A-List Designers Headline Diversity Panel on Black Art, Architecture, and Design

Written by Staff Writer

The “Diversity in Design Arts” panel discussion, slated for Saturday, February 4, from 11:00AM – 3:00PM, will feature presentations on the cultural impact of Black Art, Architecture and Design on South Florida communities. This second installment of the annual event brings together four of South Florida’s most sought after names in architecture, fine art and design. Seacrest Designs, a high end interior design studio, in association with Grace Arts art gallery, will present artist George Gadson, professor Dr David Rifkind, architect Bertram Lewars and interior designer Kendra Rhoulac at the Fort Lauderdale Historical Society. Complimentary tickets are available at under the search term “Diversity in Design – Black Arts”.

The discussion will explore the contributions of African American culture to design and architecture both locally and internationally. Attendees including creative professionals, observers of the arts, as well as students in the field are welcome to participate in the interactive discussion.

Event organizer and moderator Marsha McDonald, principal at Seacrest Designs, has worked on various design arts programming including at Young Arts and at Florida International University where she attended and later taught as a studio professor.

The event panelists represent multiple aspects of South Florida design. George Gadson, a self taught artist and native Floridian, withdrew from a successful banking career to follow his passion for the arts. His works have been featured at the White House and two Florida Super Bowls, and have been commissioned by nationally recognized companies and organizations. Dr David Rifkind is a multiple award winning architect, author and historian currently teaching at Florida International University in Miami. Bertram Lewars of Lewars Design, LLC has played key roles in the construction of Atlanta’s Olympic stadium, Miami’s American Airlines Arena, multiple Broward County School Board projects along with his company’s independent design projects. Kendra Rhoulac is a Cum Laude graduate of the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale, and is a professional in residential and sustainable design and space planning.

After the panel discussion there will be an opening reception for February’s Outsider Art exhibit curated by Grace Arts FL, featuring the artwork of second generation Highwayman, Kelvin Hair.

Says McDonald, “I have a passion for art and design, especially as expressed by people of color. This event allows like-minded people to share ideas. We’re giving aspiring creatives, particularly future designers and architects, access to the people who inspire them and who might not normally be accessible. I think that’s a great thing.”

The collaboration between Seacrest Designs and Clare Vickery of Grace Arts Fl is a part of the three month long cultural arts programming on “Outsider Art: Re-interpreting the Pioneer” at the Fort Lauderdale Historical Society.

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