Discover · Inspire · Create

By Louise Irvine

It was “all hands on deck” for Museum Day at WMODA to highlight the measures needed to save the coral reefs in Florida. Visitors of all ages joined in the project to create a coral reef in clay. The collaborators learned about hand-building, press molding, and wheel-throwing from Mirela Popovici and then contributed their own clay “masterpieces” to the community sculpture including starfish, sea horses, and shells. 

While experimenting with new ceramic techniques, visitors watched the video by the Ocean Rescue Alliance showing how they are putting the ‘art’ in artificial reefs in association with the 1000 Mermaids Project and Reef Cells. At the end of June, the City of Hollywood will be deploying an artificial reef complete with mermaid sculptures and modules to encourage coral re-growth in Florida. 

Mirela Popovici is passionate about the environment and sharing her love of clay which she finds very therapeutic. Guests young and old lined up to take a spin on the potter’s wheel guided by Mirela. Dania Beach City Commissioner, Joyce Davis, joined in the fun and press-molded some additions to the coral reef project.

Working with Mirela at WMODA was Liza Marie Guillen who makes ceramic art inspired by the ocean. She spent hours embellishing one of Mirela’s wheel thrown reef shapes with intricate patterns of corals. Liza decorates her planters with textures and colors inspired by the waves, clouds, and sunsets which she photographs. 

Mirela has taken the community sculpture to her studio to dry, glaze, and fire. If all goes well, we will show the coral reef at WMODA in honor of World Ocean Day on June 8 to draw attention to our critically endangered reefs. In the meantime, guests can enjoy the latest Coral Caves installation by glass artist, Josh Fradis, featuring a shell collecting octopus. Josh could not attend the Museum Day event but he sent a video of himself blowing the glass components. 

Local potter, Alex Meiklejohn, demonstrated his technique for wheel-throwing miniature ceramics and visitors were captivated by his tiny tropical fish which he makes in a wide range of colors. Business was brisk in the WMODA shop. Also selling well were Anne Orvieto’s Sunflowers for Solidarity glass panels. Anne is donating the proceeds from her sales of these works to raise money for the Ukraine. Anne is a very talented fused glass artists who makes exquisite gardens of glass which are currently on display in our Artists Showcase exhibit. 

A highlight of the Arts Discovery day in Dania Beach was the official opening of Gasper Arts Center, a few blocks away from WMODA. Guests at the ribbon cutting by City Commissioners and officers were very impressed with the new studio facilities and abundance of potter’s wheels for classes. Now there are even more opportunities in Dania Beach to “Discover · Inspire · Create.”  Gasperarts


Read more about Anne Orvieto’s sunflowers 

Read more about Josh Fradis

Read more about Gasper Art Cente

Watch the video about ORA and 1000 Mermaids Project