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Rainbow artist to 'paint' skies over Lakewood

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  • | 4:00 a.m. October 23, 2009
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Fred Stern, an artist who travels the world creating natural rainbows in the sky as large as 2,000 feet across, will create a natural rainbow at the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk at Oct. 24 at the Sarasota Polo Club in Lakewood Ranch

Stern has come to Sarasota to support the event and in support of two friends who are battling cancer.

Stern will work with the Sarasota Volunteer Fire Department to pump water into the air to generate an artificial rainfall, which will refract the sun’s light to create the rainbow as a part of the opening ceremonies.

Fred Stern is an acknowledged innovator in environmental art. He has served as associate professor of sculpture at Pratt Institute, and as Associate Professor of Visual Arts at New York University, the University of Maryland and the Instituto de Allende in Mexico.

Stern has received five major awards from the National Endowment for The Arts and grants from many local and private agencies to support his work. He was the first artist to receive an Art in Public Places Individual Artist Award from the National Endowment for the Arts for his rainbow work.

Stern has created more than 50 natural rainbows for events in major cities around the world. He opened the United Nation’s Conference on the Environement in 1992, presented his work at a Palestinean-Israeli peace conference in Israel and Gaza, and has created numerous rainbws in support of the battle against cancer. His rainbows have graced the cities of New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Amsterdam, San Miguel de Allende, Baltimore and more. This past summer, he presented his work at the Portland Blues Festival in support of the Oregon Food Bank and he has been creating rainbows for children with cancer at Camp Quality Camps. He has created a natural moon rainbows for an Arab village in the mountains of Israel and for a camp for children who can not be exposed to daylight.

In 1996, in conjunction with Japanese National Television, he accomplished a long term dream of creating a rainbow over the United Nations Building in New York. In this monumental piece he raised what he sees, as the Planet’s or God’s true flag, over the flags of all nations, establishing a visual metaphor for Global Unity and World Peace.

Stern creates an artificial rainfall with fire trucks or fire boats, pumping water into the air. These water drops then refract the sun or moon light to create natural rainbows in the sky as large as 2,000 feet across. Stern uses a computer program to determine the optimal time, position and spray parameters for his natural rainbow generation.

For more information about Stern's work, visit