looking out for himself & friends instead of the taxpayers is accurate and as to the current 5 member CG administration only 1 (Anderson) is left leaning or Democrat the other 4 members are right leaning or Republican. I also believe politicians/senior staff here based on what I have seen could care less about taxpayer funds as long as there used for their self serving interest. Professional liars & hypocrisy are rampant.

  9. At some level, I understand the stand the city took when requesting the organizers of Illuminate to remove the artists from China and Cuba. However, as implied in this article we should not, as a community, request that the city cancels anything based on political beliefs that have divided our nation, state, county, and city. By doing so, we’d be asking the mayor and commissioners to go down the rabbit hole of the never-ending “cancel culture.” That donut shop supports Gimenez, let’s cancel it; that bakery sells/doesn’t sell cakes to gay couples, let’s cancel it; that pharmacy sells/doesn’t sell birth control pills to women, let’s cancel them, etc., etc. As a city, they should not make decisions based on beliefs that belong to either half (left or right) of the citizenry. After all, they represent us all. After reading this article, I am left wondering if Gables Insider would have written it if the artists in question said they did not want to paint the mural in a wall of a business affiliated with any left-wing agenda—hmm, should I cancel Gables Insider? 😉

  10. Why are you trying to cancel them? they can choose who they give their art to. This is a non-story. Leave them alone.

  11. Does the city of Coral Gables simply belong to Mayor Lago and his supporters or to all residents of Coral Gables? In a democracy, a political representative– once elected– is supposed to represent all the residents. Knowing this, we all should be reminded that the city of Coral Gables includes residents with many various political beliefs across the Left and Right. Thus, this act of censoring art does not reflect our entire community’s values. Even more, in a democracy, freedom of thought– freedom of the press, of art, of knowledge– should be absolutely cherished. Without it, we turn into a totalitarian regime. So I ask again: Is the city of Coral Gables simply here to represent the interests and views of Lago and his supporters, or actually here to represent our community as a whole and in defending cherished democratic ideals such as freedom of thought?

  12. What did these people do that is wrong? This business seem to have a point of view, and they wanted to express it via pro bono art in partnership with other sympathetic businesses. What is more, their explanation (however unnecessary) seems like one of love and respect. In response, this newsletter seems to want to “cancel” them, because they used the phrase “right wing.” Seeing cancel culture take over local government is very disappointing; and why is it being led by this newsletter? Those who purport to be in the news business ought to lead in the protection of freedom of thought. Does this newsletter receive public funds? Should any such funds be reviewed now that it has become obsessed with cancel culture?

  13. Politically charged is a bit of a stretch. Why push outrage, Gables Insider. A bit disappointed to be honest. They’re a private business and if for their next mural they want to paint it somewhere not associated with any right wing business they can do so. Their Coral Gables murals and locations are not political in any way and so to try to stoke anger after that fact feels disingenuous.

  14. I do not buy this ridiculous excuse. Any agreement or contract with this people should be reviewed and cancelled. Most definitely I opose that any of my tax dollars are used to pay for any work they do. See if they paint the mural for any left wing interests and wait to get paid never.

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