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Photowalk, Wynwood, by Mateo Serna Zapata

Pink House, Miami, 2020, by Anastasia Samoylova

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We Heart This

The Sunny Project

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As the pandemic continues, there are still reasons to smile—like seeing people and communities coming together to support one another. One such example is The Sunny Project, which is raising money for a trio of Miami nonprofits aiding vulnerable and high-risk women and children: Lotus House, Miami Diaper Bank, and Magnolia Birth House. The initiative was founded by photographer Gesi Schilling—Sunny is her newborn daughter's name—and features works by 45 photographers, all from or currently living in Florida. Now more than ever, the state needs our help and attention; according to recent reports, with record-breaking spikes each day, it's primed to become the next coronavirus epicenter. Here, we talk to Schilling about the sale, which is donating 100% of the profits to the cause.

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Q&A

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What was the inspiration behind The Sunny Project?
In the weeks leading up to the birth of my second daughter, I had come across several art and photography print sales benefitting organizations providing relief for those most affected by COVID-19. I was particularly struck by the success of Pictures for Elmhurst, a 10 day-long print sale that raised more than $1.3 million for the New York Hospital. In the same spirit, a couple of weeks after my daughter Sunny was born, I built The Sunny Project, in between (and during) breast feedings. Regarding the beneficiaries, I was at home with my two-year old and two-week old, watching the pandemic unfold, and wondering what I could do to help other mothers with far fewer resources than I.

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How did you pick the photographers involved?
I sent an e-mail to local photographers I knew and admired, and to some I admired and didn’t know. Many of the photographers who contributed images recommended other Florida photographers, and it grew that way. I’m still discovering new Florida talent every day. Building a community of local photographers has been an awesome plus.

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Tell us about the works you submitted…
I selected two images that were taken in my favorite part of South Florida: the Everglades. One includes a lotus flower, a sort of homage to The Lotus House. The other is an aerial photo of the magical Ten Thousand Islands, with the sun reflecting off of the water—a sort of secret/not-so-secret homage to the Sunny Project.

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Moving Backwards, by Erika Blanco

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One

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Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, by Bryan Thomas, left, and Lotus in Turner River, by Gesi Schilling

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