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Fountainhead Arts sets sail with Windstar Cruises

Written By Jonel Juste
January 27, 2023 at 10:30 AM

Onboard mural titled “An Undiscovered Paradise” by Magnus Sodamin, painted on the top deck wall of the Star Pride. Courtesy of Windstar Cruises

Murals are usually found on land. These large-scale art pieces can be seen throughout Miami. However, the sea is also home to murals. The luxury ships Windstar Cruises feature murals that replicate the streets of the Magic City.

Last fall, Miami artists collaborated with Fountainhead Arts to create sea murals for three Windstar Cruises ships: Star Legend, Star Pride, and Star Breeze. Windstar’s Miami office also received a permanent installation.

First, artist Alex Nuñez created her artwork – called “First Light” – on the Star Legend while she was sailing on Portuguese seas. “The mural is inspired by my residency crossing the Atlantic on Windstar’s Star Legend. Each morning I awoke to the sun rising in the horizon. The hues of blue envelop the marine life beneath the crashing waves,” poetically recalls the Cuban American mixed media painter.

Miami artist Magnus Sodamin painted “An Undiscovered Paradise” on the Star Pride. “For this mural, I wanted to bring awareness from my surroundings as we sailed from Bermuda to Virgin Islands,” explains the Sodamin whose paintings explore changing global narratives through spiritual inquiry and spontaneous creativity.

Inspired by Ian Urbina “The Outlaw Ocean project”, the mural seeks to create an environmental awareness of a landscape that is in transformation.

“For the viewer, the mural represents the way we actually see and discover animals in the wild. As you peer through the textured layers of abstract brush marks you see things that evoke similarity; an arrow crab, octopus, flying fish,” indicates Sodamin.The collaborative artist duo Nice n’ Easy created an immersive mixed media installation on Star Breeze titled “Warm Breeze, Cool Seas, Forever With Ease.” The duo explains: “We think of the title as a poem that references the ship, the star breeze where it was painted, the cool waters of the pacific, and ourselves, the artists who created it.”

“Being our first work outside of South Florida, we were unsure of how the aesthetics of our work would relate to a different environment, but we found countless moments where the mural seemed to fit seamlessly into its surroundings as we sailed down the pacific coast,” they add.

Windstar Cruises Miami office features a permanent installation titled “On View: Die From” created by mix-media artist Typoe, whose works range from paintings to murals to huge sculptures in the public realm.

Mixed media painter Alex Nuñez (right) and Fountainhead Arts director, Kathryn Mikesell (left), stand next to the “First Light” mural created by Nuñez on the Star Legend. Courtesy of Windstar Cruises.

All of these onboard murals were made possible by a partnership with Fountainhead, a Miami based arts organization that commissioned the artists and sent them on different cruise ships sailing around the world as well as in Windstar’s new Miami office last year.

“To Windstar, bringing art onto the ships plays a key role in helping people see and experience the world differently, and the opportunity to expose more people to the work of artists is what we do at our core,” indicates Fountainhead’s director, Kathryn Mikesell who co-founded the art organization alongside her husband Dan to “positively impact the lives and careers of artists while giving the local community a chance to connect with artists in a meaningful way.”

As Fountainhead believes artists change the way we view the world, treat one another, and confront critical issues, their programs foster relationships between artists and art enthusiasts. The organization has since its founding welcomed over 500 artists from 47 different countries.

For the sea murals, Kathryn Mikesell thought it was important to both Windstar and Fountainhead to commission Miami-based artists since “Windstar had just relocated to Miami from Seattle, and we are always looking to create more opportunities for local artists.”
“The goal of our on-ship murals was to create a conversation piece for travelers to consider their natural surroundings and reflect on the ways artists shape our perspectives,” declares Mrs. Mikesell.
To Christopher Prelog, Windstar Cruises’ president, it is important for his cruise ships to have the murals adorning their large top deck wall. “We want to connect with those in the communities where we are sailing or living in,” he says.

“We opened our Miami office in 2021, and we want to participate in the community life by giving the local artist this perfect platform to showcase their work.”

As opposed to land murals, movable sea murals can travel the globe and be seen by millions of people, which makes one of the artists, Alex Nuñez, very happy.

“You want your work to get as much exposure as possible as an artist,” Nuñez concludes.

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