This year, that's going to happen. On Saturday, Dec. 8, the night before the New England Patriots tackle the Miami Dolphins, Leary will be part of a Boston-centric soirée at Puro Bar in the city's bustling, artsy Wynwood section.
"This is a dream come true," said Leary, a Classical High grad who has reinvented herself as Silvia VIA — a play on her first name and her belief that every creative person is a Very Important Artist. The owner of VIA's World will showcase her vibrant, colorful paintings and one-of-a-kind fashion pieces, which will be for sale. "It is such an honor that I was asked to be part of Art Basel."
Silvia will be joined by popular North Shore DJ Sisko (Recillas), a fellow Lynner, and Boston native Michelle Andrickson, a radio personality for southwest Florida's Fly 98.5 morning show. The owner of Puro, a hookah bar, hails from Lawrence.
Silvia said she will show eight of her paintings, many of her one-of-a-kind jackets, and selections from her luxe silk-and-sequins-adorned VIA's Black Label collection, which sell for $250 and up. "They are statement pieces," she said.
A recent addition is her $20 pair of "Fighting For Love" socks, part of her Army Collection, which recycles former military jackets into wearable works of art; one of her paintings is zippered into the back of each jacket and can be removed or switched out when laundering is needed. The Army Collection jackets are made to order, and cost $1,000 or more. She donates 10 percent of the price to the Lynn Veterans office.
"The price point of my clothing might seem high here, but globally it's priced low," said Silvia.
At Art Basel this year, more than 200 of the world's leading international modern and contemporary art galleries will display works by some 4,000 artists, including paintings, sculptures, installations, photography, film, video, digital art and more. Visitors can find works ranging from editioned pieces by young artists to museum-caliber masterpieces. Upward of 100,000 people, including celebrities, collectors, curators, critics, buyers and art enthusiasts, are expected to attend Art Basel in Miami. The main event is at the Miami Beach Convention Center; there are numerous events, including VIA's, at satellite locations throughout the city. Art Basel celebrations also take place in Switzerland (June 2019) and Hong Kong (March 2019).
"It would be great for Patriots fans to stop by the night before the game and celebrate with other New Englanders who are doing great things," said Silvia, who was living in an orphanage in Guatemala when, at age 7, she was adopted by Ron and Claire Leary of Lynn.
"My message to any kid out there who's into art, music, fashion … is to follow their dream. Dreams do come true. If you foster your talent and work hard, anything is attainable. It's OK to watch 'Love & Hip Hop' (a VH1 reality show) to see what others are doing. But turn off that TV. If you do things yourself, that's when things happen."