NAPLES — Sunday, April 16, is the official reveal of THE FACE OF IMMOKALEE, a Public Art installation which aims to champion the Immokalee community through a series of boldly displayed B&W photographic portraits. This anomalous and ﬁrst-of-its-kind art exhibition in Collier County will be presented on two 50’ long walls and two 53’ long semi trailer-trucks owned by Immokalee based Lipman Family Farms, one of the nation’s largest produce growers.
Created by Naples portrait photographer Michelle Tricca and 4.5 years in the making, the project was awarded a $25,000 grant from Florida Dept of State, Division of Arts & Culture and the National Endowment for the Arts for it’s anomalous, compelling and one-of-a-kind nature. This local project with global relevance is about the Human Condition, The ART of photography and being proactive in building SW Florida’s Public Art Scene.
With some of the portraits exhibited at 14’ high, it’s hard to ignore the beautiful spirit of people who are otherwise unseen. “I want the viewer to look up close rather than gloss over an anonymous person. I don’t believe a high dollar ticket should be the only means by which someone can enjoy art, and these murals allow accessibility by all.” So much so, that the trucks will drive the art throughout Collier County, for all to see.
“The perception of Collier County is pretension, prosperity, luxury lifestyles. But it’s really so much more, like people coming here for other reasons, to work in agriculture, to provide better lives for their families. As a believer in photography’s ability to promote social change, The Face of Immokalee is my means of bridging the disparity between Collier County’s two vastly juxtaposed regions.” Immokalee residents - they’re the stars of the show.
What: THE FACE OF IMMOKALEE - A portrait installation celebrating the SOUL of Immokalee
Who: by Naples portrait photographer Michelle Tricca
When: Official launch - Sunday, April 16 noon-2 p.m. Event will be casual and outdoors.
Where: 200 E Main St, Immokalee FL 34142
Why: Championing Collier County’s important yet under-recognized Immokalee community through a ﬁrst-of-its-kind art exhibition. And everyone loves photographs! The April 16th launch will be a chance to see all the murals together.
How: Portraits are exhibited indefinitely outdoors for all to enjoy. This two part art show consists of walls which can be visited in Immokalee, and trucks bringing the art throughout coastal Collier several days a week.
In December 2018, I began The Face Of Immokalee as a means to champion the people of this hard working agricultural community with abundant personality, story and soul that I’ve gotten to know, appreciate and love.
This project is a collaboration between myself and the residents of Immokalee, they’re the stars of the show. Photoshoots were conducted between 2019 - 2023 (with a 2-year hiccup from the Pandemic & Quarantine), partnering with members of the community who volunteered to have their portrait made. The only requirement to participate was to be an Immokalee resident. There was a lot of great energy and enthusiasm on the set. It was a beautiful experience. Included are farmworkers, community leaders, students, athletes and working professionals. Parents felt it was important to have their children photographed for the project.
I moved to Naples in 2005 and have been spending time in Immokalee ever since. Living in Collier County, It’s hard to ignore the disparity between these two largely juxtaposed regions, located so close, yet so far away - physically and metaphorically. It’s also hard to ignore the abundance of homogenized concrete walls in this county. My artist brain sees them as a canvas. I love the presence and vibe of large scale pictures.
Public art murals not only help support community and celebrate humanity, they also infuse art into unsuspecting places. The aspect of form + function is soulful to me. Art can be accessible to all.
My goal is to promote a wider understanding and appreciation for Immokalee, The Art of Photography and Public Art, and increase accessibility to Public Art in Collier County.
Getting to know Immokalee and the wonderful people throughout the years, I wanted to share the beauty that I see. Through boldly displayed portraiture, my intention is to create awareness and respect. The murals, especially the mobile portion of the exhibit, is my means of connecting humanity, putting a face to and championing this awesome town, through art. The walls will add a bit of life to space, and the trucks will bring art to people around Collier County who weren’t expecting to see it.
With a humanistic sensibility, I invest my time and aesthetic language into personal projects that are rooted in ethical and sentimental values. I’ve always been interested in cultures and lifestyles different from my own. Part of the allure of photography is seeing parts of life + the world you’re not normally exposed to. As an artist, I am motivated by the human condition and believe in the power of photographs to connect, illicit interest, open minds, initiate compassion and promote social change.
The approach of my work as a photographer is from the perspective of an outsider, and as the work evolves, as an insider, discovering differences & similarities. At our core, we as humans are very much the same.
I hope these images will inspire you to look up close rather than gloss over an anonymous person. Thank you for supporting the Arts!