Local Artist Frank Polanco Featured at UN Flag Project
By Desire Avila
South Florida Artist Frank Polanco is a man of many talents. Frank is an artist, a writer, an animal rights activist, a man who cares about nature, and man who aims to leave this world a better place for our future generations. Frank is especially passionate about animal activism. He frequently rescues abandoned dogs in Puerto Rico and is voice for animals that cannot express themselves in terms that humans can understand.
One serendipitous day Frank took his camera to The Gumbo Limbo Nature Center in Boca Raton and captured a picture that spoke volumes to him. He did not yet know about the UN Flag Project when he took the picture. However, when he heard about the call to artists for the project, in February 2022, he decided that the picture would be a perfect fit and submitted it to the program. Soon after he heard that his iconic picture had been selected to fly above Rockefeller Center.
The Flag Project
The Flag Project at The Rockefeller Center returned this year for the third time with the collaboration of the United Nations Environment Programme and the Climate Museum in New York. Since its inception in 1972, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has been the global authority that sets the environmental agenda, promotes the coherent implementation of the environmental dimension of sustainable development within the United Nations system, and serves as an authoritative advocate for the global environment. Artists were called upon to send in artwork that celebrated nature and promoted action against climate change. The winners had their designs turned into eco-friendly – biodegradable flags. This year’s Flag Project is concurrently the focal point of Rockefeller Center’s Earth Day celebrations on April 22nd that will include free, public progressions with the Climate Museum. Flagpoles, traditionally festooned with the flags of nations recognized by the United Nations, will fly at Rockefeller Center from April 1 to May 6 to commemorate Earth Day and on June 5 for a special commemoration of World Earth Day. Environment.
This is a project very dear to Frank who himself is a local activist for environmental issues. Once he learned about this year’s theme, Frank knew his digital photo titled ‘SAVE ME’ was the perfect fit to submit to this global call. Save Me is a picture he took of a turtle during one of his frequent visits to The Gumbo Limbo Nature Center in Boca Raton. This particular turtle is one of many endangered cold-stunned rescued turtles Frank came across during this one visit. The turtle was in one of the giant rehabilitation water tanks found at Gumbo Limbo. This particular shot was taken while Frank was sitting on the floor with his camera right in front of the tank which has a plexiglass window. This is one of those moments Frank talks about, that moment in time, a moment that may not be duplicated. Save Me, the turtle gave Frank this amazing pose, featured in the above photograph. A pose that captured the attention of many people during Frank’s recent art exhibit HOME at Gallery One Hotel. Save Me has been printed and stretched on a very large canvas. It will also be on display during Frank’s upcoming solo art exhibit starting in May 2022 at Las Olas Capital Arts 888 East Las Olas Blvd. Today, SAVE ME gained an amazing audience in one of the world-renown epicenters, The Rockefeller Center.
A Memory and Ambition
Frank recalled his old memories and said: “As a child living in Puerto Rico, I always remember that moment in time when my aunt and cousins returned from a trip to NY and they brought these pictures they took of them at Rockefeller Center. I was mesmerized and so drawn by those pictures looking at the flags. They cheered me up and they made me happy”. Today, SAVE ME gained an amazing audience in one of the world-renowned epicenters, The Rockefeller Center. Having his photo artwork turned into a flag that now flies high together with other one hundred and ninety-two wonderful creations is a full circle for Frank. “During my years living in NY, I learned to appreciate them even more”, he adds. “Every one of the one hundred and ninety-three participating flags in The Flag Project 2022 venture an encouraging pronouncement, of the artist’s loyalty and commitment as well as every one of our duties as a citizen of the world to do our part to preserve our planet”.
A Mission to Make the World a Better Place
Having his work recognized and accepted by these amazing organizations has fueled Frank to work harder not only on his art but also in his community with a greater sustainable way of thinking that can have a broader impact on the environment ultimately making the planet sustainable and accommodating for all life forms that reside on this floating rock and call it their home. Above all things, every animal has an equal right to live in this world.
The Flag Project is open to the public daily at Rockefeller Center. It is a reminder for us all to give serious thought to this drastically deteriorating situation of climate change and the lives of animals and our future generations are at the mercy of our choices. As the dominant species on this planet, we must save the lives of these voiceless creatures and make sure that our actions are not causing any harm to the environment, because all we have is only one earth.
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