Cadence Landscape Architecture & The Mockingbird Trail

Main Course, 12' x 82'

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Cadence, a highly talented Landscape Architecture firm, first reached out to our team in 2016. We discussed big opportunities to work together, but none was as ambitious and exciting as The Mockingbird Trail. 

Inspired by a beautiful myth about Florida's state-bird, The Mockingbird Trail is Fort Lauderdale's first urban art trail. Situated in a neighborhood saturated with wide roads, fast cars, few shady areas, and many industrial warehouses, the Trail is an effort to use nature and art to make an entire community livable for all.

After months of back-and-forth, we received word that The Community Foundation of Broward provided major funding to support the Trail's first mural installation. 

The Cadence team selected The Lighthouse of Broward as their main partner organization for this particular project. The Lighthouse, which is a community center for individuals who are blind and visually impaired, is a staple institution in Fort Lauderdale with a large building located right along the The Mockingbird Trail's path.

As the Trail's art production team, our job was to produce a community-led mural painting experience that directly involved The Lighthouses' blind and visually impaired members in the art making process. Inspired by the question, 'How does a person who is blind or visually impaired experience an art district?', we set out to deliver on this mission.

The Unconventional Group team secured permission to paint on a busy intersection in Fort Lauderdale, selected Ernesto Maranje as the lead artist for the project, and designed a comprehensive multi-sensory mural for the location.

Together with Cadence, our team organized a large public event that welcomed over 200 participants (including blind and visually impaired individuals) to paint Ernesto's beautiful mural. When the painting process was complete, the Cadence team installed motion-sensors on the wall so that each time someone interacts with the mural they will be immersed in smells of citrus and native trees, and will hear sounds of birds singing and humming as if they are in a forest. Lastly, the team fabricated and installed textured surfaces in targeted areas of the mural. Now, each time an individual passes the mural they can interact with the artwork regardless of their sensory capacities.

This incomparable installation has drawn enormous praise from press, the community and local government officials. Many professionals were required to make this installation possible. We are forever grateful to them all.