A Case for Art

Communities are thriving thanks to art in public places

Maxence Doytier in front of Steven Teller’s Deluge of Abundance mural
Maxence Doytier in front of Steven Teller’s Deluge of Abundance mural.

Just about every city these days is anchored by art. These creative touches are defining neighborhoods, creating a sense of community, and providing a return on investment for area businesses. Public art adds to what Maxence Doytier calls the “artification” of a neighborhood—building a more memorable experiential design that heightens interest, inspiration, and creativity. 

Doytier is the creative director and art curator behind Twenty6North Productions, a multidisciplinary artist collective, art consultation agency, and event production company in Fort Lauderdale that offers services such as art advisory and consultation, mural design, and more. He’s a driving force behind (and an advocate for) public art in South Florida and beyond. 

Captain Casual works on his City of Plantation commission
Captain Casual works on his City of Plantation commission.

A recent example is the Steven Teller mural Deluge of Abundance. Doytier worked with The Las Olas Group and Business for the Arts of Broward and commissioned Teller to paint a mural on the west exterior wall of the Hoffman’s Chocolate store. Teller used an eco-friendly, air-purifying paint to further emphasize the mural’s message of environmental consciousness.

What’s even more outstanding is how rapidly these transformations are happening. Just ask Jaime Sturgis, the CEO and founder of Native Realty, a real estate agency that focuses on the urban core and emerging neighborhoods throughout South Florida. He commissioned muralist Nice ‘n Easy to beautify his offices’ exteriors with brushstrokes of color. 

“What we are best known for, and what is most exciting to us, [are] our placemaking efforts in emerging neighborhoods and helping put them on the map,” shares Sturgis. He’s helped to transform neighborhoods including Flagler Village, Progresso Village, and Sistrunk, to name a few. “We have a passion for these neighborhoods as they harness the culture and soul of a city,” he adds. “This is where you find the independent and local concepts, creators, and businesses that make that city truly unique.” 

The Native Realty offices in Fort Lauderdale
The Native Realty offices in Fort Lauderdale.

Works by talented artists have mushroomed throughout Broward. “Public art and [murals] brighten up the area,” says artist Captain Casual, whose murals can be found across the country. “It gives people something to visually enjoy that they’re not used to seeing otherwise.” 

Twenty6North Productions commissioned him to paint a mural at the Plantation Community Center tennis court, which he completed in January. It showcases his interpretation of a more inclusive American flag. 

“[It] was cool to paint something that people are using and will be an integral part of the community,” Captain Casual says. “Whether it’s teenagers going to take photos in front of it, girls doing TikTok videos in front of it, families playing tennis [by] it, or even just kids thinking it’s cool and being encouraged by seeing color in the wild, that’s what it’s all about for me.” 

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