Hello! My name is Natalia Betancourt and I am a sophomore studying finance. I have been fortunate enough to be in the honors college for the past year and excited for the journey we are going to embark with this class. I love being involved on campus; I recently just joined a sorority, I am the Assistant Director of Finance for FIU homecoming and I am also a peer mentor for the Center for Student Engagement. I also work as a student assistant in the office of Career and Talent Development where I work closely with employers who attend our major events. On my free time I enjoy hanging out with my friends and family, I also like watching Netflix and shows like How I Met Your Mother, and I also enjoy going to eat with my friends especially at Pieology Pizzeria. I come from a Honduran father and Bolivian mother and I was born in Miami. I have traveled a lot outside of the U.S. however, I have not explored Miami as much as I would like to. I’m so excited for this class and the memories we’ll make!
Deering Estate: As Text
I was very skeptical when I first heard we were going to be hiking at the Deering Estate. I had never done anything like this at all before. Never been camping or done anything remotely close to what we did in class on Wednesday. It was definitely a new experience for me and something that I will never forget.
Our first hike was an hour long and consisted of us going through a paleo-Indian burial ground. As we were walking through this, I kept thinking to myself “when will this be over?” I was scared of touching poison ivy and wood and scared of getting mosquito bites and having to basically dodge any plant that looked weird. But as soon as we got to see our final destination, that feeling went away. Once Vanessa Trujillo (our tour guide) and Professor Bailly started to explain the history behind the land, it made me feel truly blessed to be a part of something so exclusive. The history behind the land that were literally standing on amazed me. The different artifacts that Vanessa was showing us and the history behind them was something that you just don’t hear about everyday. Not to mention that on our way to our final destination we saw a skeleton of an animal and it freaked me out because I had never seen a real skeleton before. That moment made me realize that this class is so unique and gives its students so many opportunities to do amazing things that not every student at FIU gets to do.
Our second hike was about hour long as well and it consisted of us going to the Tequesta Native American Burial Ground. This was something that I definitely did not think I would be interested in, but turns out it was the complete opposite. Having been told the history of that burial was so surreal. The fact that this burial ground is one of the very few things left behind by the Tequesta tribe is mind blowing.
This was definitely an unforgettable experience. I learned things that I never would’ve thought would interest me, I stepped extremely out of my comfort zone, and I got a taste of what the “real Miami” used to be. This visit to the Deering Estate showed me what Miami looked like before the Miami skyline and AAA were built. It showed me that Miami didn’t always used to be the way it is today. It showed that a lot of people still care about the History of this amazing city. This visit was definitely one for the books.
Wynwood As Text
As I sat back and reflected on our trip to Wynwood/Design District, I came to realize that these collections are not like museums. I didn’t grow up learning much about art besides only taking Art History my sophomore year of high school and barely learning anything. It’s extremely interesting to me that there are people out there willing to spend millions of dollars, like Marguiles and the De La Cruz’, just to show their real appreciation for art and be able to show it to the public. Both of these collections had me amazed. The amount of different mediums that are used throughout today’s contemporary world is mind boggling. I used to think for something to be considered art it had to be painted or drawn, however, I was never more wrong.
The Marguiles collection was definitely my favorite. I was very interested throughout the entire tour of the collection. There were many pieces that I didn’t understand, however, when Mr. Marguiles himself told us the meaning I could see it right away. This was the first time I had ever seen a collection of art and it definitely will not be my last. The De La Cruz collection was also one I could never forget. I feel like they put so much time, effort, and money into this collection. Having each art work strategically placed so that the viewer can get the best experience of their visit is something that interested me so much.
All in all I absolutely love to learn more abuot private collections because it’s like no other. These made me extremely interested in visiting more places like this. I really enjoyed our class on Wednesday and I’m looking forward to the next one.
Viscaya As Text
When we first visited Viscaya, I was truly amazed. I had never been there despite the fact that everyone and their mother takes their 15’s pictures there. I was not one of them. I had always thought that it was just an aesthetic place to take pictures, however, it’s so much more. There is so much history behind Viscaya that I had never known about. What truly amazed me was when professor Bailly spoke about the benches in the middle of a garden. I never really thought about the fact that there was random benches in the middle of gardens and their particular purpose but once the professor pointed them out and started pointing out details about said benches and artwork surrounding them I was was fascinated. It taught me to always look at the small details of any art work or place. These small details are what made what professor Bailly was talking about make sense. Viscaya was truly something like I had never seen. I would love to go back and explore more of what that area has to offer.
Next we visited the LnS Gallery. This was an experience like no other. In this gallery we learned more about the business and logistics of how art is sold and bought. This intrigued me quite a lot since I am in the College of Business. I always thought that the artist would just sell his paintings and make all the profit, however, I never thought that the process of buying and selling art would be so complicated and intricate. This is something I could see myself doing more research on. Now when I visit museums, galleries, and collections and can kind of appreciate the art more because obtaining art is not as simple as it sounds. This gallery also intrigued me because it was based centrally around artists that are located in Miami. The art scene in Miami is much bigger than I anticipated and I now appreciate art so much more than I did in the past because there are so many artists based in Miami.
This class trip has taught me to think outside the box and look at the smaller details of art. These things can make up what the artist’s are actually trying to say. Having the opportunity to learn and see different styles of not just works of art but different ways art is shown to the world is truly a blessing. This has been one of the highlights of this semester.
Design District As Text
Once again, this class amazed me. Being able to see something so exclusive in the art world was something I’ll never forget. Seeing “All the Eternal Love I Have for Pumpkins” gave me a sense of eternity as it was meant to. In my childhood home, my parents room had 2 mirrors facing each other as their closet doors, so it made me feel a bit nostalgic walking in there and seeing all those mirrors around me. It felt like the room was never ending even though it was probably like 15 x 15 ft. After hearing what Yayoi Kusama went through in her early ages and how she over came her struggles was very inspiring. I also love that her art is something that is meant to be shared. As someone who is part of generation Z I love using social media and having an opportunity to share her art to the audience that I have on my social media is super unique and innovative. A lot of older art doesn’t really allow for them to be photographed or just aren’t meant for it. Whereas a lot of contemporary and modern art can be more interactive when it comes to taking pictures. It was truly an honor to see these pumpkins since they are in Miami for a very limited time.
Next we visited the museum and the different exhibits that were showcased. All these exhibits struck out to me because they were all so different. From photographs to ceramic to large sculptures each with so much detail and story behind them. One exhibit that stood out to me in particular was the Guadalupe Maravilla. I was very intrigued because these pieces had so much detail and different mediums that I honestly didn’t even know where to look when I first took a look at them. These pieces all had a couple things in common but they were unique in their own way. The meaning behind these pieces was also something that stood out to me because it is something that is extremely controversial in this day in age. Having someone tell their story through these magnificent art works is breathtaking.
This class yet again excited me and I get more excited as the weeks go by. Seeing all these different types of mediums and artists really makes me think that almost anything can be art if you really believe it can be.
Miami Art As Text
As I sit back and reflect on the class we had on Wednesday, I can honestly say we ended with a bang. Having never attended Art Basel, I didn’t know what we were getting into. Seeing art from all over the world truly gave me a sense that this one thing can unite so many people no matter where they are from. One particular piece that I was very interested in was this picture that I put. We didn’t stop to look at it or anything, this was just a picture I took as we were passing by it. This piece spoke to me because I have been through tough times and have told people that I’m “fine” or “happy.” I have never been that into art but seeing all these different pieces and installations I realized that there is so much of the world I haven’t seen or experienced. My whole life I had always liked things that are concrete and have correct answers and not left to interpretation, this class, however, changed my mind. Seeing all the art throughout the semester opened my eyes and helped me realize that life isn’t always going to have answers and be concrete like I want it to and that’s okay.
Having the opportunity to visit two great Art fairs this week was the highlight of this whole classroom. As we were walking around the fairs I noticed many people of different styles, backgrounds, and ethnicities and it made me realize that you don’t need to look a “certain way” to buy or create art as other professions have certain stigmas. Hearing about all the different countries the artists were from had me amazed. It’s so incredible how artists will fly from across the world just to showcase their art at a fair. One that really impressed me was the artwork that came all the way from South Africa, the lady that was there supervising and selling the art was telling us all about the logistics and details that go into shipping art over seas and it was so cool to see that come to life. Many other exhibits caught my eye as well and really intrigued me into staying.
This was definitely my favorite visit of the semester hands down. I got a real feel of what art fairs are like and now I would like to visit Art Basel every year. The power art has to bring people together is very interesting, I am very excited for what is next to come.