A new art exhibit in Florida is honoring the memory of the late D’Sean Perry, one of three University of Virginia football players killed when a gunman opened fire on campus as they made their way back from a school trip last November.
The South Dade Black History Center recently unveiled the “Love-Art-Football” exhibit, allowing visitors to learn more about Perry, The Miami Herald reports.
The South Florida native was a graduate of Gulliver Prep before he went on to play football at the University of Virginia. Perry was also an artist in his sophomore year as a studio art major with dreams of having his work exhibited at Art Basel one day.
“He’s one step closer,” Diara Zeigler, the program director for the South Dade Black History Center Advisory Board, told the Miami Herald. “We’ll get him there.”
The exhibit includes several of Perry’s works, such as a sketch of Simpsons characters and sculptures of an orca, a lion head, and a Greek mythology-inspired version of himself. Also displayed is his final UVA jersey and a few awards, including two recognizing him for his work at Gulliver in advanced ceramics.
“We want to make sure people don’t forget his legacy because it’s easy to move on to other things,” said former Miami-Dade Commissioner Dennis Moss, who secured the funding to build the South Dade Black History Center during his time in office. Moss currently serves as advisory board chairman for the center. “He was such a shining star with so much potential that we wanted to make sure he was remembered.”
The exhibit also features a framed display that contains two pictures, a hand-written letter, and a navy blue UVA glove. The letter came from Cole Pratt, a young fan whom Perry had gifted a pair of his gloves to after a game. When Pratt learned that Perry had passed, he sent one of the gloves and the letter to Perry’s parents, as the Miami Herald reports.
“Those gloves were the best birthday present I could have ever asked for,” Pratt wrote. “So I wanted to give you one of his gloves. I really want you to have it. I have his other one so we can remember him forever.”
“He was such a remarkable young man,” said Zeigler, of Perry. “He had an infectious smile. He was loving. He was respectful, a very respectful young man. Just a well-rounded young man.”
“That’s part of the reason why Zeigler is committed to fulfilling part of Perry’s dream.”
Perry’s artwork will be displayed at the Basel South Black Art Show at the South Dade Black History Center , along with the work of other artists, when it opens in December.
“Our platform here at the museum is for opportunities such as this: giving our artists in the South Dade community a voice,” Zeigler said. “So why not have his art in the show? We’re just happy that his parents wanted us to have it.”
The Love-Art-Football Exhibit will be on display through November 14 at the South Dade Black History Center in Miami.