On any given Saturday, you’ll find Vann Helms
sailing on Biscayne Bay, or skating on South Beach or the French
Riviera, or snorkeling off Key Largo or St. Johns.
He loves the colors
of life, whether they be found near his Miami home, or in the
Austrian Alps, or in the ski slopes of Colorado. You’ll find
those bright colors throughout his work.
Born in North
Carolina and raised in South Florida, Vann draws upon his
Southern heritage for historic inspiration, and upon his Miami
experience for a world view of beauty and culture. He has been
influenced by the powerful Latin accent of his hometown, being a
refugee from the North instead of the South, like so many of his
For years, he was the
philosophical voice behind the creative illumination of
Miami’s vibrant skyline. He worked closely with the late Douglas
Leigh, lighting designer of such famous landmarks as The
Empire State Building and
Miami’s Centrust Tower. His “Magic City Project”
of 1984 was the blueprint for everything that came afterward. In
that plan, he described an illuminated skyscraper very much like
the Centrust Tower, a full two years before the building
He began painting in
1995, after a long career with The Miami Herald and Knight
Ridder. His mission was to unite
the population through his art. He wanted to remind everyone of
the treasures that existed right under their multi-cultural,
multi-racial, multi-ethnic noses.
He chose to honor these landmarks through the medium of the
painted screen, discovering a new artform in the process. His
screens have sat under the Florida Capitol Rotunda in
Tallahassee, on the Cultural Plaza in Downtown Miami,
inside the showcase windows of The New World Symphony’s
Lincon Theatre, and at the Miami-Dade Main Library’s
exhibition hall entrance.
His goal is to make the art of
South Florida available to everyone who lives and visits here.
Miami can join the ranks of Paris, Rome, and New York where
proud citizens display the beauty of their cities all around
them. His art celebrates a truly magical place.