I love being out in a garden, connecting with mother nature. I believe that we need make some serious changes in order to save our planet. I had the chance to contribute to a sustainable project. The service I partook in was at Pinecrest Garden in Miami, Florida. In December 2002, Pinecrest Garden was purchased by the village of Pinecrest Village. It’s a beautiful botanical garden on a 14-acre land. It was named Perrot jungle before, and it was founded in 1936 by Franz and Louise Scherr.
The event in which I participated was TROLLS by Thomas Dambo. Thomas is an artist from Denmark; he travels around the globe with his crew to build giant sculptures, from recycled items that become characters in playful stories. His mission is to encourage others to rethink their beliefs about trash. In his stories, he educate others on the importance of sustainability in a playful way. about trash.
I had the opportunity to work alongside the artist, Thomas Dambo. I was tasked to organize the woods by length and shape so it could be more comfortable for the workers to use. I also helped to take apart pallets, cutting the lumber. I had the chance to work with tools and be part of building the trolls. Being able to take part in something that is changing our view of sustainability makes me feel like I am contributing to the future generation.
A total of 15 hours of volunteer service were completed at UNTITLED, ART and Rubell Museum.
One institution I volunteered at for my service project was UNTITLED, Art where I did 9 hours on December 3rd, 2019. I helped out at the Press desk for their 2019 Miami Art Week VIP event along with David Simantov, Senior Account Coordinator at UNTITLED. My main task was being in-charge of signing in guests considered Press throughout the event, which included photographers, magazine writers, editors, publishers, and more. Using an online spreadsheet, I checked in the guests as they arrived or added them to the list if they had not registered beforehand. When doing so, I had to ask for valid ID or business cards that demonstrated they were Press. I also made and gave out hundreds of bags for the guests, which contained treats from the art fair like notepads, pens, catalogues, and even free drink passes for the bar. Along with the goodie bags, I also had to prepare and give out lanyards for the Press so they would be identified accordingly throughout the night.
Despite being founded only in 2012, UNTITLED is one of the biggest curated art fairs at Miami Art Week. UNTITLED is known for its international display of contemporary art as well as being a primary art market unlike most art fairs. This allows for the fair to display installations that are more connected to the artists and Miami as well, which attracts the attention of the public. UNTITLED is also unique in its location, being set right in the heart of Miami Beach. Literally, you have to walk through the sand of Miami Beach in order to get to UNTITLED.
Volunteering at UNTITLED was such a unique and amazing experience because I was able to see how such a huge art fair operates behind the scenes. My exposure to art fairs and art in general before this class was very minimal. In fact, it was so minimal, that working at untitled was my first time being at an art fair at all. Working there, especially during the VIP event, gave me such a greater understanding of what an art fair as popular like UNTITLED really mean for people as well. It’s more than just a week where the public gets to enjoy and critique art; it’s a prestige experience for the art galleries and curators that were accepted and get a chance to sell their art. It is also a great business opportunity for the media and other curators that get the opportunity to exclusive coverage on the art to share with the public. At the event, there were around one hundred guests of the press from all around the globe. Most of the press that wasn’t from Miami had flown in that same day exclusively for Art Miami Week and the VIP event at UNTITLED. I had never been a part of something so great and meaningful to Miami and its connection with the art world like I did when volunteering at UNTITLED, Art.
Another institution I volunteered at was Rubell Museum (or Rubell Family Collection) where I did 6 hours on December 6th, 2019. I helped out at John Miller’s exhibition by monitoring the amount of people that could enter the exhibition, as well as making sure no one touched the sculptures. Although these were my only tasks, while volunteering I found myself learning about Miller’s installation, A Refusal to Accept Limits, and I answered any questions guests had about the artist and his work. Working there, I also had to familiarize myself with the layout of the museum in order to properly guide guests towards different exhibitions they wanted to go to.
Rubell Museum opened its new location just a few weeks ago on December 4th, just in time for Miami Art Week. This museum differentiates in its large collection of key and relevant artists in today’s art world. According to their official webpage, Rubell searches for new art and art that has been overlooked (Rubell Museum). They also create exhibitions for their main artists creating a space for guests to fully appreciate those artists and have their art speak for itself. They also have works of very prestigious artists since very early in their career, including Cindy Sherman and Richard Prince.
Working at Rubell was another amazing experience that gave me insight to the art world and its connection with our community. There were people that lived only a few blocks down that love to come every year to see the new art, and you had guests from countries I wasn’t even familiar with. I had never seen such an international event of such importance. I also was able to be at the other side of things and be the one to talk about the artists and their work to curious guests. Although a bit nerve-wracking at first, it was a great experience to see how many people cared to know about what the artist wanted to convey in his art and not just see it for its aesthetic. This small teaching moment make me more interested in art and how much it means to people. The exhibition was never empty, and some people even kept coming back for another look.
UNTITLED showed me the behind the scenes of a huge art fair and how it operates in order to provide a memorable experience for the hundreds of people that come around the globe. Similarly, Rubell Museum showed me even more the connection that art holds for people. On the other hand, Rubell gave me a look of what is meant to operate a museum alongside the art while a more direct source for the visitors.
Art has always
peaked my interest and the environment has always played a major role in my life.
So when I was offered an internship by local environmental artist Xavier
Cortada I could not pass the opportunity. For my ASC Service Project I served
as a Media and Communications Intern for Cortada, with a focus on Cortada
Projects, the artist’s social practice collection.
studied in the University of Miami, where he has earned the following three
degrees: a Bachelor of Arts in the College of Arts and Sciences, a Master
of Public Administration in the Miami Business School and a Juris Doctor
in the School of Law. Currently, Cortada serves as a Professor of Practice:
Artist at the university. He is the artist-in-residence at Pinecrest Gardens.
his art has a focus on community engagement with regional and global
environmental issues, it has taken him to many places aside from Miami, including
Antarctica, Taiwan, Hawaii and Holland.
As the Media and Communications Intern, I have been helping Cortada with his work in Miami by managing his three websites (cortadaprojects.org, cortada.com, and hibiscusgallery.com) as well as those sites’ associated social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram). In addition to this, I have also taken photo and video of the artist’s events and have mainly focused on content for his latest county-wide eco-art project, Plan(T).
Plan(T) Launch pictures taken and posted on social media by Patricia Menendez.
tackles the climate change crisis in South Florida by asking residents to plant
mangrove seedlings in their yards in order to prepare for rising sea levels and
saltwater intrusion. The project serves as a successor to Cortada’s Reclamation
Project, which began in 2006 and aimed to restore mangroves to South Florida’s
coasts by reclaiming the land for the native plants. With Plan(T), Cortada now takes
a further step by creating an urban mangrove forest of sorts by restoring the
region’s native tree canopy through its very residents’ property. Residents are
also asked to calculate their home’s elevation and mark it on a flag that is to
be placed next to the mangrove, so that when neighbors, family or friends pass
by it they may ask what it means. This starts the conversation on climate
change and spreads awareness on the impacts it will have on the South Florida community.
Pinecrest Elementary students in front of school’s Plan(T) installation (left and taken by Adam Roberti). Plan(T) Coral Gables Library Presentation (top right). Plan(T) tent at Pinecrest Elementary’s Superhero fest (bottom and taken by Adam Roberti).
Moreover, the project has been installed in all 50 Miami-Dade public libraries, the University of Miami, schools, the Frost Science Museum and the Starbucks at Lincoln Road Mall. The Plan(T) installation consists of mangrove propagules in water-filled compostable clear cups being set in a grid like pattern, as seen in the picture.
Since I began interning for Cortada in September, I have not only grown in my professional skills but I have also grown personally. This internship has shown me what it’s like working for a seasoned artist in a fast-paced environment and how action can be achieved through art. Xavier Cortada’s Plan(T) and other projects like Underwater HOA, challenge the community to think, act and care for their own future and the future of their posterity. Art doesn’t happen on a blank canvas, art happens on any canvas the artist sets his mind to. Cortada’s canvas is South Florida.
internship I have learned how to manage sites with WordPress, manage time, manage
social media, create media content, and engage the South Florida community
through art. This internship allowed me to work with an incredible artist, incredible
people, and an incredible cause. It also gave me the opportunity to combine my
field of work (Digital Communications and Media) with my passion. With the
climate crisis just starting, the work that artist Xavier Cortada, Director of
Cortada Projects Adam Roberti and the rest of the team at Cortada Projects is
doing is essential and innovative. They are creating art that engages the
community in a fun way, and they have given me hope for a better future for the
place I call home.
Total Hours: 100
My name is Patricia M. Menendez, and I am a junior at Florida International University pursuing a B.S. in Digital Communication and Media and a B.A. in Sustainability and the Environment. In the near future I hope to be working with an environmental-based company that educates and enlightens the public through a multimedia platform.
Lesly Garcia was born in a small town in Florida in the winter of 1999. An American to some but a Hispanic to many, coming from both lovely parents who were raised in Cuba and fought to come to the state to build a better future for their daughter. Twenty years old and currently a junior at Florida International University. She is currently majoring in English with a Literature track and works at the FIU Engineering Center as a Proctor. As a hobby, she dances ballet in her spare time and dreams to one day be on Broadway dancing Giselle, The Nutcracker, Cinderella, etc.
In the urban roots of Miami, Florida lays a diverse district called Wynwood. It is known for the numerous residences of art exhibits, variety shops, wide-ranging pubs, nonindustrial handmade eateries, and one of the large urban-art establishments known today. However, before it was known as today an art city central, it used to be nothing but abandoned gray warehouses where businesses used to manufacture their items. The one who made it out to be known today is Tony Goldman, seeing the blank walls as canvases to be painted on.
Wynwood is stationed, according to Wikipedia, north of Downtown Miami and Overtown, abutting to Edgewater. It contains two significant sub-regions, Wynwood Art District, which is in the northern hemisphere of Wynwood, and Wynwood Fashion District, which is found by West 5th Avenue. It is also approximately split by North 20th St. to the South, I-95 to the North, I-95 to the West, and the Florida East Coast Railway to the East.
From northern to southern to western to eastern, the district measures about seven thousand seven hundred and twenty-five square miles. Sadly, there isn’t for sure a park in Wynwood except for Roberto Clemente Park; it is a park that contains a baseball field on the side. It may not have any attractions to it, but it does indeed have a good view when the sun goes down. Another “park,” which isn’t technically a park since it isn’t for the public, is José de Diego Middle School Park, called Robert E. Lee Park (Wikipedia).
Today, this district is recognizable globally for its destination of unique fashionable art, clothing, buildings, and businesses. It is one of the most exceptional communities in the United States for its diversity from not just the age gap but also the race and sexuality.
Before the moderation and artistic side of Wynwood, in Miami-History.com says that the district was initially separated and sold off by two Miamians named Josiah Chaille and Hugh Anderson. The area in which both men invested in 1917 was initially thought to be a meadow and a portion of the Pulaski Estate. By 1913 the city of Miami would have considered Wynwood to be part of North Miami. Crazy behavior and legal alcohol in the past tense were slowly taking part in North Miami.
Josiah Chaille is best known for working for the Miami City Council and working in the retail business with his father. Most of the street names in which many pass by and use as a sense of direction were thought out to be part of Chaille’s plan around October 1920.
His companion, Hugh Anderson, went from working as a hotel clerk to becoming a millionaire due to a time where Miami became its best days. Along with being a founding father of Wynwood, he was also according to the site “involved with the development of Miami Shores and the Venetian Islands.”. Not only that, but he was also one of the constructors of Biscayne Boulevard. The last thing that was recorded about him was that his wealth and possessions were wasted and then finally passed away.
Both men took Wynwood around 1917 and decided to call it what it is today, Wynwood. Months later, it became known as Wynwoo Park (without the “d”), but the people decided against it and referred to it as just Wynwood again.
Wynwood was best known for its factory laborers, but there were also middle-class families staying there. Stores started to open up, bakery becoming well known all around for its freshly pleasant smell, and the Coca-Cola plantation opened up in 1926. Many job opportunities were opening up, and the people rushed to work in the beautiful district as well as live around the area.
At around the 1920s, Wynwood became a fashionable district for clothing stores, Cubans migrating in the early 1960s helping out with the work as it gradually grew to how it is now. There were about two hundred and twenty-five businesses within around that time, “$64 million in sales” (Miami-history.com), and “manufacturers drew about $125 million” annually. As 20 years passed, South Koreans bought many of the stores within Wynwood’s Fashion District.
Now, around the early 2000s, there was industrial migration and decline. Still, great minds came together and came with an idea of using the neglected warehouses and factories as a business of art.
But what makes Wynwood peek is the street art itself. Since the launch and opening of the Second Saturday Art Walk and Art Basel, the community of artists has become outstanding. Around the world, an artist would travel to come and see the district, gain inspiration from it, and showcase it to the world. Leaving a continuous pattern of people learning more and more about the Wynwood area itself.
Wynwood rests on a total population of about 17,923 people, with Miami alone having 432,622, according to areavibes.com. Florida overall has a population of 19,934,451. If speaking in Density terms, then it would be 10,246 for Wynwood, 12,022 for Miami, and Florida 294. After much research, Wynwood’s median age was 35.2, leaving a Male/Female ratio of about 1.2:1. Not sure how many are married, for there are no answers to it, but there is a percentage of families with kids under 18, and that is 47%. The population density overall in Wynwood is 15% lower than in Miami itself. It is also 11% lower in median age than Miami. However, there is 70.50% of White staying at Wynwood, 19.11% being African American, and lastly, 1.28% being Asian.
Going through the cost of living is 2% more expensive than the US average, being around 102 while Miami is only 109. A change of being a victim when it comes to Wynwood crime is 1 in 15, 6,930 per 100k people crimes being committed. Next is employment; the median household income is $53,417, 3% lower than the US average. The median rent price is $1,296, Median home value $156,805, and Home Ownership 22/100.
INTERVIEW WITH PAST RESIDENT, FLORIAN
Were you born and raised in Wynwood?
No, I was born in France but decided to move to the United States to have a better future for myself. I wanted to visit a new place I’ve never gone to and put myself out there. Learn without the help of my parents on what it means to be independent and an adult.
Have you ever seen yourself opening a bakery in Wynwood?
I would say yes, although it seems hard it isn’t impossible. Right now, I’m living in Washington, but all I could ever hope for is to open various bakery shops around the world.
What did you enjoy the most in Wynwood?
The community. It has a different vibe than where I’ve come from. Here one interacts with another easily due to a piece of art; people are more outgoing and confident. I’ve also enjoyed most of my time in Wynwood when I was with my girlfriend, and we would go on each date somewhere different around the area. It would be a new museum, restaurant, or shop we’ve never seen before or so happened to pass by it. Wynwood changed me for the better. I’ve come to understand myself and even learned English while working here in Zak the Baker.
Some of the most well-known landmarks in Wynwood are the art museums: The Marguiles Warehouse Collection, Rubell Family Collection, and Calix Gustav Collection. Each museum has its flair for personality and differences when it comes to the art world.
Rubell Family Collection: Rubell has a fantastic gallery; it is filled with each different room contemporary art. It contains a lot of divergences; it tries to get the audience’s attention by trying to push the viewer to see the pieces through different lenses. There are collections of sculptures, paintings, and mixed media pieces. For one to enter, the admission cost is $10, which is not that bad. Aside from it being a gallery, it also has a small book and gift store. Don’t miss the opportunity of going!
The Marguiles Warehouse Collection: Speaks in volumes, whether it is through the beautiful art piece of the headless bodies, space, and symmetry from a white cube, a face that speaks words slowly about beauty and nature, etc. It is a nonprofit institute that exhibits collections and educational programs. They have a mind-boggling compilation of some of the greatest Anselm Kiefer of time. It is an enormous and spacious museum; just don’t judge the book by its cover.
Roberto Clemente Park: This beautiful, peaceful park is about 25 acres long, there is a baseball field next to it. Sadly, this park does not contain any attractions like other parks, but it does make up for it for the beautiful view of the sun going down. It is also the right place if one ever decides to have a picnic date or get together. There’snot much information about this park; it feels more like a hidden gem.
Robert E. Lee Park (José de Diego Park): For this small park, it is also not very well known, but it is still considered a park. Yet, this park is off-limits to the public, for it is only accessible for the students that go to the school.
I did more research about why there weren’t any parks near Wynwood, but I did find out that the community is asking for one. It is still being thought-out or planned by the people on how it would look.
There are various forms of transportation and ways around going into Wynwood. There was this small scooter rental shop (forgot the name), in which one can take it for a couple of hours but must return it afterward. Wynwood is supplied with a Metro bus and Miami’s free trolley assistance throughout the district. According to Wikipedia, it is by “Metromover’s School Board Station” located in the south of Wynwood and by the “Miami Metrorail in adjoining Allapattah” which is located in 36 St./ US 27 and NW 12 Avenue.
Aside from this, there are other abilities to go to and from Wynwood; there are also carpool bicycles, taxis, etc.
The best results, in my opinion, are the Metro Bus and Miami’s free trolley. One spends less on those two options, even if it takes time to get there. But once arrived in Wynwood, there is no need to drive here and there, everything is just a block away.
Now for the best part, FOOD! Wynwood contains a variety of different cultural foods, and most of these restaurants aren’t found anywhere else but here. I remember walking one day with my friends to a donut shop called as you guess it by the picture, The Salty Donuts. These donuts aren’t like any other donuts I’ve ever tasted. The only con to it is its price range, but if you are a person like me who only spends money on the gratification of having delicious food in your tummy, then this is it! It has also been a favorite for many locals as well, as they take pictures and post it on all kinds of social media accounts. There is a long and drenching line, but the staff is super friendly once speaking to them. This small store is super cozy, and it is aesthetically pleasing to the eyes. There are large tables inside and a couple of bar stools on one end. It contains fresh ingredients and a watery mouth taste.
The next stop was 1-800 Lucky. I’ve come here several times due to their delicious ramen. It is an intimate, relaxing space with a food truck ambiance but all of the amenity of a restaurant. There are a variety of selections of food to choose from, different counters to pick-and-mix once favorite dishes. Music blasted outside, and people gathered around chatting away, smiling. Sadly, it was on that one trips the class went to Wynwood when I entered 1-800 Lucky with a classmate and found out the best ramen restaurant was moving to another location. BUT HAVE NO FEAR! There are still many other ramen shops around Wynwood.
After that delicious taste of Ramen, my pals and I decided to walk into an ice cream shop, they make a unicorn out of it, and it’s utterly beautiful. I also sadly don’t recall the name, but it shouldn’t be hard to find.
Although I spoke already about 1-800 Lucky, there is one thing I left out, and that is they sell a collection of Vinyl if one is into the old school kind of way of listening to music on their record player. The collections are brand new, and they are less expensive than what one would expect. Let alone, if one went to enter Urban Outfitters, the prices of some of their pieces of vinyl are crazy high-priced than in this small shop. There is music from the 80s, 90s, and more — a variety of genres from disco to classical to rap to pop to rock. Everything one ever needs in there.
Next to 1-800 Lucky is a small shop that contains super expensive clothing pieces; they are all handmade but again costly. Just thinking about it just makes my heartache. The clothing pieces are beautiful and unique in their way. It has designs of musicians on the back of a pair of jeans to a leather jacket with crystals all around the collar. If I were rich, I’d most likely have my closet filled with their clothes. I believe the reasons as to why it is also super expensive isn’t just due to how it was made but also the time it took and the area they are selling it in.
Overall, Wynwood is the place to be. There are pros and cons to this district, but there are pros and cons all around in other regions or states. What seems to have worked for many is the eye-opening knowledge of different cultures in one place, the different nationalities, genders, age-gap, and sexuality. It brings a sense of home to many, for it doesn’t try to exclude others by excluding I mean, racism, and homophobes. Although the art brings attention to many across the globe, I would have to say it is the people that make it better in the district. The cons have to be more on the pricey side of things. Although the clothes are handmade and unique, not many end up buying stuff from the place due to its crazy price. Many enter, but many leave empty-handed. If there was a way to change this, then I think one should. Aside from that, everything is okay.
My name is Hanna Sotolongo-Miranda. I am currently an FIU freshman in the first semester, and a resident of Miami-Dade County. I live in a part of Miami known as Unincorporated Miami Dade, in between Kendall and Pinecrest. Growing up, I always went to magnet schools, where kids would share where they live, and that would more or less determine who your friends are. Because I was in the middle, I never identified with the ‘Kendall Crew’ or the ‘Pinecrest Peeps’. When asked to do this project I decided I wanted to learn and write about as much as I could for both parts of Miami to see what really distinguishes them. In the spring, I hope to be able to do Pinecrest as my Ineffable Miami Project, so I can see the differences in communities that are so close together.
For the purposes of this travel guide, there will be self-imposed boundaries to estimate the location of Kendall and its many qualities. The area of Kendall will extend up to Snapper Creek, Down to the Falls (North and South), and within the west side of US1 to 117 Ave (West and East). Although there are no mountains, or significant hills, there are bodies of water, such as Snapper Creek, E Lake, Miami’s canal system. Although Kendall is close to the ocean, the boundaries do not touch, and therefore does not include any coastal area or ocean.
Pre-19th century: Kendall, like the rest of South Florida was inhabited by Native Americans for many years, such the Tequestas. Although there are not many records of these people due to the devastation caused by European conquistadors such as Ponce De Leon, they inhabited much of South Florida through archeological sites such as those found in the Deering Estate and the Miami Circle. In fact, according to Jean Taylor, historian and writer, two Seminole camps existed within the borders of Kendall, and existed up until the 1940s (39-49).
19th to 20th Century: In 1883, the Florida Land and Mortgage Company purchased the land and named it after the company’s director Henry John Broughton Kendall. Because the land could not be used to make self-sustainable farms, development was slow in the 1900s, when Kendall eventually moved into the area. The first institutions to be put in place were the first post office in 1914, and the first school in 1929. After 1926, and collapse of the ‘Land Boom’ real estate market in Florida, some people left, which put a damper on the development of the Kendall area. This collapse had an impact not unlike the 2008 recession according to Donald Rapp, economist and author of Bubbles, Booms, and Busts (164). Kendall continued to flourish and development, however racially was and still is predominantly a white neighborhood. In fact, a map of black residential areas in 1990 Miami had little difference to that of 1938 Miami, as these neighborhoods tended to be north, away from Kendall (Mohl,2001 3).
20th to 21st Century: Today, there are no more laws or rules that prohibit this, there is still an unspoken rule of Miami and Kendall that there are certain parts of town for certain people. Although there were racial issues, the residence and culture of Kendall began to develop further and further until 1992, and the events of Hurricane Andrew. The Miami Herald remembering this tragedy described that many homes were destroyed and had to be rebuilt, reinforcing code to prepare in case of another much like it, taking many years to recuperate from the natural disaster (Morgan 3-4). For the most part, the result of that rebuilding is what is seen in modern-day Kendall.
DEMOGRAPHICS (according to the 2010 United States Census Bureau)
Age: The percentage split based on age in Kendall is divided by people under 5 and 18, and people of 65 years and older. Those under 5 years of age, registered as infants, or small children, are 4.5% of the Kendall population. Those under the age of 18, registered as minors, or young adults, are 18.8% of the Kendall population. Those who are and are over the age of 65, registered as senior citizens, are 17.9% of the population. The remaining 58.8% are registered as adults within the age gap of 18 and 64.
Sex: In terms of sex, the percentage split is between males and females. The amount of females is 51.8% of Kendall’s population, meaning the remaining 48.2% is male. These statistics are challenged by people who are intersex or born with no biological distinction between male and female.
Race and Ethnicity: In the US Census, there are 5 races: white, black, native American, Asian, and pacific islander. Within Kendall, the white population is 88%, dominating the other races as the majority. The percentage of black people in Kendall is 3.7%, and the amount of Asians is not much higher at 3.9%. The amount of American Indians or native Alaskans is the same as the amount of native Hawaiian or pacific islanders which is 0.0%. People who are a mixture of two or more races are 2.4% of the population, but looking at this data, it is clear that Kendall is a predominantly white neighborhood in terms of race. However, in terms of ethnicity, the US Census only asks whether Hispanic or not. Hispanics and/or Latinos in Kendall are 66.9% of the population, while 24.9% is white alone. This question can potentially limit the collection of accurate data due to the presence of more ethnicities without necessarily having to be white.
Places of Worship: St Andrew Greek Orthodox Church is a beautiful eastern orthodox church not only known for their triangle-like structure, but also for their events. Their annual Greek Festival in mid-November is something that both locals and tourists come to enjoy. A celebration of greek culture and religion attracts audiences of all ages with food, beverages, carnival rides, and shopping kiosks. It is something that Miamians and local Kendallians look forward to each year to bring in the holidays. After the festival, they sell Christmas trees to spread the joy of Christ to all. Their mass is in both English and Greek, depending on time. Whether Christian or atheist, this church is a Kendall staple. Beth Or, a Jewish synagogue, is less known than the St Andrew Greek Orthodox Church, but nonetheless, their teachings and events are still crucial to the Kendall community. Every Friday, they have Kabbalat Shabbat Services, a musical celebration from 7:30 to 8:30 with food and liveliness. They also have an LGBTQ+ support group called BeJewQ that meets the first Sunday of every month to help those who are abandoned or rejected because of their identities. They also have other less-known social justice programs that are not only limited to Jewish people, but to all who identify and want to be involved. This community of people regardless of their religion creates a sense of love and pride for Kendall residence, however, there is a major lack of mosques and mandirs within the area. Mosques are places of worship for Muslims where they can practice their religion and read the Quran, while a mandir is the Hindu place of worship for people who read and practice Vedas in the Shruti. Although the US census does not account for religion, there are still members of both Muslim and Hinduism in Kendall that have to travel to other places to worship.
Historical Sites: The Dice House, located at 10000 SW 82nd Ave is a historic house built by David Brantley Dice during the 1920s (Dice House 1). It was designated a historic site by the Miami-Dade County Historic Preservation Board in 1989 (Dice House 1). The house attempted to become a preschool and daycare center until Bernardo Junco attempted to make it a coffee shop (Dice House 1). It was finally due to the Miami Parks and Recreation Department, Dade Heritage Trust Inc, owner Bernardo Junco, and ex-commissioner Katy Sorenson that it became an after school recreation center where the community could hold events for children as well as adults (Dice House 1). It still stands today within the Continental Park. Another historical site is Janet Reno’s home, a small homestead in Kendall, was built by hand in the 1940s by Janet Reno’s mother Jane Wood Reno, and her husband Henry Reno (Viglucci 14). It is now owned by Janet Reno’s sibling, Maggie Hurchalla, and brothers Mark and Robert that now look after the house (Viglucci 11). The location looks very ‘run-down’ and old, however, the plants and peacocks that overpower the house are what make it so nostalgic and reminiscent of a time where South Florida was still the Everglades.
Shopping Centers: Dadeland Mall is the biggest indoor shopping center of Kendall, and one of the most popular in the nation. On the corner of North Kendall Drive and US1, the mall is sleek and modern with chain restaurants to attract people. Inside there are high-end stores, as well as affordable stores attracting multiple audiences to this location. Although the stores and dining options inside are chains, the mall itself is not, and is very stereotypical of the image of Miami, clean, contemporary, and comfortable. With the Dadeland condos right next to it, it attracts many tourists. Because of this attention of the mall, across the street in Downtown Dadeland, many businesses that are small and local are left to die, such as small eateries and quaint boutiques.
Museums: There is a serious lack of art, history, and science museums within the Kendall area. However, there are two museums of the westernmost side of Kendall: Lisa Ann Watson Children’s Discovery Museum, the National Videogame History Museum. The Children’s Discovery Museum is located within the Alper JCC and is currently focused on interactive art based on Andy Warhol’s works in the Pop Art Movement. The National Videogame History Museum is the history of technology put into each of the video games throughout time. According to their website, they strive to “describe, preserve and educate” through interactive activities and hands-on learning (Mission Statement 1). Although this museum specifically is attractive to older audiences that understand the technology and its components, both museums are more centered and mostly attracted to children, and so there is a lack of initiative for adults being cultured and learning about other values of life in Kendall. It is evident that Kendall is mainly residential, but rather there be three huge shopping centers, there should be more initiative to have at least one adult-centered museum, without a long commute to Miami Beach to see PAMM or the Frost Science Museum.
Indian Hammocks Park is the main green space of Kendall. Its massive area allows for all sorts of green area that can be used for the public. There are small courtyards and gazebos that are used for yoga and outdoor activities, there are 36 holes for disc golf, and a skate court that skaters of all ages can appreciate. Small grills are also stationed throughout the park for any barbecue. There are also baseball fields where many schools play games and practice. There is also a lake that overlooks the highway that is the perfect spot for a picnic or a late stroll. Continental Park is another amazing park filled with activities. Like Indian Hammocks, it has baseball courts that others can use, but it also has tennis courts, classes, and a summer camp program. The main house and the dice house can be reserved for private events, as well as a playground for the little ones. Although smaller than Indian Hammocks, Continental still has a lot to offer, and most importantly, a space of nature and tranquility. The Environmental Center at MDC’s Kendall Campus is a 9-acre reserve, filled with flora and fauna native to Florida (MDC 2). The trails lead to many hotspots in the reserve, such as a lake, pinelands, hammocks, butterfly gardens, and many animals (MDC 2). Unfortunately, the Environmental Center is not open due to renovation, and have canceled field trips and events for the time being, but usually, classes are offered, and you can schedule events and field trips on their website (MDC 1).
Miami Metro: The two train stations within the borders of Kendall are Dadeland South and Dadeland North. For the most part, the Metrorail runs along US1, and because the easternmost part of Kendall borders only part of US1, the metro is not the best form of transportation for Kendall.
Miami Buses: There are multiple buses in the public transportation system, such as 34 Express, 35/35A, 38 Busway MAX, 39 Express, 52, 71, 73, 87, 88, and 104. These are all buses that take you from or to Kendall, depending on if they are northbound, southbound, eastbound, or westbound. However, bus 288/288A is specific to only Kendall, therefore this is the most recommended bus to take to explore Kendall’s geography and landmarks. To keep track of all buses and metro rails, it is highly recommended that you download the Miami-Dade Transit Tracker, a free mobile app on your device that tracks the location, and tells you each individual stop.
Highways and Main Roads: Snapper Creek Expressway, or Route 878, is a toll highway that travels from Kendall in the west and US1 in the east. As the name suggests it runs parallel to Snapper Creek, a canal close by 72nd St. The Don Shula Expressway, or Route 874, is a toll highway that runs through Kendall, from Glenvar Heights on the north end, and the Florida Turnpike on the south end. This highway is the best way to travel within Kendall and is named after Don Shula, a former football coach for the Miami Dolphins, whose legacy has stayed in the city not only in a highway, but also through many sports venues, hotels, and restaurants. The Palmetto Expressway, or Route 826, is a toll highway that ends on US1 by Kendall on the south end, and on the north end, in Sunny Isles Beach. This highway is the best way to travel outside and back to Kendall. Miami’s fastest road runs on the easternmost border of Kendall, called US1. Although it is not best for traveling within Kendall, it is very good for traveling throughout Miami after 10 am and before 5 pm. US1 is the longest road in the United States running from Key West, the southernmost part of the US, all the way to the Canadian border in Fort Kent, Maine. North Kendall Drive, or 88th St, is the heart of Kendall. This road is the fastest to get anywhere within Kendall’s boundaries, with many local shops and eateries that will be the main focus of this guide. Sunset Drive, or 72nd St, is the next major street north of Kendall Drive close to Snapper Creek and traveling into South Miami on the east side of US1. This street is convenient for traveling both in and out of the Kendall area. Galloway Road, or 87th Ave, runs through both Kendall and Sunset Drive and is another very convenient way of traveling within and outside of Kendall with minimal traffic.
The Norman Brothers, located at 7621 SW 87th Ave, is a grocery store that had been in Kendall for over 40 years, not only making it a local place to eat, but also a historical site. This family-owned business sells things from produce to snacks, however, they also sell prepared food such as their famous hamburgers and delicious sandwiches. 80-year-old Salvador Juncadella, a lifelong resident of Kendall, says that it is “his favorite hamburger”, and that the quality of their products is “very good and very fresh.” When asked about the sanitary inspections and scandal in 2018, he responded that “there were setbacks, yes they had some errors, but they have cleaned up and they have good food; I trust them.” Even with the complications of grocery inspections and health hazards, the people of Kendall have trust and faith in this family business that they will clean up their business and continue to satisfy and serve (Neal 38). The Hole in the Wall, a local bar located at 8002 SW 81st Dr, is a gold mine for locals. With good beer, good friends, and a great atmosphere, this place is always packed on a Friday night. The service can’t be beaten with waiters and bartenders that truly enjoy what they do, and the night’s game on the big screen is always a must at any bar. There is another location on US1, however, it is not a chain. The Hole in the Wall is also family-friendly and highly recommended to have a drink or grab a bite.
In a mostly residential area of Kendall, Galloway Nursery is a fast and convenient way to get greenery for your home or garden without traveling down all the way to homestead. With their beautiful plants, it’s a refreshing oasis in the concrete realm of 87th Avenue. The kind service and clean environment match their unbeatable deals and low prices. This simple, local business is always willing to go out of the way for a customer. Another local business is the kid-friendly orthodontics on Main Street Kendall. Dr. Hector Prieto works hard to fix smiles and help kids have happy healthy teeth. Although this does not seem very big, a child’s self-esteem can be brought up through just fixing their smile. Dr. Prieto also teaches children how important hygiene is, including brushing their teeth and flossing.
Overall, Kendall’s main problem’s lies in its history, and as a result, its demographics. Due to the history of it being a white town during the height of racism and segregation, it continued to be a predominantly white town even after the Civil Rights Movement, according to the 2010 US Census. The landmarks within Kendall are very limited, as places of worship are limited to certain religions, and as museums are limited to children. Thankfully, the historical sites that do exist within Kendall continue to be preserved and open to the public to learn. Major shopping areas such as Dadeland Mall are limiting small local companies like boutiques and coffee shops to flourish, as corporate America takes over the quickly urbanizing Kendall, however, the local eateries and businesses that do survive are due to a loyal community and reliable services. Despite how quickly it’s urbanizing, Kendall has done a very good job of keeping needed green-space in places such as Indian Hammock, Continental, and the MDC Environment Center. Their transportation systems are extensive and inexpensive, and there are many options to commute and explore Kendall and other parts of Miami. Although there is the issue of race, age, and religion, Kendall demonstrates a tightly knit community that is impressive for an area so large. Kendall should strive to create a more inclusive environment for all citizens and have a more welcoming attitude towards people of all color and religion and should strive to educate and serve its needs to create a more cultured and lively environment, but maintaining that sense of community.
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.
Jose Rosales is a pre-med student currently finishing his bachelor’s degree in Biology at Florida International University. His goal is to attend medical school in hopes of one day practicing neurosurgery. What little time he has left outside of school and work he devotes to his family; as he has recently been blessed with the arrival of his father from Cuba, he continues to work tirelessly to one day be reunited with little sister and step mother who still reside there.
Florida is one of the most visited places in the US and the world. In search of sunshine, fun, excitement, and adventure, most people are glad they have visited different places in Florida, and some prefer it as their favorite holiday destination. Popularly referred to as the Sunshine State, Florida, has incredible weather all year round, delicious seafood, beautiful beaches, and plenty of day trip adventures to choose from for visitors and tourists. There is much more to see in Florida, as such smaller hometowns are often overlooked, Hialeah is one such city. Situated within Miami-Dade County, it is held as the sixth biggest city in Florida. Hialeah is a dynamic, community-based city that is marked by the cultural blending of various Hispanic peoples. This travel guide will elaborate on why Hialeah is an extraordinary place to visit, live, and work.
Hialeah has a proud and long history from its establishment in 1925 to date. One of the oldest historical sites in this city is the Hialeah Park Racetrack, which was built in 1925 (Hum, 2016). The Hialeah Park Race Track is also known as the Miami Jockey Club, and it is one of the oldest recreational facilities in the city. People usually go to Hialeah Park to watch and spectate horse racing competitions. Hialeah is a city well known for the significant number of Cuban exiles who immigrated to the area, and who till today continue to make up a substantial portion of the town (Hum, 2016). From its early days, the city has been home to great cultural diversity and dynamic communities such as the Hispanics who make up 94% of the population, ranging from Puerto Ricans to Mexicans, among other Hispanic groups.
Hialeah was also a historic docking area for Indians and their canoes, where they displayed their wares to be bought by residents of this area and others from other Miami cities (Hum, 2016). The name Hialeah has been attributed to Muskogee origin, meaning “High Prairie” meaning grassy plains. In the early 1920s, Hialeah captured the attention of silent movies and sports up to 1926 when various hurricanes caused severe destruction to the city. Films like “The White Rose” by D.W Griffith were directed and produced in Hialeah by the Miami Movie Studios (Hum, 2016). Popular sporting activities during that period included the Spanish Sport of Jai Alai and Greyhound racing, all of which featured horse racing competitions at the Hialeah Park.
Hialeah is the tenth-largest city in the US, and it has a population density of ten thousand people per square mile, according to the 2018 census (Data-USA. 2018). According to the census, there were a total of seventy-four thousand households, and only 3.9% of the households were unoccupied. As of the year 2015, the population of the city grew from 234,714 to 246,626 (Data-USA. 2018). The median household income is estimated to be $29, 817, which is a 1.94% increase from 2015 when it was expected to be $29,248 (Data-USA. 2018). According to the 2018 census, the age distribution showed that people under the age of eighteen consisted of about 23% of the population, with the median age being 43.5 years (Data-USA. 2018).
As of the year 2015, 36% of the population had children living in their households, and only 7.8% of households had someone living alone (Data-USA. 2018). The average family size in the city was estimated to be 3.39, and the average household size was determined to be 3.15 in the 2018 census (Data-USA. 2018). It was also estimated that 57% of the population was married, with only 18% of the population being single mothers with no husband present. The highest percentage of indigenous cultures consisted of the Cuban Americans who made up 73.37% of the population, Hispanics comprised 94% of the populace, Columbian, Dominican, Nicaraguans, and Hondurans consisted 3% of the population (Data-USA. 2018). English and other languages are spoken below 7%, while 92% of the population spoke Spanish. Hialeah holds the second highest density of Spanish speakers in the United States.
Hialeah Zoning Department coordinates urban design and planning (Giordano, 2017). The department has the responsibility of granting construction permits, approving building plans, and defining construction procedures in various parts of the city. The central idea that influences the urban policy of Hialeah City is to promote a change in travel habits (Giordano, 2017). A survey was done by two major local corporations, as part of the WRI Florida and World Bank Corporate Mobility project, which indicates that 40% of employees use the car for journeys up to 1.5 km, and a third of them, up to 5 km (Giordano, 2017). The Hialeah Zoning Department aims at promoting improvements to attract drivers for public transport, reducing congestion, and impacting the quality of life throughout the region.
The urban design of Hialeah City has power over the city. In designing the city with a focus on walking and cycling, it inevitably incurs a movement contrary to what is still traditional in many cities (Giordano, 2017). Priority has now been given to people rather than cars with a particular interest in adventurers who visit the city to explore. The high concentration of department stores makes Hialeah City one of the leading trade centers of Miami, which generates an intense pedestrian flow in the region. Most of the neighborhood streets, however, do not meet this demand – the sidewalks are narrow and often clogged, crossing times for people are short, and there are few safety lanes available (Giordano, 2017).
The city sits in the heart of the Northwest Dade and has access to major roads, including the 1-75, Florida Turnpike, Okeechobee Road, and the Palmetto Expressway (Lynn, 2017). People wishing to conduct business around Hialeah can expect smooth arrival via the two major airports of Opa-Locka Airport and the Miami International Airport, the latter of which is only 10 minutes from Hialeah. Some of the major railway systems in this city include the Metrorail Transfer station and the Miami Metrorail, which provide transport to various parts of the city and Miami (Lynn, 2017). Hialeah City also has a fleet of transit buses that enhance the quality of transportation services across the city for its residents. For tourists that want to explore the beach and do some fishing, a fleet of private boats is available offshore for hire.
Metrorail Transfer station is Hialeah City’s most assertive, constant, but scarce means of public transportation, due to the fact that it is reliable and thus frequented by locals. Usually, people can count on the subways in the range of twenty to forty minutes on weekdays and a little more on Sundays (Lynn, 2017). Given that Hialeah is a primarily residential city, rather than a mainstream tourist location, subways are scarce because the city has few subway and train lines (CPTM) compared to other metropolises around Miami. Many visitors prefer to use the subway because it is not usually congested like the railway lines. Transit buses are the best option for people who are not in a rush, and they provide the best platform for the exploration of various sites in the city (Lynn, 2017).
There are various museums near Hialeah for people who love art, vintage items, and animals. The Lock and Load Museum is one of the favorite destinations for tourists in the region as it presents a wide range of historical weapons, particularly in the form of firearms (Ann, 2019). At the Lock and Load Museum, visitors can shoot the vintage weapons with the help of experts and get information about the guns on display, which makes for a more interactive experience with history (Ann, 2019). For lovers of graffiti art, the Wynwood Walls Museum is the best place to be as it presents excellent graffiti art, various art galleries, and eclectic shops (Ann, 2019). Another museum for art lovers is the Miami Design District, where there is an excellent presentation of sculptures, innovative art paintings, and high-end art shops.
For people who like exploring art from various cultures, the Cubaocho Museum and Performing Arts Center is a great place to start (Ann, 2019). The museum presents art artifacts of Cuban culture, from cocktails, live music, and rum collections to others, which date from the 18th century. The Walt Grace Vintage Museum is another excellent place to be in the city, and it offers a presentation of vintage cars and guitars for lovers of all things musical or automotive (Ann, 2019). For the people that enjoy wildlife and sea creatures, the Philip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science offers a place to enjoy an exceptional view of wildlife, birds of prey, reptiles, everglades birds, fish, and a touch tank where one can view and touch the stingrays and manta rays (Ann, 2019).
One of the most famous monuments in Hialeah City is the Cuban Heritage Park, located on Hialeah Drive, built to honor the Cuban high-profile exiles such as Celia Cruz and Olga Guillot. The refugees escaped Cuba with the ascent of the Cuban Revolution (Ann, 2019). The Cuban Heritage Park has a collection of Cuban art, Photo gallery of the exiles, and other artifacts that commemorate the Cuban Revolution. The Hialeah Veterans Memorial Park is another famous monument in Hialeah City that seeks to commemorate fallen US soldiers from the time of World War I to date (Ann, 2019). The park has sculptures and monuments of outstanding soldiers that represent the military traditions and their sacrifice to their duty. One can also visit The Hialeah Park Race Track, which was established in 1925 to enjoy the historic nature of horse racing in Hialeah City, which hosted various famous people, including Winston Churchill (Ann, 2019).
PLACES OF WORSHIP
Hialeah has traditionally been a predominantly a Roman Catholic City, and this is evident from the fact that Catholic Churches sponsor many of the schools, hospitals, and other public facilities (Cruz, 2015). One such church is the St. John the Apostle Miami Catholic Church, located on E 4th Street, across from the local Navarro Supermarket. The city does however grant its residents the freedom of worship, with the exception of animal and human sacrifices, which are forbidden by the law. It is estimated the 40.6% of people in Hialeah City are religious, with the highest percentage being from Catholic churches, which consist of 22.4% (Cruz, 2015). Baptist churches in the city comprise of 5.4% of the overall churches, 0.5% are Episcopalian, 0.3% are Lutheran, 1.7% are Pentecostal, while 0.8% are Methodist. Other minority religions such as Islam consist of 0.9% of the entire churches, Judaism consists of 1.2%, and those of Eastern Faith consist of 0.2% (Cruz, 2015).
The City Government of Hialeah banned animal sacrifices that were usually practiced by the Santeria faith, a major church of which was the Church of the Lukumi Babalu Aye whose followers mainly come from the Santeria community (Cruz, 2015). The church of Lukumi had services that had significant influence from African religions and Roman Catholicism, among them animal sacrifice to express devotion to their spirits. With the exception of this case; the city government has not prohibited other religious practices in the city (Cruz, 2015). However, the city government had enacted ordinances that prohibit ritualistic religions in the area, and these require any church with rituals to be put under investigation. The government argues that people’s mobility and transit of religious practices and ideas are relatively dissociated here (Cruz, 2015). This difference must be understood in light of the social stratification of the spiritual. The social profile of separatists is above the national average in terms of income and education. Spiritists establish heavy traffic between Catholics and “without religion,” and in this case, the circuit comprises a population group with better living conditions.
From seafood, traditional Peruvian food, Cuban Cuisine, and local delicacies, Hialeah City has all the food one can aspire to explore (Garcia, 2016). The most common sittings along nearby beaches are shrimp trucks that sell takeaway shrimps that are fresh caught and delicious. Other restaurants that sell different types of seafood include Don Camaron that popularly serves shrimp in a parmesan cream sauce and salmon cilantro, which is a type of Cuban delicacy (Garcia, 2016). For people who enjoy authentic Cuban food, La Carreta provides excellent homestyle cuisine in a comfortable yet refined environment. Cultural food restaurants include the El Rinconcito De Santa Barbara, El Rinconcito Peruano, Graziano’s, and El Palacio de los Jugos restaurants (Garcia, 2016). Among the most notable is Porto Alegre , a new Brazilian Steakhouse offering all-you-can-eat grilled meats in a homey setting; it is truly a hole-in-the-wall restaurant, located off of LeJeune road and east 9th avenue. These cultural restaurants sell Cuban, Vietnamese, Peruvian, and Caribbean foods that include pastels, Arroz con gandules, saltado, jalea mixta, and other varieties (Garcia, 2016).
Hialeah is a hometown in the popular holiday and vacation spot that is Miami, as such it houses a variety of small family owned businesses that further contribute to its colorful cultural mosaic. It is considered to be an industrious city that is constantly in forward movement, as its establishment in 1925 and name “The City of Progress” suggests. Visitors and tourists get to enjoy a wide variety of activities in the city, including recreation and educational programs in the enriching life in Hialeah. From museums, water parks, restaurants, churches, and other recreational activities, the progressing city offers them all. Hialeah is a city for those adventurous enough to seek the true and unfiltered authenticity of the colorful Cuban culture.
A group of students and I started the semester off by helping artist/professor, John Bailly paint his art studio at the Deering Estate. This took about 7 hours and professor Bailly provided us with lunch from a nearby deli called The Butcher Shop, they had the best pork sandwich I have ever eaten. After we finished we were able to sit by and watch the manatees in the water.
Mercury in Transit Event
(Done on November 11th, 2019)
I continued to do the remaining amount of my hours at the Deering Estate as they had a variety of events to volunteer for. The event that I volunteered at was called the Mercury in Transit Event. This is when the planet Mercury passes between the sun and a larger planet making it more visible against the outline of the sun. This is the first time this is happening since 2016.
During the actual transit, the planet Mercury looks like a small black dot moving across the sun and lasts for about 5 hours. At the Deering Estate, they had various telescopes laid out with special lenses so everyone would be able to watch this happen.
Since there were many visitors coming to the estate my responsibilities were to manage the flow of people coming in and out of the Richmond cottage and the Stonehouse. There were many children so it was my job to make sure they didn’t touch any of the furniture or run around the different rooms in the houses. I also was in charge of assisting people who wanted to use the “Otis Geared Push Elevator” which was a very old elevator, located in the Stone House and was used back then when Charles Deering was still alive. I was also able to show everyone the wine cellar Charles Deering had in the Stone house. This is where he kept all his alcohol during the Prohibition era.
The Beauty behind The Deering Estate
The Deering Estate has become one of my favorite spots in Miami. I honestly do not understand how my friends and family have no idea where or what this place is. I am a very anxious and stressed out individual who is always on the go and the only time I truly feel calm and at ease is when I am sitting by the water in the Deering Estate. There are moments when the sky looks like its painted and on top of its beauty it also harvests so much history. The feeling of being in the Deering Estate is a special feeling that cannot be explained. You have to experience it for yourself. I love coming here and I will continue to volunteer here in the near future.
My name is Victoria Menache and I am a current Junior at Florida International University majoring in Nutrition and Dietetics with a minor in Chemistry. My goal is to go to Medical School and become a Pediatrician. The arts and sciences have always been something I have been passionate about. I danced competitively for 9 years and have a tremendous respect and love for the art form that is dance and the arts. This passion stemmed from my grandfather as he was a doctor and a painter. He combined his two passions and that is what I plan to do in my future. I remember when I was younger, I used to be very scared of the doctor’s office so I aspire to be a pediatrician and incorporate the arts into making the doctor’s office not so terrifying to children.
This art institution is located in 23 NE 41st St in theDesign District near Wynwood. The design district is home to multiple museums, galleries, and personal collections. Its surrounding community is very artistic and it is known for its sleek and modern style of architecture. It is filled with award winning restaurants, and different luxury stores. The De la Cruz Collection fits perfectly in the neighborhood, as the modern art pieces in the collection match with the modernization of the Design Districts architecture.
The history of the De La Cruz Collection starts off with the story of Rosa and Carlos De La Cruz. They both met as teenagers in Havana and grew on to get married in 1962. Both came from very cultured upbringings as Carlos’s family collected art and Rosas grandfather was a architect. Then lived in Madrid for about 9 years and went on to have five children. Both appreciated the arts and would always take time to visit different museums in Europe. They both wanted to take their love for the arts and manifest it into their own collection. But in order to begin a collection, one must need to have a good amount of money to start with and this was very difficult due to the fact that they had five kids. Therefore, they decided to wait till their kids were older, where they moved to the states and began the process of starting their own collection.
Most of their source of wealth came from Coca-Cola bottling in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean. They began in the late 1980s collecting from their home, by appointment only. They made their house free to the public, which they continue to do at present time during Art Basel Week. Then from 2001 to 2007, Rosa De La Cruz purchases the space located in the Design District and launches in 2009 as a private institution, free to the public. This was a 30,000-square foot space known as the Moore Space. The first work that they purchased in their collection was from an artist named Rufino Tamayo who was a Mexican printmaker and painter. The De La Cruz’s played with the idea of strictly having a Latin American collection, but then came to the conclusion to focus on contemporary art overall. The collection includes works such as Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Ana Mendieta, Mark Bradford, Isa Genzken, Christopher Wool, and Peter Doig. As the collection continues to grow, it goes on to become one of the most paramount contemporary art collections in Miami.
The mission of the De La Cruz Collection is to educate and make art more accessible to the community by making admission free of charge. While also providing yearly exhibitions with a focus on contemporary art, supporting the community through lectures, artist led workshops, student travel, and pre-college programs.
ACcess (Free to the PUblic)
The Del la Cruz collection is easily accessible as it is free to the public. They even have very well trained and passionate individuals who work there that offer to give a free tour of the collection if you would like. Also, the owners of the collection, Rosa and Carlos De la Cruz, are always in the collection museum unless they have to travel. So, if you ever stop by and you want to ask questions or have someone explain a certain art piece to you, you can have that for free.
These are just some of the major works that are part of the permanent collection.
Felix Gonzalez Torres
Felix Gonzalez Torres holds true to the traditions of conceptual art and minimalism. He generated sculptures and installations which look at the ideas of private and public life. He does something known as processed art, where he works with different household objects and objects that are likely to change overtime.
One things you can always get from one of Felix Gonzalez Torres sculptures is how he gets the public to interact with it. One of the most iconic pieces he has created is Untitled (Portrait of Dad) (1991), which is a large pile of wrapped candies with a weight of 100-120 pounds that anyone can take. One can say that this is a very simple installation that anyone can do. But he was able to do it first a because it is not simple you have the chance to take one of the candies and even start your own. Another aspect of Felix Gonzalez Torres work is the political significance towards AIDS, which he was deeply affected by.
Ana Mendieta is a Cuban American artist whose work is often thought of as “earth body” works. She deals with the distinctiveness on politics and uses multiple mediums like photography, performance, film, video, drawing, sculpture, and site-specific installations. Mendieta’s work is known to be very unique for its mixture in different types of media. The issues she tries to capture through her art work is mostly about her cultural and spiritual identity, as she was an exile of communist Cuba.
In 1981, she visited Jaurco Park, Cuba and made one of her most influential series yet. This is where she did various carvings on the walls of the caves in the park. She was motivated to do this through the pre-Hispanic goddess of Cuban Taino myths. It was during this time she started to use more concrete objects, always referencing nature, by incorporating materials such as earth, fire, and water. Which you can see in the several pieces they have of Ana Mendieta in the De la Cruz Collection.
Wade Guyton is a sculptor and painter from America. He is known to discover the connections between images and artworks through the use of digital technology like scanner, inkjet printer, and a regular desktop computer. The particular art work that is shown about is done through an inkjet printer. Guyton’s use of these tools help makes the paintings and drawings create stunning accidents that can coincide with our daily lives in how he tries to mimic the blurred images and misprinted images we see on our computers screens and cellphones.
This is probably my favorite work out of the whole collection. When you enter this room, you cannot help but smile. Rob Pruitt is best known or his pop-culture content and beautifully blended background. When looking at the background you can tell they are inspired by Mark Rothko. When Pruitt was younger he would position himself in front of Rothko’s paintings and think about how much better it would look with faces drawn on top of them. Each of the paintings communicate a different facial expression or more deeply different spectrums of emotions that we as human feel on a daily basis.
The De La Cruz Collection has many amazing programs where they really try to connect with local artists in Miami. The two travel programs are funded by Rosa and Carlos De La Cruz and the John S. and James L Knight foundation with help from grant management from the Miami Foundation.
The De La Cruz Collection has a partnership with DASH (Design and Architecture Senior High School)
They send two groups of students to New York to visit Parsons art and design school and the School of Visual Arts (SVA). The students attend a pre-college program in the summer for about one month. This is fully paid for through the De la Cruz Collection. They pay for the hotel, their flight, pay for them to go to different museums and shows, provide them with a stipend, and even go as far as to buy them their own luggage.
The De La Cruz’s both do this because they know that most of these high school students come from low income families, making them not be able to have experiences like this. And because these students are given this opportunity they receive a variety of scholarships since they have a unique experience like this under their belt.
The De La Cruz Collection has a partnership with New World School of the Arts
Here they send the graduating class of New World School of Arts to Europe. They started this partnership in 2010. They pay for the flight, give them a stipend, take them to the best places to eat in the city, and pay for their hotel. The reason for this is also because they want to take the financial burden off of the students so they can focus on learning and really experiencing the trip.
The students go to different cities and experience the art and culture that city had to offer. Last year the students went to Venice and the year before that they went to Berlin and London. This year they are thinking of going to Paris.
The De La Cruz Collection allows for community to come and enjoy a free workshop where they provide both breakfast and lunch. In this workshop, local artists are invited to come and propose a certain subject to teach the individuals of the community. This year they had individuals teach students about virtual reality, 3D printing, and writing.
The De La Cruz Collection also provides free lectures to the public of different artists like Sterling Ruby, Mark Bradford, and Dan Cohlin.
Graphic design, industrial design, and architecture students from DASH take part every year in a design contest and all students are given a scholarship to assist them in their first year of college.
Here I interviewed the woman in the photo. She was a little embarrassed to take a picture on her own so she asked her boyfirend to join in.
What is your name?
Answer: “Maryum Khan”
Where are you from?
Answer: “Orlando, Florida “
Have you ever been here before?
Answer: “No this is our first time being here”.
Why did you come here today?
Answer:“We came to Miami on vacation and decided to have a little date in the design district”.
How did you hear about it?
Answer: “We were looking at different museums and collections in the Design District and decided to go to the ICA and the De La Cruz collection since they were right next to each other”.
Have you always been interested in the arts?
Answer:“Yes, I mostly am interested in modern art”.
What have you liked so far?
Answer: “I am very interested in the various mediums that are shown in each of the art pieces displayed which is why I liked Sterling Ruby’s piece on the first floor”.
What do you do?
Answer:“I am an architect which is why I wanted to come to the Design District, I love the architecture and the atmosphere here”.
What is your name?
Answer: Sai Montilla
What are some major works of the collection?
Answer:“Felix Gonzalez Torres and Anna Mendieta”.
What events or special programs you have?
Answer: “We have a special partnership with DASH. Where we take the students on a trip to Europe. We also allow for local artists to sponsor their work to us. All we want is to support those who want to venture into the art world and make it known that they are not alone”.
How long have you been working here?
Answer: “I have been working here for about 4 years now and I love it. We are also given the opportunity to travel with the students and I am able to learn more about the art and different artists while working here”.
How many people on average would say come in and out of the collection?
Answer: “It varies from time to time. During Art Basel week, it gets pretty full here. The De La Cruz’s made the Collection free to educate the public and the community”.
What would you say differentiates this collections to others?
Answer: “This is a fully funded private collection, they pay for this out of pocket. They really wanted to build something for the community where they were able to come in for free. One thing about the collection that is very different is that the employees are very interactive”.
Do you have a favorite piece?
Answer: “I can’t choose that! That’s like asking who’s your favorite child. But the artists that I really admire are Anna Mendieta, Felix Gonzalez Torres, and Mark Bradford”.
SUMMARY OF THE INSTITUTION (WHAT WORKS? AND WHAT DOESN’T?
When walking in to the De La Cruz collection you are put in a very wholesome and welcoming atmosphere. Rosa and Carlos De La Cruz really wanted to make their collection a very inviting place. Making it free to the public is already a plus and due to it being located in the Design District, which is an area meant to walk around, it allows for more customers to pop in and take a look around at no charge. The individuals who work at the De La Cruz are very intelligent and passionate about what they do. I was able to meet both Sai Montilla and Daniel Clapp, these two employees are filled with an insurmountable amount of passion. They have this genuine spirit within them and willingness to spread their passion to others creating a very thoughtful environment. Both Rosa and Carlos De La Cruz are very generous and caring individuals and you can tell they mentor their employees to be just the same. The collection also has multiple works from Cuban artists like Ana Mendieta, Felix Gonzalez Torres, and Wifredo Lam. Having these artists really speaks to the Latin American community and allows people like my parents and grandparents, from Cuba, to feel more emotionally connected to the variety of works done by these Cuban artists.
All of these distinctive aspects about the collection like the location, the employees, and the free admission entirely work on making this institution a place one must visit. If I had to be picky and speak about what doesn’t work about this institution I would say it is very far and to get their might be a drive but it is worth it in the end.
The beautiful gifts one can bestow upon another are Time and Kindness. When one is giving their time to someone else, they are offering a portion of their life in which it may never get back. Lending a helping hand to one in need and never expecting a thank you. This act of kindness lies within the act of giving and never taking.
Volunteering offers people opportunities to change lives, including their own. It provides this satisfaction of playing a role in someone else’s life, helping those who may not be able to help themselves. It is a means to give back to the community while developing critical social skills and obtaining necessary work experience at the same time.
Being able to take part in other people’s life gave me a sense of happiness, something in which it is tough to come by. Providing them with a sense of pure joy and high spirits, I was able to connect with them on a more profound and emotional level in Harmony Health Center, a nursing and rehabilitation home for seniors. Waking them up to start their day, bathing them, feeding them, and playing with them became my source of content throughout the couple of days that passed by. It was hard, but something worth the while.
With some, I became close enough to call them grandma and grandpa as they began to call out to me every so often when I had my hands full with other tasks at hand. Through them, I was able to learn more about myself, as well. Some things I learned was that I am a very patient person, especially with those that are in a program with Alzheimer’s. Paying attention to the smallest details was an essential task at hand. This program showed me the different kinds of Alzheimer one has. One might try to stand up, leading them to fall. One repeats over and over again, “I want ballet shoes to dance” in Spanish while another would say “Para Que,” meaning “why” in Spanish for any little thing. Others would try to go under the table and escape the nurses. Lastly, some will try to bite, pinch, punch, or kick another.
There is an estimate from alzheimersnewstoday.com that 44 million people worldwide are living with Alzheimer’s disease. Each disease is different from another. It is, as far as I know, not curable, which is very sad. With any home hospitals, their main task is to help others not lose so much of themselves because of the disease. At times, one would have to be a bit harsh on the patient when it comes to telling them to eat or brush their teeth. If not, they will slowly forget to do it by themselves — leading them to gradually become what many call a vegetable state when they are not able to move physically all around.
I hope to continue this route of giving back to my community in any way, shape, or form after this semester.
PS. Please enjoy this small clip of Jose singing “Mucho Corazón” by Luis Miguel; I hope to bring a smile on one’s face and make their day with this.