WEST LITTLE RIVER, Fla. – Artist Jermaine Faehre Green unveiled a large painting on Thursday night at the Miami-Dade College’s Nathaniel Traz-Powell Stadium, near the West Little River neighborhood.
It was a tribute to the late Corey Smith, a beloved football coach at Miami Senior High School and a Miami-Dade Public Schools employee for more than two decades.
The unveiling of the “Cleaning Out My Locker” portrait was on display during the half-time of a high school football game between Miami Senior High’s Stingarees and Miami Norland Senior High’s Vikings.
“It was an honor for me to do this for someone who did so much for our community,” Green said, adding he had known Smith for decades.
Smith’s death was tragic. Green said that he broke down and cried while he worked on the painting for two weeks.
A 15-year-old boy is accused of killing Smith on Sept. 21 while trying to steal $7,450 from his home, 2140 NW 97th St., in West Little River. Before the murder, Smith told family and friends that he considered the boy a nephew. The boy’s father, who was Smith’s childhood friend, was killed during a police-involved shooting on Dec. 5 in Broward County.
Smith was 46. He developed a reputation in the community for influencing many students to succeed. Theo Kendrick, Smith’s friend, said the mural was very meaningful to him and to the Miami High students who are still grieving the loss.
“It’s a tough emotional season for them right now,” Kendrick said. “They’re playing out there with heavy hearts.”
The Vikings won 20-34. Green said the portrait belongs to the school and it will be on display at every Miami High football game this season.