Lorena Cuenca: Miami as Text 2020-2021

Lorena in Downtown Miami, Florida, 2020. Image Taken by Eric Forteza (CC by 4.0)

Lorena Cuenca is a junior at the Florida International University Honors College where she is majoring in Business Administration. Lorena earned her Associates degree at Miami Dade College during high school and is looking forward to completing her college journey at FIU. She plans on attending Columbia University where she hopes to join their dual degree program for Law and Business and become a corporate attorney. While academics are her priority, she likes to dabble in performance arts. On her time off from school and work, Lorena enjoys writing music, singing, choreographing, and dancing. Lorena wants nothing more than to see the world; while Miami is a beautiful city, she knows there is so much more than what is in her own backyard.

Deering As Text

“Deering’s Treasures” By Lorena Cuenca of FIU at The Deering Estate, September 9th, 2020

Miami, a growing city, embracing change with every passing year. A somewhat overlooked example of cultural mixing represented perfectly by the construction of the Richmond Cottage and Stone House in Deering Estate. A chaotic blend of cultures including that of the American owner Charles Deering, the Bahamians who with their blood, sweat, and tears built the Stone House and the Islamic and Spanish influences embedded in the design and structure of the Stone House. Stepping into the Stone House is an experience in itself. The house bears a resemblance to something straight out of an old vampire movie or show, something Dracula would live in, holding Spanish art and Chinese pieces in the inside. Charles Deering had this house built to hold and display his pieces. Enjoying his money and youth he began traveling across Europe collecting art, with every new piece welcomed into the family as one of his own.

The first room I stepped into felt grand. What I believed to be a ballroom to hold parties and events was the room where a flourishing artist displayed his work. This was what Deering wanted. In what looked like an office, Deering displayed religious pieces he brought back from Spain alongside a number of beautifully painted pottery placed all around the room. For the first time, but hopefully not the last, I got the chance to feast my eyes on two stained glass panels. Both windows have been restored and displayed within one of the rooms inside the Stone House. The room itself was dimly lit, more so than the rest of the house, but it did not need any light. The windows allowed all the light necessary to shine through showcasing the brightly colored stained glass and the stunning image made for us to see. This house was just full of surprises; with every turn there seem to have been something new to appreciate like the creative mosaic made by the Bahamians who despite having no knowledge about mosaics nor the materials needed to make one created something much more memorable. Using seashells, coral, and a variety of other random items they build something, something new and refreshing, something to add to the outside of the house. Now the Stone House was as beautiful on the outside as it was on the inside.

The Richmond Cottage has a history of its own. The house was built by Samuel H. Richmond for himself and his family to live in. A couple of years after it was built, it was expanded and introduced to the public as the Richmond Hotel. A generation later, Deering took the Hotel under his wing and added it to his list of homes. Deering made sure the house and its surrounding nature were being taken care of. He took into consideration what was surrounding the houses as much as what was in them. He contacted botanists and architects to restore and protect all he was fond of. Charles Deering was clearly a man of fascinating interest and while I enjoyed touring one of his homes and a house built to store his prized possessions, I am looking forward to exploring the remaining part of the estate and take a look at the nature he put effort into restoring.

South Beach As Text

“Hiding A Dark Past” By Lorena Cuenca of FIU at South Beach, September 23rd, 2020

I have to admit, despite having lived in Miami for nearly my entire life I had never been to South Beach before. The thought of going just never interested me, it seemed like something I would not be into, boy was I wrong. South Beach is a uniquely beautiful place; from buildings that seemed to have been taken from different parts of the world to a pride flag at every corner this is something I was definitely missing out on. While the area puts up an interestingly colorful front with creatively designed buildings and odd structures its past is anything but. Starting off as a mess of an ecosystem being torn apart from its roots South Beach has certainly become an image of acceptance and diversity, but it was not always like that.

Carl Fisher took to South Beach, then Ocean Beach, like a “child” of his own; stripping it of its identity and turning it into a place of segregation and profit. He hired the poor and foreign to build a place they would never be allowed to call home. They poured their hearts into building up South Beach only to be pushed away and only asked to return if they were talented and capable enough to entertain the white and privileged. The Black Americans who created what we see today were only seen and heard when the residents wanted them to be. Despite all their efforts they were never allowed to enjoy the neighborhood. This treatment, however, was not exclusive to those of a different color. Even some who had the skin tone and money to live there at the time were pushed to reside south of 5th Street because the stigma surrounding their religion. Those who were Jewish and wanted to live in the center of it all were simply not allowed. There is a lot to the history of South Beach. While the neighborhood looks to be flourishing, the pain and resentment of those who built it along with the reasons behind their oppression and judgment is something that can never be erased or forgotten.

Bakehouse As Text

“Hurting Right Below Our Noses” By Lorena Cuenca of FIU at the Bakehouse, October 7th, 2020

Image Taken by Lorena Cuenca (CC by 4.0)

It is sad how we can praise and benefit from the beauty of something one minute and decide that it is no longer important to us the next. Slowly but surely we are killing everything on this planet due to our selfish advances at a “better” life and it sometimes seems like no matter how much we try, we just cannot seem to undo the damage we have done. Scientists spend their time and energy studying marine life, putting effort into uncovering new ways and methods we can adopt to better serve the flora and fauna we have been overlooking and continue to overlook. I believe it is our duty to care for the planet we live in, the planet that lends itself to our stupid desires and whims. It simply deserves better from us because, at this rate, there will be nothing left.

While it can feel like anything we do is not enough to make a difference, if we all just combine our efforts, we can change the world. Even if we lack the tools necessary to ensue change, one voice is enough. The voice of the people, the voice of the informed. For centuries, artists have used their talents and platform to bring awareness to pressing issues. They have taken it upon themselves to inform the public through their pieces. Art is something everyone can enjoy; it is something we can all appreciate. When it stands as the connection between science and society and the public, it helps us better understand what is going on that we do or cannot see. Artists like Lauren Shapiro lend their talents and skills to their craft for the greater good, to make a change. What we cannot understand from articles and scientific journals we can take from a painting or sculpture. What seems like a cluster of words all begins to make sense once we take a look at a work of art. As if everything begins to fall into place, we start to feel something while in the presence of something of true substance. There is no greater feeling than that of being a part of something you believe will make a difference. That is how I felt while using my bare hands to add on to Ms. Shapiro’s piece. I believed my lack of artistic ability would hinder me useless, but I guess there is so much more to art than talent when you have something to say. I hope this exhibit will succeed in bringing awareness to the current state of our coral reef ecosystem and how we can do something about keeping it alive and beautiful.

Rubell Museum As Text

“What I Now Know” By Lorena Cuenca of FIU at the Rubell Museum, October 21st, 2020

When it comes to art, I have never been one to enjoy it. While I understand that it plays an important role in society and that the human race can be defined by what we create, I have always had a hard time connecting to visual art. I sometimes believe that I lack the depth to understand and see the value in certain pieces because they are not aesthetically appealing to me. This hypothesis is proven wrong when it comes to my relationship with performance art. My entire life I have been creating, I consider myself an artist in that I write music and choreograph dances. I can write a song from a word; I can choreograph a routine from a move. I can literally create from the smallest of things and build upon nothing yet when it comes to a sculpture, drawing, or painting, I seem to struggle to see what others can, if anything at all. It has always been like this. My creativity shines best when it is not limited to something that is purely visual. I need to do; I need to feel and visual art has somehow never satisfied me how it does others.

However, I refuse to allow this to keep me from learning and experiencing. It might take me more time and effort to see the bigger picture, but I will always try my best. The more chances I get to visit museums, exhibits, or galleries the more I get it. With every new experience I further realize that I should not deem myself any less worthy of seeing pieces simply because I do not understand them. In art, there are a million different interpretations to one thing; there is more to be seen and understood than what is at the surface. There is greater depth, a longer story, a more difficult journey than can be seen by just looking. You have to open more than your eyes to really see what is there and at times, what is not. Art is more than brush strokes on a canvas, it is more than clay on a platform. Art is expression, to truly see what is being expressed you must open up your mind and heart. You must welcome everything being shown, even if you disagree. Art is not always “beautiful”. Art is not always right. Sometimes art is not even art.

I have learned that art is also about “community”. It is about taking others’ experiences and learning from them as if they were our own. It is about seeing life through the eyes of other people, even those we have yet to meet. Had I not visited the Rubell Museum with my class, I would have never seen the different pieces through their eyes. What to me symbolized a sense of inclusivity, a child being welcomed into the arms of people like him, or a child being let go off into the world because he was deemed ready through the placement of deer antlers on a sculpture was seen as a symbol of divinity. There is a lot to learn from art and even more to learn from each other, all it takes is creativity and openness to new perspectives.

Deering Hike As Text

“Hidden Beauty” By Lorena Cuenca of FIU at the Deering Hike, November 4th, 2020

There is a lot to be said about the world around us. Unfortunately, we never care enough to pay attention and give it the credit it deserves. The Deering Estate is home to a plethora of fauna and flora unknown to the general public. Visiting the estate and participating in the hike opened up a whole new world to me. I learned more about the people native to the area. The Tequesta inhabited the area before the Spanish took control over Florida. Evidence of their inhabitance can be seen through the presence of the shell tools found near the water and the burial ground where it is believed that ceremonies were held to commemorate the passing of their fellow family and friends.

Not far from this area, we found a well so precisely dug as if done by a machine. On one of the well walls, there was a carving of a Free Mason symbol. This was the most fascinating aspect of the well to me. It was as if while the well was being “built”, its creators decided to leave a message; a mark of their own to let others know who was there and what they stood for. Going deeper into the hike, we set out to find a fallen airplane that was apparently abandoned in the mangrove filled waters after crashing, never to be removed. We continued on our adventure, talking about the animals that lurk the areas along with all the different plants that exist on the estate like the gumbo limbo trees with peeling bark and adaptable independent branches, these violet colored flowering plant commonly known as Gayfeather, and key lime trees that feed some of the animals on the grounds. The last part of the hike was my favorite. The beautiful greenery, butterflies, and dragon flies made it look like some fairytale oasis, a location right out of a movie. It was peaceful, nothing could be heard other than the wind the blew and shook the tree branches. On our way back, it was even more stunning. The Spanish moss that hung from the trees looking like the perfect seasonal decorations made me enjoy the moment that much more. It felt unreal and I loved every minute of it. I learned that there is so much more out there for me to discover and love. The world is an incredibly beautiful place, and I cannot wait to continue to have the opportunities to experience it in all its glory before it is gone.

Downtown Miami As Text

“What History Buries” By Lorena Cuenca of FIU at Downtown Miami, November 25th, 2020

To think that I have spent the past four years walking the streets of downtown, completely ignoring the beauty and history it was trying to share with me leaves me ashamed. I was so worried about my own struggles and pain, running around completely blinded that I overlooked what was right before my eyes: history. Built on the sacrifice of the indigenous people who first inhabited the area, Downtown Miami was nothing but barren land with potential. This potential was seen by Henry Morrison Flagler, whose vision helped shaped Miami into the bright and “thriving” city we now know and love. With the upgrades made by Flagler to Miami during the late 1900s hundreds using the hard work from the natives of the area, Miami quickly grew in popularity with Downtown being one of the most populated areas at the time. Despite its quick growth there is a lot about Miami, downtown alone, that its residents are unaware of when it comes to its history.

After Spain lost possession over Florida, the United States set into motion the Indian Removal Act forcing Seminole Indians further away from home and closer to South Florida. The Second Seminole War began in 1935 and was “marked” with the killing of Major Francis Longhorn Dade, whom the county was named after. Downtown Miami is marked with a collection of tragedies that have been covered up like buried bodies. The Longhouse, located in Lummus Park and placed there during the 1920s to be saved from being demolished, was built somewhere between the 1840s and 1850s by some of the enslaved Africans under Colonel and Senator William F. English. Holding the title as the oldest preserved building in the city of Miami, the Longhouse has withstood the test of time in American history. Downtown Miami, a place built on sacrifice, still carries a great array of passion, only that now it is transmitted in art, beautiful scenery, and incredible places to visit on your time off. So beautiful and full of life with a fun and exciting night life secreting a dark history, holding back the voices of the people who were never even given the right to speak.

Everglades As Text

“Good to be Back” By Lorena Cuenca of FIU at The Everglades, January 13th, 2021

On my first ever visit to the Everglades my fifth-grade class and I walked under the hot sun as we called out everything we happened to see. I still remember standing on a bridge and counting alligators. I counted and counted until there seemed to not be any more space in the water. I counted 42 that day. I was completely fascinated with everything I saw that day so much so that the thought of finally having an excuse to return kept me up the night before our trip. There was not a force in the world that could keep me from participating.

The wet hike itself was incredibly entertaining. The water went from barely reaching my knees and looking quite muggy to reaching my chest and being as clear as day. So clear I could see everything in it, including my own feet. Once we reached clearer water our lovely guide, Ranger Dylann, read to us a poem that perfectly embodied the moment and all that the national park had to offer. The quiet area, far from the cars, far from civilization offered to me the feeling I had been longing for. The serenity I was experiencing was exactly what I needed to help me to distress and disconnect from reality. On my own, during our exploration break, I ventured far enough to where I could hear nothing but the birds resting in the trees, my own breath, and the sound of the water adjusting as I walked through it.

The rest of the day was filled with nothing but fun memories; from walking around and giving a name to every creature we came across to actually learning about the species of animals and plants we encountered with the help of our resident nature expert, Jennifer Quintero. We roamed the waters, bringing chaos and noise everywhere we stepped, I left loving every single minute away from the rest of the world. It was almost as if nothing else was real. It was just us and the park, the park and us. It was so much fun that even after we were done for the day, we took it upon ourselves to go down another path together to see what else we could discover and enjoy. The Everglades is a beautiful place, one that should be a memory to all Floridians. It is so much more than a “swamp”, it is home to a great number of different plant and animal species. The Everglades is not a burden, but a paradise instead and we should treat it as such.

Margulies As Text

“Discovered” By Lorena Cuenca of FIU at The Margulies Collection, January 27th, 2021

What is art? What makes something art and who decides that? Does art have to be beautiful? On Wednesday, January 27th, my class, and I took a trip to The Margulies Collection where we discussed how the definition of art has been altered over the decades. Art itself continues to change whether society believes it has evolved or otherwise. A lot of what is considered art today would have not been considered art in centuries prior. The Margulies Collection started by Martin Z. Margulies in the 1970s has turned into a beautiful collection depicting a timeline of the world’s events and creations. The collection itself is filled with almost disturbingly interesting pieces that shine a light on some of the world’s most dark times in history while also showcasing the beauty of what we have overcome.

While making our way through the collection I began to wonder why these specific pieces were chosen. They are not necessarily beautiful, nor is there something about all of them that stands out. I began to wonder what the message was. To me there seemed to be a theme. I would like to believe that Mr. Margulies wanted to teach something, I believe his message of our past was deeper than the pieces alone. Walking through the collection feels like being told a story moving towards a hopefully better future. There are pieces that nearly grab your attention immediately like Hurma by Magdalena Abakanowicz, which looks like a collection of headless bodies ranging in height and shape with rough textures, and others that leave you confused as to what the artist was trying to express like Seated Woman by Willem de Kooning. There is a lot to admire and appreciate from the collection that Mr. Margulies has taken the time to put together. In my opinion, the most important thing art can do is open up a conversation and this collection does that well. The entire day was filled with non-stop conversations between everyone in our group. As students, some who know very little about art and art history, we were intrigued by the pieces and wanted to know more. Each piece told a story, and we were ready to read it. I believe that is what makes the collection so amazing. You can walk through several collections and museums throughout the country, throughout the world even, but I truly believe none would compare.

Bill Baggs As Text

“Stunningly Clear” By Lorena Cuenca of FIU at The Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park, February 10th, 2021

The Bill Bags Cape Florida State Park, commonly known as the home to “el farito” is a place that has gone through the trials and tribulations of South Floridian history. Bill Baggs ranks in the top 10 beaches in American coming in at number seven. The lighthouse, built in 1825, has been a victim of several attacks in our history. The area was the first home to the Tequesta Indians, according to historic records based on artifacts found in the 1980s. After being “discovered” by Juan Ponce De Leon, named Santa Marta in the early 1500s, and claimed for Spain, the land went back and forth through the hands of colonizing countries several times. After the lighthouse was built it became a symbol of pride; it was attacked by the Indians that had been affected by the Seminole Wars. While this now might seem like a useless attack, one insignificant to either side; it was a small victory on the natives’ side. They had been pushed out of their homes with nowhere to go and hurt by the laws and policies of the colonizers. There was nothing they could do but take down what was a physical representation of growth and advancement to the newcomers. With this act, they established their resilience.

The park was destroyed with plans to fill the land and do away with the wetlands in the 1950s. An aspect so crucial to the health of coastal marine life and the ecosystem inhabiting the area was essentially being eradicated. Over 40 years later, Hurricane Andrew hit and affected the work that had been done inspiring the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Parks and Recreation to devise a plan to work towards the revival and restoration of the park. The plan took into consideration the erasure of the vegetation types that were a part of the area before its destruction as well as wave energy and tidal patterns in order to design an adequate plan for the park. While it took quite some type to perfect the plan it was incredibly successful and five years after the restoration began the wetlands had been completely revitalized.

Now the state park is a place where you are welcome to go and enjoy the beach and partake in a multitude of exciting activities such as bicycling, birding, canoeing, hiking, snorkeling, and many others. It is a place rich in history and beautiful sites. Bill Baggs is another place I had never been to, one that was completely unknown to me as someone who has lived in Miami nearly their entire life. Its history and beauty were nothing more than another piece to the puzzle I had yet to begun to put together. Now that I have had the honor of getting to know the park, I am pleased to say that it is all coming together beautifully. I look forward to learning so much more about it and hopefully visiting more in the future.

River of Grass As Text

“Another Surprise” By Lorena Cuenca of FIU at The Everglades National Park, February 24th, 2021

As a much-anticipated return to the Everglades, we decided to venture on to discover what other surprises the park had in store for us. We started the day off with a lecture on the history of the Everglades standing before a solution hole by Research Road. During the lecture, provided in part by both Ranger Dylann and Professor Bailly, we spotted some deer roaming in the distance. That was the first interesting sight of the day which was then followed by many.

We drove off looking forward to reaching the HM69 Nike Missile Base. Being there felt like taking a trip to a past I never heard of. It was surprising to find out about events that had taken place so close to my home that played such a big part in the history of our country. We learned about the site which lost its official use in 1979. The idea behind it and its construction was a response to the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. We walked towards the base, also known as Alpha Battery, where we were able to get a closer look. We then proceeded to get ready for our hike.

We took a short ride to our starting point and then the hike began. We walked for over a mile on the mushy ground caused by algae, through temperature-changing waters, and over massive anthills. We continued our hike in hopes of eventually reaching the first structure ever built in the area. After quite some time we finally spotted the structure in the distance. We made our way to it and took a look inside. The structure itself was noticeably falling apart surrounded by old broken bottles and bird skeletons. After spending a decent amount of time discussing the structure and taking pictures, we set off to find a way back to home base. While looking for a means out of the area we were stunned by a flock of Roseate Spoonbills to the far left of the structure. After admiring the group of brightly colored pink birds we made an attempt to find a way out. We struggled a bit before cutting through what looked like a scene from a film. Tree branches coming out from all angles with completely uneven ground made the adventure all that more interesting. We started making our way back while recounting the day’s events. The day ended with a not-so-secret swim in one of the sinkholes we had seen earlier. It was a perfect ending; things had gone full circle and all the surprises made it that much more enjoyable.

Frost Art Museum As Text

“Acceptance” By Lorena Cuenca of FIU at The Frost Art Museum, March 10th, 2021

After having the opportunity to appreciate the art we had been viewing all day we were given the chance to create some of our own. In all honesty, I had not taken a single art class or drawn and/or painted anything in the last decade. I feared I would end up staring at the paper and materials for minutes while my classmates poured their thoughts into their work, but I ended up surprising myself. Inspiration came to me incredibly quickly. We were giving a white rose and a variation of art supplies I immediately knew what I wanted to do. I wanted to use the rose and a careful selection of colors to tell a story, my story.

Since I can remember, I have had a special attachment to white roses. They have always been a symbol of purity and beauty to me. I know that different colored roses are seen to represent different things. Red roses represent love, pink roses represent gratitude, yellow roses represent friendship, etc. I like to see white roses as canvases; they are blank slates capable of becoming any color and represent anything. I was once a white rose, we all were, unaffected by anything, untouched, and uninfluenced by the world. This all started changing as I started growing up. I became self-aware and ashamed of every aspect of my personality and appearance, and I started rejecting certain interests because I thought I had too. I wanted to come off as a strong person because I did not want thought of as a pushover, so I rejected qualities that were associated with femininity and adopted more “masculine” presenting characteristics. I wanted to be myself but myself did not fit the image that I was looking to project so I erased it. To express this, I covered the tip of the rose’s petals with black and dark blue, colors that are seen as more professional and usually associated with masculinity, and the inside of the rose with a bright pink which is seen as a feminine color. I wanted for the rose to represent me: pure in nature but somehow tainted with what I truly enjoyed and wanted to be hidden on the inside. I placed the tainted rose in the middle of the paper and used extra petals to stamp purple around it and added black coming from the center out. I used the color purple to represent the happy medium I am trying to reach, a deeper pink to represent the qualities I have started to reclaim, and black to represent the fact that I am still working on who I am , tying back to the black on the rose. I am still young, still learning about who I am and trying to accept what that means, for this reason I named my creation “acceptance”. There is a lot I wish to accomplish and many places I wish to go but I will no longer allow myself to sacrifice what makes me who I am to get there.

Coral Gables as Text

“New in the Midst” By Lorena Cuenca of FIU at Coral Gables, March 24th, 2021

The Biltmore Hotel, built by George Merrick, is luxury hotel in the city of Coral Gables. Home to what was once the largest pool in the world, the hotel hosted galas, swimwear competitions, and golfing tournaments during its prime. The building was turned into a hospital during the second world war where its most incredible feature, the grand pool, had been mostly filled in. After the war, the structure continued being used as a hospital for veterans and was then turned into a medical school after the University of Miami took ownership. Once abandoned, the hotel became a usual meetup location for the neighborhood kids. Children who grew up in the area and heard stories about the hotel would sneak in every so often despite the guards that had been hired to look over the building by the City of Coral Gables. After several years of simply being sneaking in territory, a place where kids would go and share ghost stories and mess around, the building had begun to be renovated in preparation for active use. For around a decade, ghost stories were told in the lobby by Linda Spitzer, a professional storyteller, once a week for the entertainment of the guests.

Visiting the hotel had been another first of mine. It was my first time exploring the city of Coral Gables and getting to tour the hotel added onto that experience. We started off meeting with our tour guide for the day on the lobby on the second floor. The incredibly high ceilings were in part adorned with patterns of beautiful colors and shapes. The ceiling of the lobby was divided in two with an array of columns and arches dividing the patterned side from one colored blue. On the side of the different ceiling was a staircase which was said to have been used by other guests to move around the building without accessing the rooms or disturbing the hotel’s guests. After learning a bit about the hotel’s history, we were directed into a large room, quite ballroom like, on that floor. The room was once not a room but instead a continuation of the lobby which was now divided with the installment of a wall. We ventured outside and continued to converse on the balcony as we watched guests having lunch on the floor below. After entering another room whose ceilings matched the carpet, a decision which had fortunately been made to keep the authenticity of some of the rooms unlike the lobby and the first room we visited, we headed outside in search of the pool. The pool was massive, despite the alterations it had experienced while the building was in use during the war. It was beautiful and for some reason not filled with guests, which we were told was normal. For the last part of the tour, we took a look at the hotel’s very own tribute to la Giralda in Sevilla, Spain. While we did not get the chance to visit the bell tower, being able to admire it, even from a distance, was breath taking.

Vizcaya As Text

“One Last Time” By Lorena Cuenca of FIU at Vizcaya Museum and Garden, April 7th, 2021

While it being the last class of the semester nearly brought tears to my eyes, I was excited to visit Vizcaya once more. My first-time visiting was in middle school. I remember entering the building feeling consumed by everything I laid my eyes upon while being amazed by the stunning china and questionably tiny rooms. The second time was one filled with chaos, as my mom and I hauled through the gardens attempting to lift a possibly ten-pound dress for my 15’s pictures. While our history was one filled with informative tours and interesting experiences, I was glad to return and continue the legacy.

We started the day with an introduction to James Deering, once owner of the mansion, by a life-sized sculpture of Deering’s own ideal self. Brother of Charles Deering, builder of Deering Estate, James was known for his love of traveling and hosting lavish parties. A man in the latter half of his life, with no kids or family to call his own, took interest in creating a place filled with all the luxurious items money could buy. As we walked towards the house, through the south entrance of the mansion we were welcomed by beautiful greenery and water fountains that guided the way. For the south entrance, one that was probably only for servants to use, it was quite a view. We reached the front of the house and discussed some of the sights. Before the house, on the right, was an arc, while in history arcs were built after military triumph and victory once new land and people were conquered, Deering seemed to have wanted on simply for aesthetic purposes. We entered the house and were greeted by a statute. A man standing above a bathtub, sporting a head piece of grapes while holding a grape filled pouring device in his hand, with two babies and dogs by his feet. It was quite the sculpture to experience, one that apparently represented what Deering deemed to be the most important to him. We ventured into one of the hallways. The first room was a waiting room with smaller separate rooms for guests to freshen up in and a floor pattern that paralleled the ceiling. The second was Deering’s office, covered in books on every wall it was beautiful with paintings that were certainly not of his family but of random children which seemed to fill the void. We moved onto the second room, regarded as the Marie Antoinette room and slowly made our way to the last room in the hallway. This room was quite interesting. Every item has a story of its own. From small lion sculptures with inaccurate faces that adorned the table to an organ that had a painting above it which was cut to fit in place, everything had a life before reaching Deering.

We walked outside, through the glass door that were once not there, to discuss the piece that was built in the water. Inspired by shipwrecks, Deering commissioned an artist to build the sculpture. The sculpture was not one simply for aesthetic purposes, we were told that Deering would host parties on it. We came back inside and took a look at the other side of the first floor which had the music room, kitchen, and dining room. The first room was filled with instruments in incredible condition, likely because they have never been played, and I fairy like, flowery chandelier. The kitchen had beautiful plates and sets stored in glass casings and the most advanced appliances of the time. The dining room was beautiful, the table set and perfectly inviting, despite rarely having been used. After becoming familiar with the inside of the house we went onto look at the gardens. I personally believe Deering really outdid himself on the outside portion of the house. The entirety of the outside consisted of a secret garden that guests visited often for its beauty and lawlessness, a small maze, a beautiful area outlooking the water on the side of the house, another area where guests could meet that had one of the many hidden doors of the house, and an abundance or greenery and flowers. Everywhere we went was comparable if not more stunning than the last; it was absolutely my favorite part. Nothing about the last class of the semester could have been grander than that.

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