Sydielim Chong: Art Service Project, Fall 2020

Doral Contemporary Art Museum and Manolo Valdés’ Exhibition: “The Legacy”

Student Bio
Photo taken by Mileidys Chong in Toledo, Spain, June 2018. (CC by 4.0)

Sydielim Chong is a passionate 19-year-old student at Florida International University. Sydielim is on a pre-law track majoring in criminal justice while also applying a minor in statistics. Sydielim is a full-time tutor for Bright and Brainy Tutoring. Sydielim also enjoys watching movies, especially thrillers, and loves going out on adventures in hopes of exploring new things all over the world. As a part of Art Society Conflict, she hopes to learn more of the valuable history behind Miami and the artistic culture rooted in the city.

Who

I chose to volunteer with the Doral Contemporary Art Museum because I had read online that they were doing a collaboration with the famous Spanish artist, Manolo Valdés. Manolo Valdés resides in New York, New York, however he is having his largest outdoor exhibition called “The Legacy” right here in Doral, FL.

This opportunity interested me because of the fact that Valdés is originally from Valencia, Spain. I went to Spain two years ago and vividly remember the role that art took on the communities, the streets, and the province overall. I thought it would be fun and not to mention cool meeting and getting a chance to volunteer for a Spanish artist like Manolo Valdés as well as DORCAM who is sponsoring the entire thing.

Why

At first, I was simply looking for someone or some place to volunteer at for the means of this project. However, I chose DORCAM, specifically, for the experience and chance to work with and meet Manolo Valdés. The exhibition “The Legacy” caught my attention because it’s composed of about 18 pieces of huge sculptures that will be spread out around the city of Doral. I thought this was cool because it is something that would bring people together to enjoy a new chapter of art in Miami.

The fact that I would be one of the first people in the city to view this exhibition truly made me more excited to be a part of this experience. Furthermore, one of the main things that attracted me to this opportunity is the fact that Manolo Valdés was born in Valencia, Spain. In 2018, I was able to go with my family to visit and tour Spain among other European provinces.

Photo taken by Sydielim Chong in Spain, June 2018 (CC by 4.0)

The picture above is only one of the many photos capturing the true nature of art throughout the province. As pointed out, Spain, like other provinces in Europe has an extremely artistic historical context to it as it was one of the first places where many artists were first discovered, specifically, during the Spanish renaissance. Due to my having been to Spain, the opportunity to meet and see the work of Spanish Artist Valdés seemed like one I couldn’t possibly pass up.

How

I loved this experience, not only because it was fun, but because it gave me a chance to really begin to value and appreciate art as well as artists. Seeing Manolo Valdés’ work in person truly helped me understand the meaning behind his artworks and sculptures as well as what it means to be an artist. As far as exhibitions go, I only ever saw them in movies. I was really excited to volunteer with DORCAM because I got to see the artwork firsthand and well as attend my first exhibition. This experience was one that really opened my eyes when it comes to just how much artwork is appreciated, even right here where I live.

Where & What

December 5th, 2020.

On this beautiful, sunny, Saturday morning I woke up and jumped out of bed. Since I first heard about this opportunity, I had been so excited, and it was finally here. Anyways, I had to be there at around 9:00am to help prepare for the launch of the exhibition. The opening ceremony was at Doral Central Park. Once I got there, I met with Dainy and we started to set up. First, we had to help set the tent, we were sharing a tent with the city of Doral. I found this fun because I got to organize all the cool little things they were giving away to the visitors.

Photo of tent and stand at the event taken by Sydielim Chong (CC by 4.0)

The picture above shows the tent along with all the goodies the city was giving away to visitors. The goodies included face masks which were donated to us by one of the sponsors of the event, South Baptist Hospital, hand sanitizers, water bottles, and little bags to hold everything in. The museum also provided booklets that included information on Manolo Valdés, his exhibition, and the museum itself. The booklet also included a little map showing where all his sculptures are going to be spread around the city of Doral.

On this day was the opening ceremony and once I got there, it didn’t take long for me to realize that I would not be meeting the artist himself. While I was more than happy to be a part of the big day and to be one of the first people to see this exhibition, I had also been really excited because I thought I was going to meet the man himself. Unfortunately, due to his age and him being high risk, COVID-19 did not allow for him to be with us that day. However, the ceremony was still just as special.

Photo of Mayor and colleagues cutting the ribbon at the ceremony taken by Sydielim Chong (CC by 4.0)

The ceremony began with the mayor of Doral, Juan Carlos Bermudez, thanking the museum along with all the sponsors of the event and then going on to cut the ribbon and officially kick off the start of the event.

Once the Mayor cut the ribbon, there was a special performance of two dancers, then a rock band came to perform music for everyone there. Afterwards, there were two trolleys who came and picked up people taking them to all the other parks in Doral in which the rest of Valdés’ sculptures were being placed.

December 6th, 2020.

On December 6th, I pretty much got to the park and once again and helped everyone set up the tent. This day was a bit simpler, it was mostly just about being there, being happy, and sharing the details of what was happening to all the bystanders.

Throughout the day I stood at the tent and helped give out more goodies to the public as well as explained to everyone who asked what we were doing, what these sculptures and exhibition truly meant for the city, and how this is free to the public and is all for their enjoyment.

Photo of Manolo Valdés’ sculpture taken by Sydielim Chong. (CC by 4.0)
When
Screenshot of approved hours on MyHonorsFiu.
Summary

Truthfully, when I was told I would be helping with the opening of this new exhibition, I thought it would consist of a lot more work. I never would have thought it was going to be as easy and fun as it was. Dainy, the volunteer coordinator who was with me the entire time, would constantly repeat to me to just enjoy myself and that all she wanted me to do was help out with the tent and for me to have fun.

I couldn’t be more grateful for the chance I got to be there those days and volunteer with DORCAM. I will definitely be going back to volunteer with them more as they really made sure I was truly getting the full experience of my first exhibition. The only thing I would have changed would be the fact that Manolo Valdés himself wasn’t there, however, I had an amazing time participating and just getting the chance to view his art.

Author: Syd

Hi class! My name is Sydielim (Syd for short) and I’m currently a sophomore studying criminal justice and statistics. I hope I get to know all of you a bit better through the semester!

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