ASC Who Art Miami 2020: Carolina Machin

“My goal is that whoever collects my work, is conscious that these neighborhoods are being erased. Whether it hangs in a doctor’s office or living room, the painting is there to tell a story.”

Eddie Aroyo

Student Bio

My name is Carolina Machin and I am currently a junior at Florida International University studying communications and political science on the pre-law track through the Honors College. I work as a legal assistant as well as serve as a senator for the FIU Student Government and a Peer Mentor on campus. I one day hope to become an attorney advocating for the voice of those that are not heard in my community. As a child I grew up in a Cuban-American family and the hardships I faced are what inspired my career aspirations. I enjoy giving back to my community and traveling whenever I can. I have been able to see some beautiful pieces of work not only around the world but also in my own community within Miami. Through Professor Bailly’s course I have completed service and traveled within my own city. In this specific task I was able to interview a creator whose art is inspired by some of his own experiences with the Cuban culture in Miami. I will continue to use the skills I have gained from this course in any area of study I move on to.

Biography

Photo of Eddie Arroyo published by the New York Academy of Art.

Growing up, Eddie Arroyo was surrounded by the Cuban exile community as he lived in Little Havana. He was witness to the change that his neighborhood saw with the arrival of these refuges. Arroyo noted that many moved out and left to other regions of the state because they felt overpowered by the Cuban community. This time in the 1980s was a time with much political tension and much uncertainty regarding what the city would look like moving forward. Coming from Peruvian and Colombian parents, Arroyo was not from Cuban decent and tried very hard not to be confused with someone that was in order to avoid getting picked on. Learning English quickly and even adopting some derogative terms such as “reffy” to playfully name call were just some of his attempts to assimilate. These memories are especially crucial in his childhood and continue to be in adult life. Continuing his education, Arroyo studied at FIU to receive his bachelors degree. During his time at the university he created bonds with professors who would ultimately help him with his career even a decade later. John Bailly was in specific, was especially influential to Arroyo. He provided his students Yale practices at FIU. A very intense professor with a curriculum that challenged Arroyo to take his skills to the next level. In 2001 he received his bachelor’s degree from FIU and began to pursue an art career full time. It was at his first art exhibition at a small gallery, that Arroyo realized the lack of connections he had within the art community. This is when his passion for art journalism began, with writings, criticism, and visiting openings.

“One thing you didn’t want to be as a Spanish speaking person was a ‘ref’. I tried to assimilate and speak English well to not be perceived as someone who just got here on a boat, another derogative term. It shows how social systems function when you’re very young.”

Eddie Arroyo

Personal Identity

Growing up, as discussed in the previous section, Arroyo was conflicted with how he would be perceived as a Spanish speaker. He wanted to make it known that he was not Cuban although he did speak Spanish. Because of this he did what he could to assimilate to American culture in Miami. During this time the Mariel boatlift was going on and this impacted his childhood due to the dynamic in his community, Little Havana. He grew up in this neighborhood although many chose to leave, and to this day his work is heavily influenced by that. Arroyo is conscious of this fact. Although not completely conscious of the things that influence him because he recognizes that there are many strings that pull on us and we don’t even notice, but he tries his best to be aware of the things that have affected his personal identity.

Image taken by Eddie Arroyo, image can be found on his website

Living in Little Haiti, he interacts with his community and doesn’t simply use his home as an incubation space because of the affordable cost of living. Interacting with his community continues to influence him in making new work and his neighborhood is commonly seen in his most popular pieces. Arroyos personal identity has been influenced by his community from his early childhood memories until today. Living in the same city has helped him view the changes and reactions that the city has in the face of adversity. Through an economic recession and now perhaps another one, Arroyo will continue to document how all of these things impact the area that surrounds him.

Cultural Identity

Arroyos personal identity is very much a part of what makes his personal identity. Whether it be growing up in little Havana, coming from south American parents, or trying to assimilate into the American culture, all of these cultural aspects shaped who he is and what he creates. Identifying with many artistic movements, influence is a big part of his identity as an artist. One specific historical influence being Edward Hopper. When Arroyo was tasked with creating his exhibit at the Whitney in New York, he began to apply the great question of “What is American art?” in his own work but this time being “What is Miami art?” This technique helped him approach what art is today and more specifically what is American about Miami. Through his work Arroyo hopes that he is able to answer these big questions. This is one of the reasons why he chooses to document gentrification, it not only shows what’s happening in Miami but also what’s happening in America.

“What is Miami art? What does Miami have to offer the world? I used Edward Hoppers technique and approach into really answering what is America today? and what is American about Miami? Through my work I hope people get the answers to that.”

Eddie Arroyo
Image of Arroyo’s exhibit in the 2019 Whitney Biennial. Image taken by Ben Davis and found on artnet news.

Subject of Artwork

Photo by Eddie Arroyo, can be found on his Artsy page. This mural no longer exists.

Through Arroyos paintings he depicts gentrification and the toll that it takes on communities, especially in Miami. Many of the his most successful paintings are actually of buildings that no longer exist. Through this he hopes to bring gentrification into the conversations of those viewing his work. Growing up in Little Havana and now living in Little Haiti, these are two of the most affected communities by gentrification. Many people choose to live in these areas because of the affordable housing yet with gentrification the cost of living continues to rise in these areas specifically. Arroyo has been successful in doing this in my opinion. It especially seems evident by the praise he has received and coverage he has gotten on multiple platforms from all around the country. The more successful he becomes as an artist, the more he will help inform people on the realities of gentrification. Although his inspiration for covering this topic is his own community here in Miami, gentrification is a real issue all around America. This ultimately leads back to his answer on what Miami art offers to the rest of the world. In Arroyos work alone, Miami is offering the world perspective on gentrification in a city mostly comprised of minorities.  

Formal Elements of Artwork

Arroyo makes use of formal elements of artwork through lighting and color. He uses formal elements in the most reductive way possible. In a way, this is why he believes that his paintings will likely find their home in a doctor’s office or above couches in someone’s living rooms. The paintings are not necessarily meant to challenge people on the surface. When Arroyo started painting things like landscape and portraits weren’t something people wanted to do. His work is high concept but the way that he presents it is not. Once he became aware that one way or another his paintings would end up being displayed in places like doctor’s office, he wanted there to be a meaning behind them. The lighting is about depicting a mood of a subversive thing happening through the work. If he paints a building that doesn’t exist for economic reasons, whoever collects the work, Arroyo want them to be conscious that the exact building in the painting is in the transition of being erased. You may go into an office one day and he hopes that the owner shares that the building no longer exists. Since the beginning of time painting has been there to present a narrative.

“We tell stories through art, cave paintings or high concept taped bananas, there’s a story within that particular art piece. All art is a launching pad for a good story in my opinion.”

Eddie Arroyo

Exhibition and Project History

Arroyo has exhibited his work in several galleries and museums but the most recent being the Whitney Museum in New York. Other than the Whitney he also has seen his work in the Girls’ Club Collection, Bridge Red Studios, Art and Culture Center of Hollywood, Florida Atlantic University, Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum, and the Little Haiti Cultural Complex. Through these exhibitions as well as his many lectures that he has given around the country, he continues to spread his message on gentrification. Arroyo is painting history in Miami that applies to a problem being faced in many other places. Presenting historical paintings that don’t highlight larger than life leaders, but rather the common man protesting something in his own city. One of my favorite pieces by Arroyo depict citizens protesting in front of a sign that reads “Be Unpredictable, Be Real, Be Interesting, Tell A Good Story!” I think it’s almost magical how well this quote that was already on that building wall fits with the painting. The citizens are being real, interesting and this painting tells an amazing story. This draws me to find out more about what the story behind the painting is and what is happening. If every person has this same reaction when they see one of Arroyos pieces, I think he has achieved his goal as an artist.

Image by Eddie Arroyo, can be found on his website.

Student Perspective

Through my interview with Eddie Arroyo, I gained a new perspective on art and its creation. Art doesn’t need to be a very upscale or exclusive thing. It can simply be a painting that you create and see it going in a doctor’s office. If someone learns something when they see it at their doctor’s office, then you have informed one more person on an issue that is important to you. Eddie himself was extremely approachable, even meeting with me virtually on a weekend due to the pandemic currently happening. Not only that, I was the second student he allowed to interview him for this project. Arroyo not only provided me with a perspective on his childhood in Little Havana but also on the Cuban-American community that I had never thought about. As a Cuban-American myself, I always worried what Cubans felt when coming to a new country and the struggles they faced. I never thought about how non-Cubans were being affected by the amount of people that were immigrating into Little Havana specifically. My mother lived in Little Havana when she first came to American and it was around the same time that Arroyo describes. In just one interview I learned so much about art, gentrification, exiles and the life of those around them. In the future, Arroyo hopes to continue working on his advocacy work through his art in order to continue to make a difference in his own community.

Eddie Arroyo pictured in an interview with the Perez Art Museum Miami, can be found on Youtube.

**All images not taken by Carolina Machin have been hyperlinked accordingly

**All direct quotes were made by Eddie Arroyo on the date of his interview with Carolina Machin on March 28th, 2020

ASC 2020 Service Project: Carolina Machin

Student Bio

Hi there! My name is Carolina Machin and I am currently a junior studying communications and political science on the pre-law track. I currently work at a law firm as well as hold leadership positions on campus in hopes of building myself up as an applicant when applying to law school. Through Professor Bailly’s course I have been able to look at Miami through different eyes as well as develop greater critical thinking skills when observing our society.

Who

Faces have been covered for privacy. All pictures are my own. CC by 4.0

Ever since my freshman year of high school, I have devoted myself to what I call my own non-profit. “Tu y Yo Si Podemos” is a program I started in order to teach pre-k students English before entering elementary school. I tutored at a learning center, Lil Pirates Learning Center, where majority of students were hispanic in low socioeconomic status.

Why

Faces have been covered for privacy. All pictures are my own. CC by 4.0

I chose this specific volunteering project because growing up I personally struggled with learning the English language. When I first entered primary schooling I was placed in an ESOL program because I never had any sort of English lessons prior. In order to help children not face the challenges that I did when I began kindergarten, I created this program and have proudly helped over 10 students assimilate smoothly into the school system. This cause related closely to my passions as well because as an attorney in the future I hope to practice family law and always continue to give back to the community.

How

Faces have been covered for privacy. All pictures are my own. CC by 4.0

I connected with this opportunity by researching and then meeting with a few different learning centers while I was in high school. I spoke to them about my project and many directors seemed to be interested in what I could offer their students although there were a few rude institutions that were just bumps in the road. I ultimately decided to stay at this particular learning center because the environment was exactly what was necessary for my volunteering. The children were so open to learning and the teachers supported me in anything I needed.

Where & What

Throughout the course of my volunteering, the specific things that I have done have changed. Originally I would visit once a week because I was young and could not drive myself. Then I was able to move up to a few times a week and now while in college I visit 1-2 times a week, a few hours each visit. I start off my lessons with the children 1:1. We work on flash cards, learning basic things like colors and shapes in English as well as counting. After I finish the individual lessons, I like to finish with a short story where I read to all of them together. This subliminally reminds them that they’re all going through the same process as well as helps them put together the things that are learning into understanding what the book is about. This is more or less what is looks like on a weekly basis for me. This semester specifically, I have been able to devote more time every visit due to the way my class schedule is laid out. I hope to continue this project for the years to come and eventually pass it down to someone just as passionate.

When

Summary

Overall, my experience through this project has been one of the most rewarding things I have ever done. Getting to see the improvement that children make so quickly when learning a new language has shown me that with determination anything is possible. Although not everything is always picture perfect, the hard days make every virtue even greater. I hope to continue this project in order to impact the lives of others, even if its only one person.

ASC Fall 2019 See Miami: Carolina Machin

The Deering Estate

Biography

Carolina Machin is a sophomore at Florida International University studying Communications with a minor in Political Science and completing a certificate in Pre-Law Skills and Professional Values. She served as the Public Relations chair for FIU Homecoming, a current Peer Mentor, as well as SGA Senator and sister of a Greek organization. With an ultimate goal of attending law school, Carolina currently works as a legal assistant at a corporate litigation firm in Coral Gables. On her free time she enjoys hanging out with friends and family and planning her next adventure. Having traveled on many occasions to Europe for cultural trips, she is fascinated by making connections to these art works in her own city.  A lover of all things historical, learning the history behind many of the places she visits in Miami has made her semester one to remember. More than anything, Carolina hopes to continue in her pursuit of knowledge and never stop learning. Through her coursework in the Honors College she has been able to explore new sides to her own city while also becoming enriched by the history of art in the world as a whole.

Geography

The Deering Estate can be found in Miami-Dade county east of Old Cutler Road and 168th street. The most convenient way to access by highway would be the Florida Turnpike or US-1. If visiting locally, it can be accessed by Old Cutler Road. The Estate lies comfortably along the coast in South Dade and is a beautiful combination of different types of landscapes. It sits atop the geological foundation of the Miami Rock Ridge and has an elevation of over 25 feet above sea level. The estate offers its visitors a unique experience with sinkholes, caves and solution holes. The wonderful conservation efforts of the property have made it a welcoming home for many types of animals. The island of Chicken Key is also located only one mile away from the Deering Estate and adds yet another opportunity for visitors to enjoy a scenic visit. Also featuring 87 acres of pine rock land, many locally as well as federally endangered species call this area their home. The Richmond Cottage as well as the Stone House both sit in a beautiful spot on the land with views of the Biscayne Bay and the hiking trails. Overall, the estates location make it a unique combination of natural resources and breath-taking architecture.

History

The Deering Estate is the 1920s era home of Charles Deering, built by Charles Deering and the Richmond family. Samuel Richmond built his family a pioneer home on the property in 1896 and then in 1900 an additional property was built for the public known as the Richmond Hotel. The Richmond Hotel was actually the first hotel to be built between Coconut Grove and Key West. Before Deering arrived to the property, it had already been hosting humans continuously for over 10,000 years. This included the Tequesta and Paleo-Indians as well as Seminoles. In 1916 Charles Deering purchased the Richmond Hotel and renovated it in order for it to become a winter home for him and his wife Marion. Over the following years, Deering implemented a restoration of the natural environment of the area.  In 1922 Charles Deering built the Stone House in order to showcase his art collection. In order to do this he contacted notable architect Phineas Paist and built this fireproof structure that would house his art from Spain, New York, and Chicago. Deering passed away in 1926 and the estate remained the property of his heirs until 1986 when it was purchased by the State of Florida.  

Mission

The mission of the Deering Estate isn’t officially listed anywhere but the mission statement of the Deering Estate Foundation is “To raise public awareness, outreach, understanding and the enjoyment of the Deering Estate and to raise funds to support education, research, exhibits and collections, natural conservation and historical restoration and preservation.” (Deering Estate Foundation). This statement simply and cohesively puts together what it is that the foundation and the Deering Estate as a whole hope to do. Through plenty of programming, conservation efforts, and hard work they are able to accomplish these goals. The first sentence of the mission statements encompasses what it is that the estate is wishing to accomplish and in the second sentence it is more directly reflecting the goals of the foundation. The foundation is what continues to help fund all the amazing things that happen at the estate and keep it a prevalent location for art restoration and preservation. The Deering Estate and its employees work hard every day to stay true to this statement and keep it a place that adds rich value to our community.

Access

The Deering Estate is located east of cutler road and 168th street. Although there is no direct stop at the Deering Estate, it can still be accessed through public transportation by taking the MetroRail and then the MetroBus.  There is also a bike path leading to the Deering Estate that stretches 11 miles for those who would prefer to bike to the estate. Open every single day except Christmas and Thanksgiving, members of the community can come enjoy the property almost every day of the year. The hours of operation are a bit limited, open from 10 AM to 5PM and no admissions after 4 PM. This makes the estate not accessible during the week for those that work a traditional 9-5 job, although many special events take place passed regular operating hours. The fee for admission is $15 for adult and $7 for youth ages 4-14. There is no discount available for students but military and seniors receive $2 off on Tuesdays. This isn’t a huge discount and is restricted to only one day of the week. However, citizens of Miami Dade County can receive a pass for 4 free entries from their nearest Miami Dade Public Library branch, making the property accessible to those who cannot afford the admission. Members of the Deering Estate Foundation enjoy free entry to the estate. A general membership for one adult is $50 a year and students receive a discount on yearly memberships making it only $15 a year. This is a great discount that the estate offers and leaves a yearly membership at the same price of one day entry for students. Military discounts are not offered for the general membership and Florida residents don’t receive discounts on admission or general memberships. The general membership includes great benefits additionally to the free admission such as free entry to select special events, guided tours, discounts on personal photography, and a quarterly calendar.

Collections

Once housing South Florida’s most valuable art collection, Deering’s collection boasted pieces from El Greco, Zuluaga, Sorolla, and Padilla just to name a few. After his death, his art went to his two daughters and in 1927 most of it was donated to the Art Institution of Chicago. Since 1985 when the State of Florida purchased the property, the Deering family has made several donations of antiques and valuable artwork. Three large scale portraits as well as Marion Deering’s silverware. Some other pieces are displayed around the home aiding the visitors in picturing what is was like to be Charles Deering living in the estate at the time. One that caught my attention was Charles’ collection of antique Spanish ironwork. Displayed in glass casing, visitors can view three pieces of this ironwork that were likely used to restore and furnish his Spanish estates. The home makes it an immersive experience for its visitors by showcasing the pieces in appropriate rooms as you walk through. By the end of your visit, the permanent collections make you feel as if you got a full view on what it was like to be Charles Deering in the 1920s.

Exhibitions

The Deering Estate offers contemporary and historic exhibits for its visitors in order to continue supporting their mission. Currently, the Estate presents Material Nature. An exhibition with works created by Alex Nuñez and Julie Davidow. Both of these painters are based in Miami and their works are highly inspired by nature.  Alex Nunez had a residency at the Deering Estate and this inspired her large abstract paintings. Her research and experiences at the estate are portrayed in her works.  Julie Davidow’s work further exemplifies the Deering Estate as a preserve that also incorporates the fusion of ecology with contemporary art.

The Estate is also currently showcasing its Historic Holiday Décor. During the month of December, visitors from all over visit the Estate the experience this historic décor inspired by the 1920s. It is an annual tradition that features the work of artists such as Alfredo Brito. Each room has a theme and is meticulously put together to create a complete holiday experience for its visitors. As a visitor, these rooms left me mesmerized and I wandered through each of them several times. Each time I found something I had not noticed before. The amount of detail and time put into each of these rooms left me in awe and transported me to a 1920s Christmas. I saw visitors young and elderly alike enjoying the yearly exhibit and it truly brought he Stone House together.

Special Programs

Probably what impressed me the most about the way that the Deering Estate functions is the amount of emphasis the put on their special programs and events. Not only do they have over 10 educational programs, they also offer more than seven ways to get involved in conservation and host several events on a daily basis. The Deering Estate truly goes out of its way to educate the community and offer something for everyone to enjoy.

I had a unique perspective on the special programs offered the Estate due to the fact that I chose to do my art service hours volunteering at one of these events. The event that I saw first-hand was the Mistletoe & Martinis annual fundraiser for the Deering Foundation. With a silent auction that was to raise thousands for the foundation, and all tickets being sold out, this was just one example of how successful these events at the estate are. Weeks of detailed planning all led to this successful night all for a great cause in raising funds for the foundation.

Visitor

At first when I arrived to the estate I was nervous about having to approach a random visitor to ask them about their experience. But once I arrived this all changed. Everyone that I met was so welcoming and made conversation with me without me having to approach them. I met one visitor in particular named Rose Mendoza. She was there with her third-grade class and shared their excitement about the visit with me. The wonder that these students feel walking in on their yearly trip warmed my heart and reminded me of how much children benefit from cultural experiences rather than being tied to a tablet or phone all day. She also shared that visiting the estate during the Christmas time has become a yearly tradition in her family in order for them to view the historic décor. The Deering Estate is not just somewhere she goes for a work fieldtrip but also somewhere she chooses to bring her family. This was a true example of how the estate has something to offer people of all ages and can be a tradition in many ways. Whether that be a yearly trip during the holiday season or a yearly fieldtrip at your school. The Estate was owned by families for many years and meeting this visitor proved that to this date it still continues to unite groups of all types.

Portrait

When it came to interviewing an employee, I chose to do this during my time volunteering in order to make it a more immersive and genuine conversation. While volunteering I met over 10 of the staff members at the Deering Estate who were working on putting together a yearly event for the foundation. These individuals truly cared about the cause and worked tirelessly in the hot sun to make the event a success. I was marveled when I heard form one of the employees assigned to this event that she had her grandchildren drive down from Tallahassee, FL to volunteer and help her set up. I found the employees passion and drive to be inspiring and a great reflection of how the estate must treat their workers. I got to interview and converse with Michelle Streit who is the director of special events.

We spoke about how long the planning of this event took and she shared with me that everything is planned down the smallest details and just the tablescapes took two weeks to perfect. Her perspective as an employee at the deering is much more on the managerial side as her role is to make the programing a success. She taught me many thing about putting together a special event and her biggest advice was to always keep pushing forward. If something doesn’t work out, find an alternative and keep the show going. We can’t give up when an issue arises, we must find solutions in order to assure the success of these programs. Her drive is a great representation of that of all the employees I cam across. Thanks to them, the Deering Estate will continue to be a successful cultural destination for all those who visit.

Summary

All in all, the Deering Estate left me impressed with how detail orientated everything seemed as well as the variety of special programs and the strong character of its employees. I do think that the Stone House should be slowly brought back to the power house of art that it once was. There are only two current exhibitions and a few permanent pieces. Through their exceptional foundation events and programing I think this goal could very well be achieved over time. With its blend of elegant architecture and natural wonders, the Deering Estate should be a place that every Floridian experiences at least once. I look forward to continuing to visit as well as sharing the wonders this place has to offer with everyone I can. The Deering Estate brings pride to our country and is a unique piece of history in our own backyard.

References

https://www.mdpls.org/museum-pass/museum-pass.asp

https://www.miamidade.gov/parks/deering-estate.asp

https://www.trailoffloridasindianheritage.org/deeringestat

ASC Fall 2019 Service Project: Carolina Machin

The Deering Estate

For my Art Service project I decided to go out of my way and contact almost every institution listed on Professor Bailly’s list. To my surprise, I had a lack of responses. Out of all the institutions/ galleries that I emailed I only received about four responses. This came as a shock to me as I had assumed that institutions would be open to having members give back to the community through voluntary work. Out of the responses that I did receive, many of them required lengthy background screenings and selection processes. One of the few exceptions to this being the Deering Estate. I received a response from them very quickly with a list of possible volunteering opportunities and they made the entire process very welcoming as a whole.

Gardening and Weeding

My first project volunteering for the Deering Estate was gardening and weeding. I was tasked with clearing the stone on the perimeter of the estate from weeds as well as walking around and cleaning up any weeds I may come across in the area surrounding the cottage. I enjoyed this work as the fruit of my labor was seen instantly as I cleared more and more of the area but it was very labor intensive and I was only able to do this for about three hours. I will be looking forward to returning to do more possible gardening at the estate in the near future.

Mistletoe & Martinis

My second project at the Deering Estate was helping with all of the preparations of their annual holiday celebration. This has to be my favorite volunteer opportunity I have participated in college and I genuinely enjoyed getting to see the event planning side of the estate. I was tasked with setting up over 200 chairs as well as tables and decorating the inside ballrooms with a large Christmas village. We worked long hours both indoors and outdoors as well as collaborated with vendors from all over that were sponsors of this event.

I also got to help in preparing the silent auction where all proceeds benefit the Deering Estate Foundation. It was a great learning experience seeing the estate be transformed into a gala night. The team that I worked with was very welcoming and included me in every step of the way on the day of the event. My opinions were highly appreciated, and I was able to make a few influential changes to the setup of the event. All in all, it was a very successful event with all tickets being sold out. Knowing I had a small part in making it all come together was a great feeling.

Art Society Conflict: Carolina Machin

Hi everyone! My name is Carolina Machin and I am currently a sophomore studying communications and political science on the pre-law track. I have enjoyed taking courses through the Honors College and cant wait to see what a year in Professor Bailey’s class will teach me. I currently work as a legal assistant and hope that my academic and professional experiences will help me on my road to one day becoming an attorney. On campus I enjoy being involved and doing more than just going to class. I am the public relations chair for Homecoming, the Vice President of Development for my sorority as well as an SGA Senator and Peer Mentor. On my free time, I enjoy hanging out with my friends as well as reading and discussing prevalent topics in our society. I come from a big Cuban family and their experiences have helped me truly value my chance at an education. I have lived in Miami all my life and look forward to learning more about the culture in our city through this course. Cant wait for the next year together!

Deering As Text

As we embarked on our journey toward the Deering Estate, I wondered what would lie ahead for me. Would I just be visiting a pretty house near the water? Would I be getting uncomfortably close to some unknown bugs? The day could only tell. As I pulled up my car on the gravel road and saw myself surrounded by trees I began to question even more. Being from Miami Lakes, near Broward, I had never been to the Deering Estate and only heard of it from my sister who had visited a couple weeks before. It truly was a hidden treasure my entire life.

The day began, and we were off on a brisk hike, I had never been hiking and when professor Bailey said we would be I never imagined it would be something truly so authentic. I imagined an easy paved road and I was given a bumpy muddy one. Being a person with many allergies, being told that we would encounter lots of poison oak and ivy was concerning. But yet, I embarked with an excited feeling in my chest. I had to climb over, under, and around all sorts of plants and branches. After a good 20 or so minutes of hiking we arrived. The Paleo-Indian archeological site was one of the most interesting things I have experienced. Knowing that only 500 people have been able to experience this made it even more magical. The conch shell was one of the most marveling ones as it is actually quite similar to the tools we still use to this day and was practical when Professor Bailey put it in the ground.

After an interesting discussion on the site, we hiked back and headed to lunch. After a much needed break from the hiking we embarked on our second and last adventure of the day. This one was definitely on a much more paved road but it was just as challenging as the first as the bugs were for some reason very active that afternoon. We got to make several interesting pit stops and finally made it to our last destination. We walked over a wooden path and arrived at a mesmerizing site. It’s amazing to think that the Tequesta, although so far ago, shared customs with us. These burial grounds may look a bit different that your typical one today but the similarities were ever present. Their religions and customs kept them united then and continue to keep society united today.

All in all, this experience was something that will be engraved in my mind forever. Yes I did visit a pretty house, but I also did much more than that. And yes I might have left with five bites on my face but it was such a small price to pay for the knowledge and perspective that came at its cost. The Deering Estate should be visited at least once by every person who identifies with Miami as their home in order to truly understand our history.

Wynnwood As Text

Through our visits to the De la Cruz and Margulies collections, I have truly gained a new perspective on art. What I would like to focus on in fact, isn’t even the art anymore. But yet, its collectors. I always had this idea of art collectors, rich pretentious people with a chip on their shoulders. Yet what I learned through our visits is that we should never make those assumptions. Both collectors, Mrs. De la Cruz and Mr. Marguiles, were a pleasure to speak to and listen to their perspectives.

When we arrived at the marguiles warehouse, we began our tour with a very witty and “say it how it is” type of guy. Mr. Marguiles led us around his collection in a very relaxed mannor and many types skipped over pieces without stressing and even said that he would never create art and he wasn’t interested in it. He was extremely nice and I was so thankful that he took time out of his day to meet with us. Mr. Marguiles truly got rid of any stereotypes I had of art collectors from the start.

After a nice refreshing lunch in midtown while enjoying some of Miami’s most popular photo opportunities, I made my way over to the de la Cruz Collection. This was a much more upscale building and felt more like a typical museum. Shortly after arriving a very sweet older woman greeted us and I soon learned that she was Mrs. De La Cruz. She was so knowledgeable and from hearing her speak it felt like she was best friends with many of these artists. She detailed to us why certain art was placed next to each other and small details that she incorporated in the open areas. I would have to say that the experience listening to Mrs. de la Cruz talk was the most memorable part of my day and her perspective on art and the world was one of a kind.

Overall, what truly impacted me was the way that these collectors give back. It showed me that we can always give back, and in large ways, while also maintaining some sort of social and financial stability. Mrs. de la Cruz detailed to us the way that her husband and herself send groups of 40 students to New York and Europe, many times these students have never left the state.  This really hit home because I know so many of my classmates that have never been able to leave Miami and a trip like this would mean so much to them. Her story inspired me to make sure that wherever I end up in life I am always giving back. Mr. Marguiles showed this same charity by giving us his time. He gave us a tour of over an hour around his collection and was so patient with our questions and at times lack of knowledge. Furthermore, while I was preparing for this assignment I did further research on the two collections and found out that Mr. Marguiles actually donated one of FIU’s most known sculptures. The giant red sculpture that we all see when you drive into campus everyday was actually donated by Mr. Marguiles. The best part, he never felt the need to tell us that. He donated that to our campus and his want was never to brag but rather to give back with his art collection.

All in all this experience has given me so much perspective on art., collectors, and life.

Vizcaya As Text

Just a year ago, I found myself standing in a breathtaking garden in a small city in Spain. Surrounded by walls that reminded me of grand castles, and nothing was simple. These intricate walls and ornate benches filled me with wonder and reminded me of princess movies I once watched as a young girl. Just a few days ago, I found myself in what felt like the same location. Visiting Vizcaya for the very first time left me shocked to say the very least.

This quinceanera hot spot wowed me with its gardens, fountains, and most of all history. What especially caught my attention was the beautiful combination of its rich architecture and the natural world. The estate which once consisted of shoreline mangrove swamps, James Deering made sure to conserve these forests when building on the land. Thanks to his conservation efforts, we still enjoy the beauty of these mangroves today.

Vizcaya brings European aesthetic to Florida and makes the visitor feel transported to the continent for the afternoon.  Through our lecture I learned that much of the inspiration for this property actually came from France and Italy. The mix of cultures, including Cuban limestone and workers from all around, make Vizacaya the perfect culmination of Miami’s diversity.

From each wall built, to the main house filled with its lavish décor, visitors feel Dearing’s influence in every step they take. Through conservation efforts and the hard work of it’s employees, Vizcaya will continue to be a small escape for the people of Miami as their own little piece of paradise. After our visit I can truly attest to the cultural value that this property brings to our city, and will continue to inform others on the wonder that is Vizcaya. No longer just a quinceanera’s dream, but rather an escape filled with rich architecture and history for all.  

Design District As Text

Headed back to the Design District, this time feeling slightly less lost since it was our second time, I made my way through the traffic and ran over to the start of class. I had heard of the Institute of Contemporary Art before, but it wasn’t until we walked into the lobby that I realized what a treat I was really in for. I had actually looked into viewing Yayoi Kusama’s famous piece earlier this year but never got around to purchasing my tickets. When I found out that we would be given the opportunity to view her piece I was speechless.

I must say, the story behind this piece and Kusama’s mental health really marveled me. Someone can be so oppressed and live such dark experiences but still create pieces that bring light and wonder to others. Pumpkins are an object that I never analyzed but when I was in room I could feel the same joy that Kusama felt toward them. The polka dots made the pumpkins even more impactful by filling the room with her signature item. The story behind the piece connected to the way I felt when I walked in, in such a way I can only describe as magical.

I would have to say that our visit to the Design District was the most thought-provoking one for me personally. I still review my photos and videos, as well as recount the history our guide shared with us. I came in to this visit running in ready to start and I left not wanting to leave. It’s thanks to the efforts Professors like Bailey make for their students as well as those that invest in the arts that I was able to go to class but get so much more out of it than just that.

As we moved on, I encountered all different types of pieces that impacted me in different ways. Whether it be Sterling Ruby’s fashion designs or pieces that hurt me deep down to the core with their perspective on immigration, the experience as a whole was a rollercoaster ride of emotions. Seeing Sterling Ruby’s piece with the predominant American flags right after hearing about the saddening immigration stories was one moment that really left me thinking for hours after the entire visit.

Miami Art As Text

After living in Miami for 20 years and hearing about all the buzz that comes with Miami Art Week, I had been counting down to our final class visit since the course began. I was looking forward to seeing the exhibitions that came with this visit but what truly ended up capturing my interest were the people. From exhibition to exhibition, the people were all so diverse and the perspective they brought to my view on their art differed from each person we spoke to. At UNTITLED, we heard from people across the globe. Victoria Cooke who traveled from Ghana to present a variety of pieces spoke to us and gave us a very put together presentation. The traditional paintings of several boxing legends left me feeling mesmerized with the layered detail that I saw in each of them. Yet her insight on the slave paintings are what resonated with me the most and it’s something that I still think about every day. It showed me how we can look at an image and think it’s a simple painting, yet it can have so much rooted suffering. This also proved true as we moved on and spoke with a representative from a gallery in Havana, Cuba. This one hit close to home as all of my family is from the city. The image she presented of a woman of color plunged in water, almost drowning, connected with me on a deep level. As a political science major, I have very firm views on communism and the oppression it has imposed on its people, specifically in Cuba. In this image I felt as if the young lady drowning is a representation of the Cuban woman. She has so much going on around her, yet she continues to try and stay afloat.  With this eye-opening visit, as we moved on to Art Miami my experience was very different but the interactions I had with people continued to be the highlight. From talking to the very welcoming artists, to watching people make way for our large group, it was nice to have hope in the world renewed for the couple hours we were in that tent.

One final encounter that left me with a lasting impression was with our very own professor when he shared with us the Gerhard Richter piece and told us about how a few years ago he was just an up and coming artist and now he sells pieces for more than what my house is worth. It leaves me to think that although at the moment we may not be where we want to, but perhaps in a few years any one of us could be showcased on those walls. Overall, what Art Miami and UNTITLED taught me were that hope exactly. That although our lives may not be ideal or what we want them to be at the moment, we should have the courage to pursue the change we want to see.

Fountainhead as Text

When it comes to our visits, what always marvels me is the people I meet. With each class I learn how unique the humans of Miami are, as I like to call our community. With this recent visit, meeting Alex Nuñez was my favorite part of the day. I saw a few of her pieces previously during my visit to the Deering Estate for my See Miami project and I even included her in my reflection on the Deering Estate. After being awestruck by her use of mediums and unique perspective of the art world, she shared that she actually had a residency at the Deering Estate and in that moment I realized that I had seen her work on display before.

It was such an amazing experience getting to meet the person I read so much about just a month before. She showed us her unique perspective and wasn’t like any of the artists we had met thus far. She didn’t have a method to her madness or even the most thoughtful titles to her pieces, and that was my favorite part. Her whimsical nature and cut to the chase attitude left me more connected to the art world. I enjoyed getting to meet an artist that I had previously admired and even more, getting to see a little of the magic that her soul contained.

Rubell As Text

The Rubell Museum can be better described as an experience. Their pieces make the viewer feel an array of emotions. From comedy and pride, to discomfort, and beauty. Although not all the pieces were my personal favorite to view nor would I consider them pieces to place in my living room, I think that was the point. The attack on sexual constructs that we as a society still hold, were shocking at first but led me through a tunnel of deep reflection. Whether it was the amount of naked bodies, the young boy thrusting a goat, or the photograph of a flower in someone’s rectum, all of these things created a shock in the viewer that was necessary to truly contemplate how we view our bodies and sexuality as a whole.            

Another experience that was physically immersive were the two Kusuma installations. These felt larger than the one we had previously visited and offered yet another impactful experience for the visitor. As a whole, the Rubell Museum made very deep and thought out commentary on prevalent issues in our society. A light up “America” blinking, placed next to a large scale portrait of a black male were just one of the ways in which I found the museum made subtle social commentary for the reader to pick up on. I enjoyed that it almost felt like a puzzle, which kept me from mindlessly wandering but rather making sure I took in each piece and how it connects to the experience of the viewer as a whole. And that was the best part, the experience was immersive through your own thoughts and connections, not necessarily being inside the art- although a couple Kusuma’s never hurt

MDC Printmaking As Text

For all of our previous lectures, we’ve had the privilege of seeing Miami artists masterpieces beautifully displayed. From their studios, to private collections, and museums, my appreciation for art and those who create it has vastly expanded. Previously taking courses such as art history and traveling through most of Europe, I considered myself knowledgeable of the art world. This class proved that I was very short of that. However, through the last couple of months as well as my previous knowledge one thing has been missing, an appreciation for the actual crafting of these beautiful pieces. This missing gap was filled at our visit to the printmaking shop of Jennifer Basile at Miami Dade College.

            Professor Basile was the perfect mix of whimsical and caring that you would want in an art professor. Walking us through each step of the printmaking process, well aware of our lack of artistic abilities as well as my love of hearts, her shop became a place of artistic liberty and passionate creation. The fact that what we would create today would never grow old or faded, gave me even more motivation to completely devote my efforts into creating my own piece of art. The process proved to be challenging but worthy of all the necessary efforts.

After finishing my pieces, I took a moment to stare around the room at some of Professor Basile’s. What I once thought was a nice painting of a tropical landscape meant so much more. I couldn’t even fathom the level of skill as well as dedication just that one piece must have taken. This is something that I would have never realized if I were just seeing it hung in a museum. Had we not gotten this opportunity I would continue in the world unaware of the true talent and skill that art techniques require. I walked out of that shop with a new pair of eyes. Where I once only saw art, I now see so much more.

Deering Estate Walking Tour As Text

Original photo taken by Carolina Machin. CC by 4.0

Ever since I began this course, the Deering estate has seen me return time after time. After visiting the Estate on a tour of the Tequesta burial grounds, I returned for several volunteering opportunities at the Richmond Cottage as well as with my family to tour the property on foot. I have been lucky enough to see many parts of the property. After completing the walking tour, I am once again excited to return the Estate as soon as we are allowed to do so.

Original photo taken by Carolina Machin. CC by 4.0

Through the walking tour created by Professor Bailly, I learned even more details about the Estate. One of the areas that I am specifically marveled by is the Boat Basin. It’s the first shocking view you have when you walk through the Estate and it is the picture-perfect spot for the next Windows wallpaper. It is protected from the watercrafts that are signature to Miami and makes the perfect home for Manatees. I look forward to witnessing a sunset soon at the Estate and as I read through this walking tour it only made me treasurer the many hours I spent at the Estate even more.

Original photo taken by Carolina Machin. CC by 4.0

The Deering Estate is a jewel to South Florida that many people are unaware of. In a city where we love to destroy and build, it holds on to its historical value and continues to be a rare perspective on what Miami once was. This is a must visit for anyone who claims they are a Miami native. From the rock ridge, solution holes, Tequesta burial mound, and timeless cottages, the Deering Estate has a world of history and knowledge to offer anyone who visits.

Miami Beach Walking Tour As Text

Photo by John Bailly CC by 4.0

As I read the Walking Tour of South Beach for this assignment, I felt as if my quarantine frustrations only built up. The thought that one of our best visits would never happen or that all these historic sites would never be explained to me through an interactive excursion broke my heart. However, I am thankful to Professor Bailly for giving us this opportunity, even virtually, as I will use this site to conduct my own walking tour of South Beach as soon as we are allowed to. I have already planned that South Beach, along with the Deering Estate, will be my first two outings post-quarantine.

Through this lecture, I was shocked at the little knowledge I have of Miami and its history. I had no idea that South Beach was once just a mangrove barrier between the Biscayne Bay and the Atlantic. As a part of Carls Fishers development the area was ripped of its environmental majesty and replaced with hotels and tourist hot spots.

I found this especially frustrating because through our formal education, we learn a lot about the creation of America and the costs that came with that. However, not once in any history class is the history of the very city that we live in covered. I think this creates a very ignorant community that will continue making the same mistakes we once did. We have the third largest school district in the nation, and they may all know that Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue but they have no idea that Carl’s Fisher stripped us of so much of our history when he plowed through it all and built what we now know as South Beach.

Photo by John Bailly CC by 4.0

I will take this new knowledge and try my best to share it with as many people as I can. It is through crucial readings like this that we can all do our part to create a less ignorant community. If we do not learn about the past, history will repeat itself time and time again. South Beach is a beautiful area filled with so much culture and beauty. Now that I understand the history that led to creating this, I can have a deeper appreciation for what stands before me as I take a walk through Lummus Park or even the Betsy Poetry Rail.