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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 thClick to view full sizee 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 friends.

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 was completed.

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.Click to view full size 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.