Ineffable Miami: Brickell by Alexis Rivera

Graphic by Alexis Rivera

Biography

Photography by Optical Abstractions

Alexis Rivera is a senior at Florida International University studying Advertising, Public Relations & Social Media Marketing. A Native New Yorker, she moved to South Florida in pursuit of her Bachelor’s degree. She is very involved in organizations at FIU and enjoys enhancing the experiences of attending undergraduate students. Alexis enjoys traveling, cooking, painting, trying different restaurants and going on spontaneous adventures with friends. Through this course, she hopes to expose others to the history and culture of the City of Miami. 

Geography

Along the coast of the Miami River sits Brickell, one of the fastest growing urban areas of Miami. It is located between the cities of Downtown Miami and Coconut Grove. This emerging neighborhood is also known as the Financial District of Miami. Home to extravagant high-rises and luxurious amenities there is so much to get into in Brickell. 

Only 1.19 mi², Brickell has a large amount of corporations operating out of buildings, residents residing in luxury condominiums, and retailers of all sorts. Buildings make up the majority of this area with the Miami River passing through the middle of it all. There are several dog parks and peaceful locations for people to lounge around. Waterways are accessible as well as pathways among the outskirts of the area among the waterfront view. 

Brickell Key is a man-made private island off of main Brickell and can be accessed by a bridge that connects both areas. It houses several luxury hotels and condominiums. The views of Brickell are impeccable whether you’re in the city or looking from a distance. 

History

Brickell’s earliest inhabitants are said to be the Tequesta Indians over 2,000 years ago when they lived in South Florida (McCaughan 2018). The Miami Circle, across from the Miami river is a circle of holes where a Tequesta Hut is said to have stood (McCaughan 2018). The first pioneers and homesteaders William and Mary Brickell came to the Miami River in 1871 (McCaughan 2018). They had a great deal of real estate holdings which included the Brickell that we know today as well as Coconut Grove. The family had opened a post office and trading post near the site of Fort Dallas (History of Brickell). 

Ft Dallas, photo by Alexis Rivera

Along with Julia Tuttle, Brickell’s contributed land to Henry Flagler’s railroad expansion (History of Brickell). When William Brickell passed away, Mary took over the family businesses’ and became known as one of the city’s most prominent real estate developers and managers (History of Brickell). After the construction of luxurious mansions along Brickell Avenue it was nicknamed “Millionaire’s row” during the 1900s (McCaughan 2018). These mansions were the homes to many upper-class high ranked individuals and families. Very few of the original mansions exist today. The Brickell’s sold land to developers and business people including industrialist James Deering who built his famously known home, Villa Vizcaya which is now a Museum and Garden (McCaughan 2018).  Around the 1970s, buidings’ including hotels, offices, corporate buildings and condominiums began replacing the mansions (History of Brickell). This is also around the time that Brickell became the main financial hub for Latin America (McCaughan 2018). The development of Brickell Key began in 1970 on a “spoil island” that Henry Flagler had dredged (McCaughan 2018). Developed by Swire, a Hong Kong company, it now houses a five-star hotel, and exclusive condominiums. 

In recent years, the urbanization of Brickell has increased drastically. It sits among the popular I-95 which makes travel along the east coast of the U.S. an easy journey. Brickell’s developers have built and completed Brickell City Centre, many of the high-rises that we admire from a distance and exclusive hotels. This area will only continue to grow as the future progresses. 

Demographics

Home to lawyers, business executives, celebrities and many other professionals Brickell is the place to be. Most Brickell residents fall into the high socio-economic status or upper class. The cost of living in Brickell is particularly high, even for Miami. 

Brickell Demographics Graph

The total population of Brickell is around 40,000 between the ages of 25 and 44 (Steele 2019). Males making up 49.04 percent of the population and females making up the other 50.96 percent (Brickell Demographics). Most residents are not originally from the United States. 35.37 percent are citizens born in the United States with 28.41 percent not born in the United States, but are citizens of the country (Brickell Demographics). It is quite interesting to see that the least amount of people who move to Brickell are from the State of Florida. Most people who moved originally resided in the area or came from the same country. Brickell’s demographic is predominantly hispanic and Caucasian (Brickell Demographics and Statistics.)  The average household income is $94,648.62 with a median household income $74,755.00 (Brickell Demographics). Those who are 25-64 years old living in Brickell make a median income of $86,000 a year. 

It is apparent that if you decide to reside in this wealthy neighborhood you should be prepared for a hefty cost of living. Yes, there is plenty to do and it is an ideal location that is close to the action of Miami, but you should consider if it is efficient for your pockets or family. 

Kaylan Burns, Brickell Resident

Kaylan Burns, New Jersey native, moved to Brickell in 2018. She is a graduate student at Florida International University in Campus Life working with the Student Programming Council and the Homecoming Council. She lives in a high rise right behind Brickell City Centre with two roommates. Her least favorite part of being a Brickell resident is the traffic! “Working at FIU, it used to take me about 40 minutes to travel 12 miles. Having various modes of transportation in Brickell allows you to get places much quicker.”  In 3 words describe the typical person that resides in Brickell. “Wealthy, always on the go, Happy-Hour Lovers!” Kaylan shares that “It is a young area, so it is easy to meet new people if you have just moved there. It is one of the best places I have ever lived.”

Landmarks

Brickell is the financial center of Miami sitting along the Miami River. You can spot its high rises and impeccable views from miles away. If you’re looking for an upscale hotel to spend the night in, luxury shopping destinations or high-end restaurants this is the place to be. 

The Miami Circle, photo by Alexis Rivera
Brickell City Centre, photos by Alexis Rivera

The Miami Circle: In the middle of high-rises and the superficial lifestyle, The Miami Circle sits among the Miami River located in Brickell. Discovered in 1998 during the demolition of the Brickell Point apartments. The Miami Circle is believed to be a prehistoric structure that was created by the Tequesta Indians (Miami Circle). Archaeologists uncovered bones, shells, and other prehistoric artifacts dating back to 2,000 years ago. The Tequesta were a Native American tribe that settled near Biscayne Bay. Due to unfortunate circumstances such as slavery, diseases and settlement battles agaisnt Europeans, the Tequesta tribe died out (Palm Beach County). Very little history has been recovered regarding the Tequesta tribe, but there has been evidence of their existence throughout Miami. On your next trip to Brickell, don’t forget to pay a visit to this historical landmark!

Brickell City Centre: Shop until you drop at the Brickell City Centre. 4.9 million square feet of high-end luxury retailers, dining locations, entertainment, and more in the heart of Brickell. Brickell City Centre was a $1 billion plan developed by Swire Properties Inc and completed in 2016 (Brickell City Centre).

Looking to splurge? There are four levels including stores such as Giuseppe Zanotti, Rolex, Zara, Apple and many others. Brickell City Centre also has dining options including Tacology and Pubbelly Sushi as well as a luxury Cinema Experience from CMX. You are bound to pass or walk through this shopping galore as you make your way through Brickell. 

Mary Brickell Village: It is apparent that Brickell is the place for your shopping needs. Mary Brickell Village is a popular shopping and dining destination for locals and those visiting the area. It was named after Mary Brickell, the woman who helped establish Brickell, hence the name. Mary Brickell Village has a range of bars that a great for happy hour after work or just to hang out at anytime of the week during your free time. 

Green

Brickell Park, Flickr

Although Brickell is made up of mostly high-rises, there are a few parks and green spaces for individuals to walk around, play with their dogs in and enjoy a bit of nature. While walking alongside the river, behind and beside the W Miami and Icon residences I noticed a few parks where residents take their dogs for walks. Canines of all sizes run around the grass with their light up collars for easy sightings. 

Take a stroll through Brickell park located on Brickell Avenue. It houses a mausoleum that belongs to the Brickell family. This mausoleum is preserved by the Historic Preservation Society of Miami (“Prime Brickell Parks to Exercise & Unwind”). On the opposite side of the park sits rocks and large boulders along a water-front view of Brickell Key. 

Views of Brickell Key, photo by Alexis Rivera

Another green space to get some fresh air in the busy city is Miami Circle Park or also known as Brickell point along the side of Icon Brickell. It is an archaeological site and home to the Miami Circle that is believed to be built by the Tequesta Tribe (“Prime Brickell Parks to Exercise & Unwind”). “This site is believed to be between 1700 and 2000 years old (“Prime Brickell Parks to Exercise & Unwind”). 

If you make your way over to Brickell Key, you can find Brickell Key Park located on the southern tip. It is a quiet waterfront location for anyone looking to relax in a peaceful surrounding area (“Prime Brickell Parks to Exercise & Unwind”)

Transportation

A major perk of living in a metropolitan area is access to a range of public transportation. Luckily Miami locals and residents of Brickell have several options to choose from to get around the modern high rises. Driving is always an option, but if you’re looking to save a few dollars and not have to fight for overly expensive parking you can choose to ride the bus, Trolly, Metrorail, Brightline, Metromover or event rent scooters (2017)

Scooters, Metrorail, Metrobus. Photo by Alexis Rivera

Metrobus: The bus fare starts at $2.25 per trip with over 1,000 buses that cover 90 routes within Miami. All Miami busses can be located in real time by using the Bus Tracker program. What is really convenient about the bus system is that some run up to 24 hours per day. The 102 bus connects Brickell Metrorail station, Brickell Business District, Rickenbacker Causeway, Miami Seaquarium, Crandon Park, Village of Key Biscayne, Cape Florida State Park (Metrobus).

Miami Metrorail Map

Looking for quicker means of transportation? The train is always an option! Visitors and locals have the option to choose from three, the Metrorail, Brightline or Metromover. 

Metrorail: Miami’s Metrorail is the transit system that connects various parts of Miami covering 25 miles. It is the “Subway system” of Miami. Starting at Dadeland South, the Metrorail goes as far as Palmetto and can even get you to Miami International Airport. 

Metromover: The Metromover operates 7 days a week between Downtown and Brickell. Metromover stops include Bayfront Park, Bayside, Freedom Tower, Museum Park and more. Did I forget to mention that the fare to ride the Metromover is FREE to all passengers!

Brightline: One of the NEWEST additions to Miami public transportation. The Brightline station is located in Government Center, which is only one stop away from Brickell. This train service connects Miami to Ft Lauderdale & West Palm Beach.  

For a more adventurous and exciting commute, you may want to consider a scooter rental or the trolley.

Scooters: Scooters have been appearing all around the Brickell area within the past year. They can be found scattered around the streets of the city. Although they are only permitted in certain parts of Downtown, they are an experience you should try! Popular companies such as Uber and Lyft have scooters which can be unlocked by using the app and scanning a barcode. 

Miami Tram: Traveling by Trolley is always an exciting experience. FREE for all passengers, the Trolley includes loops around Brickell and Downtown Miami. Operation times are 6:30 A.M. to 11 P.M (2017)

Food

Queso Fundido at Tacology, photo by Alexis Rivera

Food is one thing that manages to bring people together regardless of background or beliefs and Brickell knows the food scene all too well. It is home to many world-class dining locations with cuisines from all around. Individuals from all over the world visit Brickell to indulge in some of Miami’s most luxurious restaurants. There is somewhere to eat for all price ranges, but the best spots will cost you a pretty penny, so be prepared. 

While passing through Brickell on a Monday evening, one place that all the locals seemed to flock to was North Italia at Mary Brickell Village. There are several restaurants in this location including, but not limited to Candela Gastrobar, DIRT (for all of my health conscious people), & Eggs and Bakery. If you’re looking for a casual dining experience there are several local eateries such as La Sandwicherie, Tacology, B Bistro + Bakery, & Pubbelly Sushi. A great resource to finding the best restaurants with authentic reviews is the Yelp app that can be downloaded on your mobile device.

If you’re looking to celebrate an occasion, want a fine dining experience or want to splurge on a meal some of Brickell’s hot spots include Komodo, Truluck’s, NAOE, Crazy About You, & La Mar by Gaston Acurio. There is a restaurant that goes by the name “Dolores but You Can Call Me Lolita” that has rooftop dining as well as indoor. When you order an entree it comes with a free appetizer. Reservations are highly recommended for the restaurants listed as they are popular dining locations. 

Businesses

The second-largest financial hub outside of New York City, Brickell has the largest concentration of international banks in the United States (Steele 2019). Brickell is developing fast and has attracted individuals from around the world. You can find some of Miami’s most luxurious hotels and residential buildings in this area. Hotels include East located in Brickell City Centre, W Miami, SLS Brickell, Mandarin Oriental and more.

CMX Brickell City Centre, cmxcinemas.com

Looking for the perfect date location or want to have a unique experience? Head over to Brickell City Centre for a one of a kind cinematic experience. CMX, The VIP Cinema Experience is a luxe dine-in theater. Customers can pre-order tickets and pre-order their meals before the movie so that they’re not interrupted during the showing (“CMX Brings Luxury Cinema to Brickell City Centre”). This premium experience allows you to sip on your favorite cocktail while unwinding in reclining seats. CMX is definitely on my bucket list to try the next time I am in Brickell!

WeWork Brickell, photo by Brickell.com

If you are not familiar with WeWork, it is a coworking space for companies. Companies can rent private offices or desks’ to work and elevate their business. Brickell has a location right in the heart of the city. This is useful for companies that need space for a short amount of time or that don’t want to pay extreme prices to purchase their own office and upkeep it. 

Aside from the major banking corporations and hotels, Brickell has several local boutiques such as Studio LX, Atik, Basik, Blush and Go Run Miami (2016). These boutiques are perfect for any occasion and most of them are located at Mary Brickell Village except for Go Run Miami. 

 Summary

Being the financial district of Miami it definitely lives up to its reputation. Billions of dollars have been invested to build Brickell into what it is today and it is only growing. Upscale, lively and overpriced Brickell is for the elite and will continue to be a dream living location for many. It is a young and thriving area perfect for anyone making over $90,000 or more. You definitely get what you pay for when residing here. 

Brickell from above, photo by Alexis Rivera

Consider yourself looking for a more authentic, cultural area of Miami? Then Brickell may not be your top choice. There are many things to do, but they tend to not be price friendly for many. I could say Brickell needs cheaper options, but the cost of living is outrageous and I can only imagine the rent of a business space, so business prices are tailored to their demographic and area. 

If you have the budget for this white collar lifestyle and you’re visiting I would recommend staying in one of Brickell’s luxury hotels for a couple of nights. If you know that a stay in Brickell may negatively impact your pockets then I completely recommend checking airbnb for deals or staying in a surrounding part that won’t be an inconvenience to travel to Brickell from.

Work Cited

, https://www.miamidade.gov/transit/mobile/metrobus_routes.asp?routeID=102>.

“Brickell City Centre in Downtown Miami Area/Brickell Area, FL.” In Downtown Miami Area/Brickell Area, FL, https://www.miamiandbeaches.com/thing-to-do/shopping/brickell-city-centre/6554.

“Brickell Demographics.” Brickell Population & Demographics, Median Income – Point2 Homes, https://www.point2homes.com/US/Neighborhood/FL/Brickell-Demographics.html.

“Brickell Demographics and Statistics.” Niche, https://www.niche.com/places-to-live/n/brickell-miami-fl/residents/.

“Brickell’s Best Women’s Boutiques.” Brickell.com, 25 Oct. 2016, https://brickell.com/brickells-best-womens-boutiques/.

“CMX Brings Luxury Cinema to Brickell City Centre.” Brickell.com, 9 May 2017, https://brickell.com/cmx-brings-luxury-cinema-brickell-city-centre/.

“History of Brickell.” History of Brickell. Miami Partners Realty, http://miami-partners.com/blog-details.php?post=history-of-brickell.

McCaughan, Sean. “The History of Brickell: Miami’s Manhattan.” The BIG BUBBLE Miami, 10 Oct. 2018, https://thebigbubblemiami.com/2018/10/09/the-history-of-brickell-miamis-manhattan/.

Palm Beach County History Online, http://www.pbchistoryonline.org/middle-school-lessons/004-Tequesta/004-Tequesta1.htm.

“Prime Brickell Parks to Exercise & Unwind.” Brickell.com, 26 Mar. 2019, https://brickell.com/best-parks-in-brickell/.

Steele, Jeffrey. “Why Brickell Is Miami’s Fastest-Growing Neighborhood.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 29 Mar. 2019, https://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffsteele/2019/03/29/why-brickell-is-miamis-fastest-growing-neighborhood/#5cd98ada7cd0.

“The Best Methods of Brickell Transportation.” Plaza on Brickell, 15 May 2017, https://www.theplazaonbrickell.com/the-best-methods-of-brickell-transportation/.
Ugc. “Miami Circle.” Atlas Obscura, Atlas Obscura, 19 Jan. 2010, https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/miami-circle.

MIM Fall 2019 Service Project: Alexis Rivera

            As Mahatma Gandhi once stated, “ The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” Volunteering and giving back to the community has always been an incredibly rewarding feeling. It makes you self-reflect, grow and gives you a sense of purpose.

BSU gives back at Publix, Photo by Alexis Rivera

            I was able to serve by packaging meal boxes at both Publix and Feeding South Florida for families around the South Florida area. The FIU Black Student Union in partnership with 100 Black Men of America hosted “BSU Gives Back” on November 23 at Publix a few days before Thanksgiving. We packaged 1600 turkeys into boxes with various cans of produce to provide to families in need. When we first arrived I was assigned to help build the boxes that the groceries would be placed in. As time continued, I began assisting with placing turkey’s into boxes and passing the boxes to the table to have the cans of food added to each one. Once each box was done being prepped and sealed, they were loaded onto UPS trucks to be sent out around the area. This experience was extremely rewarding knowing that we were contributing to helping families enjoy their Thanksgiving holiday. We were joined by many people such as high school students and other community members during this day of service.

Volunteering at Feeding South Florida, Photo by Alexis Rivera

Feeding South Florida is a food bank that serves the Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade, and Monroe Counties. With fellow Miami in Miami classmate, Jessica Horsham, we went to the Pembroke Park Feeding South Florida location to package boxes of food for senior citizens. Every year Feeding South Florida distributes over 61,000,000 million pounds of food. This was an eye-opening experience considering that we were volunteering with people from around various parts of the area for different purposes, allowing us to converse and get to know others while we volunteered to pack meals. At the end of our wrap up, we learned that our group packaged 701 boxes in total which was also about 21,000 pounds worth of food.

            If we want to see change, we have to be the change. It is inspiring and humbling to learn what various organizations and nonprofits are doing to support those in need. I look forward to continue volunteering in the near future and encouraging those around me to do so as well.

Miami in Miami: Alexis Rivera

Welcome! My name is Alexis Rivera. I am a senior at Florida International University studying advertising, public relations & social media marketing. As a Native New Yorker, I grew up viewing Miami as the perfect place to vacation with clear waters and sunny beaches. Moving to South Florida for my undergraduate years has showed me that it is more than a vacation destination. I look forward to exploring Miami and learning about the history that tends to be overlooked and what has contributed to the evolvement of the city. One of my favorite parts of being an FIU student are the immense amount of opportunities I am provided with and the various ways I can get involved on campus. As a student who finds it difficult to thrive in a typical classroom setting, I am eager to explore and learn about the beautiful city of Miami through this course. The Miami in Miami course is a unique opportunity and will allow me to immerse myself in its history which many Miami residents are unfortunately unaware of.


Metro as Text

Public Transportation is an essential component to the daily life of a range of Miami residents, yet at the same time it is under utilized by many. Miami in Miami Metrorail day was designated to learning the progression of Miami and gain an understanding of the importance of utilizing the public transportation system. Throughout our various stops, we learned about the start and evolvement of Miami.

In 1513, Ponce De Leon’s expedition led him to encounter which is now known as the state of Florida. He sailed into Tequesta Bay which was the original name of today’s famous Biscayne Bay. Tequesta originates from one of  the first Native American Tribes that occupied the southeastern coast of Florida. Unfortunately, there are little to no remains of the Tequesta tribe due to the fact that they began dying out from diseases, slavery and battles when the Europeans settled on the land. 

As we continued our journey through Miami we made our first stop at the University of Miami Lowe Art Museum to discover the “Kress Collection” and the work of the famous Greek painter known as El Greco. Professor Bailly walked us through these historical paintings and explained the general background of Baroque art and how it related to the culture in Miami. Our second stop of the day was a brief visit to the Vizcaya Museum and Garden. Upon arrival we were greeted by a statue of the famous Ponce De Leon. Vizcaya was the estate of James Deering whom of which hosted guests from all around the globe, primarily from the states and European countries. This extravagant villa possessed “baroque esque” elements which tied into the art exhibit we previously visited. 

The Historical Overtown area of Miami was once a thriving location for the African American community. We briefly learned about the history of famous Overtown landmarks and made a visit to the historic Lyric Theater. We indulged in a meal at Jackson Soul Food where we were able to immerse ourselves in the culture through food. Our last stop of the day was at the Northside station where we had the opportunity to witness the original artwork of Purvis Young. Our first day of class was extremely eventful, interesting and engaging. Being able to take ourselves and walk through the city of Miami while learning about its history was a unique experience.


Downtown/Vizcaya as Text

This week in Miami in Miami we began class in the Government Center area of Downtown Miami. Not only is the Government Center another stop on the Miami Metrorail, but it is home to many of Miami’s governmental buildings. These buildings include, but are not limited to courthouses, commissioner offices, the mayor’s office and many more. As we approached this location, we encountered a piece of art also known as “Dropped Bowl with Scattered Slices and Peels” by Claes Oldenberg. This piece of art related to the state of Florida because of the orange symbol. The vibrant installation showcased orange peelings and pieces scattered throughout that area. 

Fort Dallas

Following our Government Center stop, we headed towards the River and visited Lummus Park. Lummus Park is now home to Fort Dallas which used to be located on the opposite side of the River. Fort Dallas was a military base and sleeping grounds for many military members during the Seminole Wars. Prior to the military taking over, Fort Dallas was once the home to slaves as well as a courthouse. It was quite interesting to hear the various transitioning’s of this property.

Vizcaya Museum

The final stop of our journey brought us to Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, the once estate of businessman James Deering. The Deering family accumulated their immense amount of wealth from their harvesting company. Villa Vizcaya is a monumental piece of Miami’s history, designed and influenced to resemble European structures and art. Each room in the villa has it’s own unique influence and purpose with a great amount of detail incorporated into it as well.

Deering As Text

As we continue to learn about the City of Miami, I came to the realization of how many historical and monumental locations are located within the county. In Miami in Miami, we continue to learn about the Deering family and their impact on the development of this city. The Deering Estate was once the home of the famous Deering family. Previous to their arrival the land of the estate was the home to many Native tribes such as far back as the Tequestas.

 For anyone visiting or living in Miami, you and they are very much aware of the fact that there are no mountains or major hills to be found. Although, the Deering Estate is actually located on an elevation that is 25 feet above sea level that is known as the Miami Rock Ridge. Deering has an immense amount of hiking trails and ways to explore the natural resources that are present on the premises. 

Individuals from all over the world have the opportunity to visit the Deering Estate and partake in the various activities that are available to do. These activities include those such as historic tours, kayak tours, art exhibits, wellness activities and so much more. Personally, I think it is rather unique that the Deering Estate is home to many diverse activities and not just a “museum tour” as many other famous locations are. It was placed alongside the Biscayne Bay, making water very accessible then and now. With amazing views and so much to learn, Deering Estate should be a top must visit location for those who come to visit Miami.

Chicken Key as Text

Chicken Key, Miami, FL

Deering Estate, original home to Charles Deering sits alongside the calm waters of Biscayne Bay. A bright and early Wednesday morning, Miami in Miami gathered to begin the day canoeing to Chicken Key to clean up the mangroves. Mangroves are an important  and essential factor to the South Florida environment, wild, & marine life. 

The purpose of mangroves are to protect shorelines from waves and hurricane winds. They also serve as a nursery location for animals such as sharks, shrimp, fish and many more types of wild life. Our goal for the day was to fill as many canoes as possible with trash and debris collected from Chicken Key and the mangroves that surrounded it. It was apparent that various groups of individuals find their way to the key to relax, drink and take part in other activities. While it may be a fun time, it is essential for people to remember the impact that leaving their trash has on the environment. During our clean up, we found items such as old shoes, alcoholic beverage bottles, small pieces of glass, plastic containers of all sizes, hundreds of bottle caps and many more pieces of waste. 

Although it was a long day, it was a rewarding experience to know that we would have a positive impact of the home of some of South Florida’s wildlife. At one point, we were greeted by a raccoon whom appeared several times in search of food. It was quite an experience to interact as closely as we did and respect the fact that this was it’s home. After a long, eventful day, we made our way back to the shore of Deering Estate with piles of trash ready to dispose of. 

Wynwood As Text

Art. It is vibrant, it is minimal, it is bold, it tells a story, it is creativity in various mediums, it is everything. Art has served as a creative outlet for many since the beginning of time. Its concept is what connects the world and intertwines cultures. Miami is home to some of the world’s best contemporary art galleries. Unfortunately, many are unaware of this fact. 

De La Cruz Collection

Being able to step foot in both the The Margulies Collection and The De La Cruz Collection was an honor. What made it an even better experience was having the opportunity to meet and hear from the owners of the collections. There are two ways to observe art pieces. One is to see visually, by looking at a piece and determining whether you like it’s aesthetic.The second is to understand analytically and recognize the story behind a piece then formulating an opinion. This experience broadened my mindset and made me more aware of the importance of art. Each collection was unique in its own way and held pieces that have been created by extremely talented and monumental artists from around the world. My mouth dropped in awe and my eyes widened as big as the sun while walking around the collections. It was the stories, creativity and reasoning behind why the collectors themselves decided to add specific pieces to their collections. 

It is important that we educate our community and loved ones on topics such as art so that they are aware and learn to understand the importance and value of it. Living in Miami for the past three years I was unaware of what was around us and available for us to explore. In the near future I plan on visiting the collections again and discovering the rest of what Miami has to offer!

HistoryMiami as Text

The United States was built on blood, sweat, and tears.. literally. It is unfortunate that the people who built this country get no respect, no representation, and an enormous lack of recognition because of the color of their skin. The HistoryMiami Museum navigated us through the start of the City of Miami through the development that bring us where we are today.

Eager to learn about Miami through this museum, I found myself a bit disappointed regarding the lack of information about the minorities that built this city. Imagine being taken from your home under horrible circumstances, forced to do labor in the worst of conditions, and being seen as a piece of property that could be sold, bought, or traded instead of being seen as a human being. This doesn’t even begin to describe the extremitities of slavery. The exhibition in HistoryMiami that discussed and showcased slavery was very minimal and confined to one small glass case. Thankfully, the HistoryMiami Educator Maria Moreno was phenomenal at addressing social and cultural issues head on and expanding our knowledge on topics further than what was presented throughout the exhibits. By 1920, American and Bahamian blacks made up 31% of Miami’s population. Many played a drastic role in the development of Miami.

Jumping ahead, an exhibit that I believe would have been extremely interesting to have in HistoryMiami is how Miami became the “Drug Capital of the World.” It was a very historical time that had a major impact on Miami and the world. Exploring Miami has been an interesting journey filled with information that I was previously unaware of, especially considering I grew up in another state. I definitely look forward to visiting again to learn more about Miami’s history and visiting the temporary exhibits that are featured at the museum.

Art Miami as Text

Art Basel, it is the time of the year where people from around the world, artists, art collectors, galleries, celebrities, and art enthusiasts get together to view contemporary art from the world’s leading galleries. Miami hosts a range of art shows and events throughout the week all dedicated to the celebration and appreciation of art. 

The first stop of the day was Untitled,Art Fair in Miami Beach. Untitled, Art is an international art fair that focuses on various forms of contemporary art. One gallery that we had the opportunity to visit and hear from was Gallery 1957, an Accra-based contemporary art gallery. Gallery 1957’s director, Victoria Cooke gave us a tour and informed us of the work of the three artists being showcased whom of which are Joana Choumali, Godfried Donkor and Simphiwe Mbunyuza. After grabbing a quick bite, we made our way to Downtown Miami to the globally recognized Art Miami fair. Art Miami is a majority secondary art market, displaying works from prominent artists such as Andy Warhol, Pablo Picasso, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Kehinde Wiley and more. Artist, Mira Maylor took a moment to discuss her pieces “Freedom Project” with the class and get into deeper context of the story and purpose behind her work. 

As we step into the world of art, it is important to ask questions and be informed on the stories behind not only the pieces, but the artists’ themselves. A piece may be appealing to the eye, but to understand the underlying meaning of the work makes it even more impactful. The immense amount of history and art this course has exposed me to has been extremely eye-opening. It has made me aware and taught me to look beyond a surface level perspective.