Shares Passion for Creativity with His Community
By Susan D. Rubin
To call Kona Gray a man of vision would be an understatement. His creativity, dedication to art and love of his community guide his time on the Broward Cultural Division’s Public Art & Design Committee, where he has served for the past four years. In this role, he strives to move Broward County toward the goal of becoming a center for the arts in South Florida.
With a father who is an architect himself, Gray grew up working on his own small-scale drafting table with imaginary clients. He knew he was meant to be in the field of design.. And so he is after receiving a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture degree from the University of Georgia. Having relocated to Fort Lauderdale for his career, he is a Principal with EDSA, having been with the firm for the past 16 years.
His passion for creative design has led him to a variety of projects in both planning and implementation for hotels, resorts, university campuses and larger facilities of all types. Some of his projects include the University of Florida, Nova Southeastern University, W Retreat & Spa, Gilgamesh Island and many more. He excels at bringing to life the vision of his clients as he remains sensitive to the realities of the community and the history of the site. One of Gray’s greatest gifts is being able to focus on the cultural and environmental characteristics of each property.
This sensitivity to the realities of any community is yet another gift that Gray shares with the area in which he lives. He has always known that “art should be accessible to everyone.” From his very early experiences he recognized the simple fact that art is valuable. “Visual creative opportunities make you a better person,” he stated clearly and simply.
Gray has a host of ideas and goals for the future of art and design in Broward County. One of these would create a park or public space with a signature work of art. “This piece of art,” he elaborated, “would just draw people in. Everyone would want to have a picture made with it. It would set Fort Lauderdale apart as a cultural destination.” Recognizing the wealth of talent readily available in Broward County, he believes wholeheartedly that this is achievable.
Another idea that Gray hopes to see come to fruition is a chain of artistic works united by the theme of the 100th birthday of Broward County. The 31 cities that comprise the area could each display artwork that shows ways the area has grown, commonalities within the area or simple celebrations of each city from any artistic medium. He sees opportunity for creative development and artistic display everywhere he turns, especially in his current hometown.
Kona Gray lives his artistic beliefs and principles of design every single day. He is quick to admit that all of the training he received in his education taught him, “that while we have a responsibility to design for function, we have an equal responsibility to design that which is beautiful.” His belief that all tangible things must be put in places where people can understand and appreciate them is one of the keys to the valuable contributions he makes to the success of the Public Art & Design Committee. We await with great anticipation his next set of creative solutions as he seeks to enhance the experience of living in Broward County with his love of public art and imaginative visions.