Vanessa Lopez: Art Service 2019

Photos taken and edited by Vanessa Lopez.

Gardening at Vizcaya Museum and Gardens:

On December 12, 2019, I visited Vizcaya Museum and Gardens to help out with gardening work. That morning, it rained without warning, and I was expecting the event to be cancelled.

However, upon my arrival, I was greeted by one of their horticulture staff and taken to a greenhouse. The greenhouse was brimming with various plants, potted or hanging. The bright greens and the colors of blooming orchids contrasted with the gloomy weather outside.

Photos taken and edited by Vanessa Lopez.

My task was to clean and organize over 50 potted plants. With gloves and scissors, I carefully peeled off the thorns attached to their stems. On top of that, I had to remove any yellow leaves and dead plants. While cleaning these pots, I was greeted by various friends, such as a tiny spider or a caterpillar. As I worked, I could hear the faint “pitter-patter” of the raindrops hitting the roof of the greenhouse.

After cleaning all the plants, I was then told to move and organize these labelled potted plants. Initially, they all looked the same, but upon closer inspection, some were different species or types, and it was essential for me to group them by number.

At Vizcaya, there are about 14,000 plants being grown and maintained. This was my first time doing any type of gardening work. At first, I was worried about the dirt underneath my nails and the bugs crawling about. But as time passed by, I touched the plants with more confidence. And more importantly, I started appreciating nature more.

Photo taken and edited by Vanessa Lopez.

Reference Contact Information:

David Hardy – Horticulture Manager – (305)-680-8444

Gardening Volunteer – 12/12/2019; 3 hours

Family Day at the Institute of Contemporary Art Miami:

Photos taken and edited by Vanessa Lopez.

At the Institute of Contemporary Art Miami (ICA Miami), every third Saturday of the month is “Family Day,” in which there are various activities and arts and crafts for visitors of all ages. I decided to volunteer on December 15th. Family Day occurs between 1:00 PM and 4:00 PM. I was asked to arrive at 10:00 AM to prepare for the event.

Upon my arrival, we were tasked with setting up all the tents and tables. We made designated areas for different activities, and made them look presentable. We also organized and prepared all the materials. When the event officially started, families began pouring in and gravitating towards the various activities.

I was helping out at the “Hands in Hands” table, in which visitors can trace their hands on construction paper, write a word in it, and paste it onto a board. The goal was to make poetry out of the various words pasted onto the board. Visitors of all ages enjoyed this activity, and we had fun helping them be creative.

Photos taken and edited by Vanessa Lopez.

Throughout the day, not only was I able to connect with visitors from all over the globe, I was also able to connect with the employees at ICA Miami. It was interesting to see people of different personalities and ages come together and organize this event. 

Furthermore, volunteering at the ICA Miami made me want to go to these types of events more. I feel like I know have the initiative to encourage my friends and family to participate in art-related events. 

Reference Contact Information:

Itzel Basualdo – 305-901-5272

Family Day Volunteer – 12/15/19; 7 hours

Author: Vanessa Lopez

I am currently a sophomore at FIU, where I am majoring in English Education and pursuing a certificate in Japanese Studies. I was born in Miami to Cuban and Nicaraguan parents, and grew up with a passion for English literature. Beyond reading and writing, my hobbies consist of learning how to graphic design and studying kanji.

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