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Pharrell Williams surprises students at Florida art museum

Posted at 4:40 AM, Dec 05, 2019

There’s a lot to be happy about for a group of Broward County, Florida middle school students who got a lot more than expected during a trip to the museum Tuesday.

Musician, producer and Virginia Beach native Pharrell Williams surprised the students while they were walking through the exhibits at the NSU Art Museum in Fort Lauderdale.

Williams was joined by artists Sam Borkson and Arturo Sandoval III to share messages about kindness and happiness through art and music to the students from St. Gregory School and Sunrise Middle School.

The trio are part of the artist collaborative FriendsWithYou, whose “whimsical artwork” was seen floating over the crowd at 2019’s Something in the Water music festival and is part of the current exhibition Happy!

Students like 13-year-old John Silva were starstruck. He was one of the hundreds who cheered with excitement over seeing his idol.

“Really emotional, like coming down to Fort Lauderdale just for Pharrell Williams to be down,” Silva said. “I think art moves a lot of people, it inspires them to make things and those great things inspire other people to make other great things and it’s just a complete beautiful cycle.”

Williams spoke to the students about creating meaning in your work — and creating something that makes you feel something, hopefully, happy.

“I’m interested in the work that sticks with you, so the minute that you look at it, it does something to you, it makes you have a visceral reaction,” Williams said.

The exhibition Happy! explores the pursuit of happiness through contemporary art. Since it’s the holiday season, there’s no better time to spread messages of happiness and kindness.

The exhibit will be on display at the NSU Art Museum through July 5, 2020.