See Miami 2019 Lowe Art Museum: Molly Schantz

Student Biography

My name is Molly Schantz. I was born in Miami, but grew up in Asheville, North Carolina. I am majoring in Political Science on the Pre-Law track. After I graduate from FIU, I would like to go to law school and eventually practice environmental law. I’ve always believed that travel and cultural experience is the best way to get an education and being in a class such as Art Society Conflict where I can learn about topics outside of my major while also being outside a classroom is my ideal honors class. 

Geography 

Map of Coral Gables

The Lowe Art Museum is located on the campus of the University of Miami in Coral Gables. The address of the museum is 1301 Stanford Drive, Coral Gables FL. In order to get to the museum you have to enter the University of Miami campus located right off of Ponce De Leon Boulevard and South Dixie Highway. While it is technically a private campus, the museum is open to the public. There is limited parking, but the university offers shuttles directly the museum and the campus is accessible by Metrorail. 

History 

Lowe Art Museum in 1952

The Lowe Art Museum was originally founded inside three classrooms at the University of Miami in 1950 as a teaching resource. It was originally established as a gift from Joe and Emily Lowe. It was the first art museum in South Florida. The museum opened to the public in 1952. The majority of collections over the museums history have been donations. The first large donation was a collection of Native American art from Alfred I. Barton. Soon after the museum became part of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation which brought 41 works of Baroque and Renaissance art which became the main focus of the museum’s permanent collection until the 80’s. In 1984, Robert M. Bischoff donated 531 works of ancient American art which shifted the concentration of pieces astronomically. Over the years, the Lowe has expanded with a vast collection of works from Asia, South America, and glass and ceramic collections. It was originally meant to be an on-campus field trip for students, but quickly grew into a staple art destination in South Florida for residents and visitors alike. It is now a hub for contemporary art and politically charged exhibitions. Artists and collectors such as Martin Margulies of the Margulies Collection, collaborate with the Lowe and gift works that will further benefit the everlasting history of the museum. 

Mission

Mission Statement: An integral part of the University of Miami, the Lowe Art Museum offers its diverse audiences opportunities and resources for engaging with contemporary culture through 5,000 years of human creativity. 

Because the museum is located on a college campus, it fulfills its purpose of being an educational resource. The mission statement is broad because the museum is constantly receiving works of art from all different countries and eras in art history, making the museum uncategorizable by genre. The museum strives to radiate culture from around the world and is currently successful in completing that mission.

Access

The Lowe is a public art institution located on a private campus. Parking is metered around the campus, but there is a free lot in front of the museum with limited spaces. The museum is also accessible by metro and campus bus. Tickets are $12 for adults and children 12 or older, $8 for students and seniors with ID, and free for students/faculty/staff of UM with ID as well as children and members of the museum. Memberships range from $40 to $5000 depending how much you are willing to give. Memberships include free admission to the museum for one year as well as invitations to special events and exhibit previews. 

The Lowe Art Museum is open from 10am-4pm Tuesday through Saturday and from 12pm-4pm on Sundays. They are closed on Mondays. 

Specific Denominations of Memberships

  • Student – $40
  • Educator – $50
  • Individual- $60
  • Dual – $80
  • Family – $120
  • Sustaining – $225
  • Contributor – $500
  • Curator’s Circle – $1,200
  • Director’s Circle – $2,500
  • Benefactor – $5,000

Potential Membership Benefits 

  • Admission to the museum for one year
  • Admission to most lectures and special events
  • Invitations to exclusive exhibitions previews, receptions, and other museum programs
  • Special members-only events
  • Travel opportunities
  • Eligibility to join the Volunteer Docent Program
  • Admission to the Lowe After Hours
  • Admission to participating cultural institutions during Miami Museum Month in May

Collection

Le Neveu de Rameau by Frank Stella

The permanent collection has works that span from 500 BC with the Art of the Ancient Americas collection all the way to the mid 1900’s and 2000’s with contemporary work from Frank Stella, Carlos Alfonzo, and many more. Not only do the works stand the test of time, but works from all over the world are represented. The Art of Asia collection features sculptures from the Ming Dynasty. The Art of the Native Americas collection features musical instruments that trace back 2000 years. Each collection represents a different part of the world and the diversity of pieces is of the same quality as world renowned museums. 

List of Permanent Collections

  • Art of Africa 
  • Art of Asia
  • Art of Central and South America 
  • Art of Egypt and the Near East 
  • Art of Europe
  • Art of North America 
  • Art of the Ancient Americas 
  • Art of the Ancient Mediterranean 
  • Art of the Caribbean 
  • Art of the Native Americas 
  • Art of the Pacific Islands 

Exhibitions 

Ciudad en Ascenso by Juan Roberto Diago

The current special exhibition featured at the Lowe Art Museum is by Afro-Cuban artist, Juan Roberto Diago. Diago makes contemporary pieces that represent his view of the history of Cuba and dark past of slavery and colonialism that still haunts the nation today. His works serve as commentary race, poverty, and general discrimination in the present day that closely mirrors Cuba’s history. Diago uses mixed media such as wood sculptures, canvas, and spray paint. This exhibit exemplifies the museums mission to serve as an educational tool. Discrimination and conflict between Cuba and America are very relevant topics today and are important for students to be knowledgable about as it does affect them whether they realize it or not. Diago’s exhibit allows people to learn through his art.

List of Recent Exhibitions

  • DIAGO: The Pasts of this Afro-Cuban Present 
  • ArtLab @ The Lowe: Russia Unframed 
  • Carlos Estevez: Cities of the Mind
  • Binomial: Claudia DeMonte & Ed McGowin 

Special Programs 

The Lowe Art Museum offers painting classes called Sip & Sketch as well as weekly mindfulness seminars.  Along with these special events, the museum offers family/group tours and monthly socials called Lowe After Hours. 

In furthering their mission to provide cultural experience, the Lowe offers travel programs. The most recent travel opportunity was to Iceland. Participants experienced the culture of Iceland while getting to see galleries, studios, and museums alongside tourist exhibitions. 

Visitor

Untitled by Vladimir Lebedev

During my visit to the Lowe, I spoke to museum visitor and student, Alex Anacki. 

Have you visited the Lowe Art Museum before today? 

  • I have been here before, but this is a place that you could come back to multiple times and find something new and interesting that you didn’t see before. 

What do you find most impressive about this museum?

  • The Lowe has a collection diversity much like the Hirshhorn in the National Mall in DC or even the Met in New York, but on a much more intimate scale in the middle of Coral Gables. 

What is your favorite collection or exhibit?

  • The Diago exhibit is dark and thoughtful and has so many layers to it and so many things to learn about inside it, but I am always drawn to the contemporary collection and its purposeful incohesiveness. It is just purely great art pieces. 

Portrait

Americanoom by CHRYSSA

I spoke to the receptionist, Maria Cardenas. She has been working at the Lowe Art Museum for over 8 years now. She does reception and assists in special events for the museum as well as training desk assistants. 

What is your favorite part of the museum right now?

  • I think the new temporary exhibition, Diago. I think all the concepts are very powerful, being a Latin American and being Cuban also, the meaning is very powerful and at the same time very political. I also love the contemporary pieces, they are always my favorite to look at. I love the Lichtenstien. I also love the Renaissance collection from the Kress Foundation. It is always quiet in there so I sit in there during breaks sometimes. 

Do you think it is beneficial having an art museum on a college campus?

  • Oh yes! Definitely. I think students are a really good point of view to have around art. Art is educational and the history of art has to be part of our education. Even if you are not interested in art or pursuing a career in art, it is still a good way to gain knowledge and be able to have conversations about art. For students who are studying art or are interested in art, the museum is a great way to get connected and meet people that are part of the art world. 

Summary

Overall, the Lowe Art Museum exceeded my expectations. Because of its size and location, I did not think there would be enough resources for it to be so interesting, but I was very wrong. The layout of the museum is well done, each collection has its own room and the special exhibition has ample space to truly feel special. Not only is the layout successful, but so is the content. The history of art is represented throughout the space and the diverse variety of pieces is endlessly intriguing. The staff is kind and engaged from what I experienced. Unfortunately, the location within a university makes foot traffic in the museum a little slow from outside visitors, but that is a blessing for those who want to spend time inside and really appreciate the art without feeling rushed or crowded. 

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