Claudia Martinez: Miami Service Project 2021

“Claudia Martinez at Berry Farms” pictured by friendly Samaritan./ CC by 4.0

Hello, I am Claudia Martinez. I am an Economics major at Florida International University. This is my second semester taking Professor John Bailly’s classes and I am so glad I chose to be in his class. Not only was I able to explore Miami while taking his class but I was also able to take part in community service projects that he organized. I love Miami and everything it has to offer whether you are a resident of a tourist and taking this class helps me study more of it. To say the least, his class surpassed all expectation.


 I volunteered for both Deering Estate and Bill Baggs State Park both of which were coastal clean ups. Bill Baggs is a state park that tours the lighthouse and the beach of southern Key Biscayne as well as a place for leisure bike riding and wildlife viewing. The State park also serves as a museum with insightful exhibits about its history. On the other hand, Deering Estate is a national landmark part of the National Register of Historic Places where the estate owned by Charles Deering resides. The estate has preserved artifacts that once belonged to the Tequesta civilization and has also preserved the estate that once belonged by Charles Deering. It is surrounded by a concentration of mangroves which keep the surrounding land true to its origins. Even though some may associate negatively with the mangroves and the fact that they block the view to the coast, Deering Estate has maintained a balance between mangroves and places reserved for the sea view.


Screenshot of email sent and taken by Claudia Martinez. CC by 4.0
Screenshot of response email taken by Claudia Martinez. CC by 4.0

Bill Baggs State Park

This is my first-time visiting Bill Baggs State Park, so as a new comer I was glad that Professor Bailey organized a cleanup and made this opportunity accessible to its students, specially during the pandemic when finding community service opportunities is difficult to find. I was glad to take part in the in this service project where I was able to be a part of the effort in helping Florida’s coast become cleaner while also bringing awareness of the threat of pollution that animals are exposed to.

Deering Estate

Since I had volunteered at Deering Estate on my first semester, I was aware that one clean up was not going to be enough for this state park.  However, the difference about coming to Deering Estate was that I was going to do a coastal clean up at Deering Point right next to the park. Snow that I had experience doing community service at this site from the previous semester, I knew that I was going to do community service there again but it would be a coastal clean up at Deering Point that was next to it. I was fortunate to see that they were still providing community service opportunities on the weekends to a large amount of people and I took advantage of this as spots for community service quickly run out.

Where and What?

Bill Baggs State Park

“Classmates, park rangers and Claudia Martinez teaming up during a coastal cleanup”, taken by Nicole Patrick. CC by 4.0

“Deering Point” taken by Claudia Martinez. CC by 4.0

On 21 February 2021, my classmates and I got into small groups to help clear stubborn sand from one of Bill Baggs entry paths to the beach while other groups cleared weeds from the ground. As we cleared the paths from stubborn sand, my classmates and I were surprised to learn that using a bulldozer was not an option as it could hit limestone which could have potentially damaged it.

Deering Estate/ Deering Point

 Also, at Deering Pont I was able to watch how pollution had accumulated in large quantities by the mangrove’s concentration.  These types of marine debris arrive to the mangrove concentrations that eventually harm local wildlife who might eat it thinking that this marine debris is edible food. Both occasions felt like a workout but nonetheless, I am glad that I was able to witness, help and be a part of the cleaning of exceptionally beautiful sites such as Deering Estate and Bill Baggs State Park.


The first community service opportunity took place on 21 February 2021 at Bill Baggs State Park. The second community service occurred on 21 March 2021 at Deering Point.


As I reflect on both community service opportunities, I am grateful to be part of a project that aids in cleaning Florida’s coast and takes part in a bigger project to protect marine wildlife. As a person who loves to contribute positively to her community, I was so grateful to be part of these two projects where other volunteers and I became aware of the great quantities of pollution that accumulated and posed a threat to animals and plants. In the same manner, I love working in groups where I can help others accomplish new goals that also bring them the satisfaction of helping their communities. once While working on these projects, other volunteers and I became aware that volunteering for coastal cleanups was an ongoing effort that was not going to suffice just doing I once but that it was going to be a constant project that we must work on to maintain it clean and safe for local animals.

While being part of both coastal cleanups, I wanted to clean up as much of marine debris and stubborn sand as possible. Although I wanted to put a great amount of self-effort into the community service, I was more than glad to allow others do their part in the coastal clean ups and help them if they needed an extra hand. Through teamwork, we were able to pick up objects such as Styrofoam, shoes, bottles, masks, a paddle, and everything in between. Besides this, it was strongly recommended to stay hydrated and wear protective sunscreen and bring snacks during the excursion which helped maintain a source of energy.

After being part of many projects, whose efforts go to bringing awareness and cleaning beautiful habitats, I will continue to do what I can to do clean ups and help others stay informed about the beauty of these unique habitats and how they can help save them. I believe that if anyone can engage in such projects that aim to bring awareness and clean these unique habitats, they will not only do it once, but they would want to do their best in maintaining these unique habitats clean and safe for wildlife.

Claudia Martinez: Design District 2021

Student Bio

Hi, my name is Claudia Martinez and I am currently an Economics major at FIU. One of my favorite hobbies is going out and exploring new things including everything that Miami has to offer. When I heard of a different type of class, one that would leave the classroom setting and take you out to see the city for yourself, I knew that was going to be the next class I was going to sign up for. Taking the Miami In Miami during Covid-19 challenged me to get out of the comfort of my home and explore the city by going to new places that I would have otherwise not visited. The course is thought provoking and causes one to think outside the box literally. The course discusses subjects that I find uncomfortable, and I would too often avoid. However, I stand challenged by this class and I look forward to seeing this class expand into greater horizons.


The area covers 0.249 square miles (0.64- km2). The zip codes for the Miami Design District include 33127 and 33137 according to “Wikipedia”.


The origins of Design District go back to a pineapple farm in Buena Vista owned by farmer T.V. Moore. In the 1920’s, Moore built the historic Moore Building in the1920’s for a family-owned furniture business known to be the Moore Furniture Building. However, in the 1980’s and 1990’s, Design District had fallen into a terrible state of decay and it was not until late 90’s and early 2000’s that art and design stores began opening in this neighborhood. Eventually, Real-Estate developer and art collector Craig Robbins purchased 18 run-down buildings in this area and persuaded top designers in furniture, textiles and other creative mediums to open showrooms and studios in this area. Through out the early 2000’s, design district continued to evolve as streets and sidewalks were redone and new plants and trees were planted there. In 2010, Robbins who is CEO of Dacra partnered with L Real Estate to develop Design District into a luxury based shopping and lifestyle destination for tourists and residents while welcoming exotic architects from around the world to take part in the project. Presently today, one can still see signs of Buena Vista such as the school of Buena Vista and the Buena Vista Post office.


As of 2,000, the population of Miami Design District had 1,116 people of which 522 were males and 594 were females. The Median age for males were 26.2 years old while the median age for females were 25.4 years old. The average household size had 3.1 people and the average family size was composed of 3.6 members. The percentage of married couple families was 32.9% while in the other hand family couples with children was only at 17.5%. On the contrary, single mother households made up 20.7% of households and never married females who were 15 years and older made up 19.5% of households according to “Wikipedia demographics” and “points2home”.


“Reinaldo Martinez”, by Claudia Martinez. CC by 4.0

Claudia: Before starting, just introduce yourself and who you are.

Reinaldo: For starter, my name is Reinaldo Martinez, I am a person who used to live in Design District and thought it would be nice to share my experience of when I was living at Design District.

Claudia: Perfect! Let’s begin with the interview. What made Design District an option for you?

Reinaldo: Well for starters, Claudia, I am an optimist and I wanted to live in an area that was central in its location while I was still able to experience the exotic architecture that makes up part of Miami.

Claudia: In your own words describe Design District and its residents.

Reinaldo: Design District and its residents cannot be confined to a simple description. The people who live in Design District are a beautiful people and they are not afraid to show that. They stay in constant motion and that is something nice to see in people.

Claudia: Great! What did you enjoy most about Design District?

Reinaldo: What I enjoyed most about Design District is the diversity, like I said before its central location, and the exotic design of the neighborhood. The people are pleasant, and I find that to be to be a good attribute in the neighborhood.

Claudia: If you were to introduce someone to Design District, where would you take them?

Reinaldo: Well, first I would take them to one of my personal favorite parts, the Tom Ford store to show off the modern layout of the store, I would show them around the Albert Pallot Park and have them see the water view and lastly, I would take them to museum garage where people may not know it but besides being a hot spot to take pictures it is also a good place to see the skyline of Biscayne Blvd.

Claudia: Thanks Reinaldo, also do you consider Design District to be safe?

Reinaldo: Of course, I consider Design District to be safe, you can walk freely without having to look over your shoulder constantly, there is security around the area which protects the area. As long as you stay away from trouble, you have nothing to worry about.

Claudia: I see… Also, is there anything you would change about Design District. If so, what would it be?

Reinaldo: If there is something I could change about Design District, I would change the belief that you have to be extremely rich to visit the neighborhood. Design District is not restricted to just the opulent class but also anyone who wants to deeply appreciate an outdoor artwork that it is.

Claudia: Okay Reinaldo, one last one: How do you see Design District in the next five years?

Reinaldo: At the current rate that it is going, I see Design District expanding in the Furniture Business as well as the Design sector. I believe that it will have many more great developments worth visiting. Claudia: Thank you Reinaldo for your time in doing this interview.


The Moore Building

“2nd floor of the Moore Building” by Claudia Martinez. CC by 4.0

The Moore Building is located in the heart of Design District. This was the first building built in the back then Buena Vista neighborhood and present-day Design District. This was actually the first furniture showroom space for Moore and Sons and was also going to be the first of many furniture stores to come in the future to Design District. The building is comprised of four floors of arcaded spaces with a central atrium.

Jungle Plaza

“Jungle Plaza” by Claudia Martinez. CC by 4.0

The following landmark is Jungle Plaza which is the ideal place for festivals, live performances and other events. The Plaza’s name is derived from the large “Jungle” mural created by collaborative art in hopes of portraying the exotic southern Floridian landscape as well as the neighborhoods urban landscape according to “miamiandbeaches”.

Palm Court

“Claudia Martinez at Palm Court” by Claudia Martinez. CC by 4.0

Palm Court is an event space for pedestrians to walk at their own leisure. This area was designed by Japanese Architect Sou Fujimoto and Aranda. The court is surrounded by, you guessed it, palm trees, a white eclectic orb amid a fountain according to “Miami Design District”.


Albert Pallot park

” Albert Pallot Park”, By Claudia Martinez, CC by 4.0

Albert Pallot Park is a beautiful, pleasant greenspace park by the water. The park is composed of grassy green areas for picnics and a sidewalk with benches right by the water. This park also contains a recreational playground for children to play in as well as a pair of dominos sculpture and also happens to be free. The park is located right off 195 and Biscayne Blvd according to “Yelp”. Whether you want to catch a sunset, sunrise or just spend some leisure time, this is the park to go to.

Morning Side Park

“Morningside Park”, by Claudia Martinez. CC by 4.0

Located along Biscayne Bay, amid the historic Morningside neighborhood, the park is surrounded by a large array of trees. This park is free with a large amount of grassy green areas, boat ramp, fishing areas, recreational areas for children, kayak and paddleboard rentals and a beautiful water view. This park is regularly watched over by police making this a secure and protected park to spend time in. The hours are from sunrise to sunset according to “tripadvisor”.

Rooftop Garden

Located above the garden building of design district, the Rooftop Garden showcases mahogany trees, a unique maize made up of Jamaican wood hedges and accented with railroad vines and philodendrons according to “Miami Design District”. This garden was designed by landscape architect Nathan Browning with Island Planning who aimed to bring a modern look to the rooftop garden.


Trolley and Bus

Design District provides its residents and tourist with free transportation via the trolley. Trolleys that circulate the Design District area include the Biscayne-Brickell trolley, the little Haiti trolley and the Wynwood trolley according to “Miami gov”.  If you want to catch a bus, you can catch the J bus, the 9 bus and the 110 bus which leave you at Design District as well according to “Miamigov”.


The East side of Design District is conveniently situated next to Biscayne Blvd, the west side meets the I-95 and its southern border begins at Florida state road 112. Another major road is the Florida 944 that leads to the north border of the Design District neighborhood.

Walking or Biking

Walking or biking is acceptable, and some may even view it as a fashion statement as you can stop at your own leisure to take a quick picture at the colorful buildings of your choice.


“Dior Rooftop Cafe”, by Claudia Martinez. CC by 4.0

Dior Rooftop Café

Dior Café is the only Café that Dior has opened within the US and currently the only one in the whole world. The café provides gourmet croissants, mouthwatering gelatos and signature Dior coffee.  Despite the Designer brand name, the décor brings its guests a fresh down to earth type of atmosphere according to “Miami Design District”. Customer service is amazing as waitresses and waiters are not overburdened with an excess of clientele.

Little Hen

“Little Hen”, by Claudia Martinez. CC by 4.0

Little Hen experienced a boom in popularity after Instagram bloggers began showcasing this restaurant on their Instagram feeds. This restaurant is unique for its floral décor and royal blue walls. Little Hen is not only widely popular for its beautiful décor but also for its breakfast and brunch-based menu options and its carefully decorated coffees as stated by “Little-Hen”.


“Swan”, by Claudia Martinez. CC by 4.0

The Swan restaurant offers both indoor and outdoor dining destinations from experts David Gutman and Pharrell Williams. Swan’s menu varies throughout the seasons and market available ingredients, that provide its guests new and interesting flavors all year round. The menu consists of rustic cuisine and a wide variety of options for everyone according to “TripAdvisor”.


Nisi B Home

“Nisi B Home” by Claudia Martinez. CC by 4.0

Nisi B Home is known for offering that carry out glamour and a unique style to the room it decorates. The furnishings are hand made from small producers. Whether you are looking for a different type of chandelier or colorful objects to spark a room, there is something for everyone that this furniture store has to offer that will suit any unique style. Nisi B opened up in 2004 and helped many local designers and retailers’ style and complete their projects with its diverse mix of lighting accessories and furniture. Nisi B home has influenced how other parts of design district are put together. If you are a little bit more specific about what you want, Nisi B offers customizing a variety of materials according to “MiamiDesignDistrict”.

Monica James & Co

“Monica James & Co Furniture Store” by Claudia Martinez. CC by 4.0

On the second business that we are checking off is Monica James & Co and you guessed it, it is an additional furniture store. Design District is known for its unique décor style and just as its origins started with the Moore furniture building, it is surprising to see how this initial business left a lasting impression on present day furniture businesses in Design District. This showroom offers contemporary home furnishing, textiles, art and many other accessories from around the world. The showrooms tradition remains until this day as their collections have been curated to include eclectic lines of the interior design industry according to “MonicaJames”.

Emilio Robba

“Emilio Robba Flower Design”, by Claudia Martinez. CC by 4.0

Emilio Robba is known to be as the “sculptor of flowers”. Well known to be a symbol of fashion for over 25 years, Emilio Robba uses artistic talent and innate understanding of nature to create an appealing brand highly admired by architects, interior designers, and individual consumers worldwide. Thanks to Emilio Robba and his creative influence, we are able to have have today the development and evolution of silk botanicals. Robba refers to his collection of decorative elements as “Nature’s Sights Unseen”. Robba’s aim is to bring a refreshingly new addition to an already decorated room according to “Houzz”.


Design District is a trendy upbeat neighborhood that makes up part of present-day Miami. However, the truth is that most of its residents are white collar workers and only small portion are blue collar laborers creating a gap between class hierarchy. On the other hand, Pinecrest is largely thought of as a luxury that only the rich can take but the truth of the matter is that that is a myth as Design District is open to all Miami’s residents and all visiting tourists. Just like many neighborhoods in Miami, Design District has come a long way starting from its Moore Furniture Building at the Buena Vista neighborhood and is now a hotspot for designers to showcase their art pieces and design. I know that Design District will continue to progress and expand and add more diversity to its neighborhood as it has been doing so since its origins. I believe with the equality movements that are taking place on this day,  there will be more diversity of minority groups living in this neighborhood together.


Wikipedia. “Miami Design District”, Demographics. | Wikipedia.

Point 2. “Miami Design District Demographics” |Miami Design District Population Demographics, 2019.

Miami Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau. “The Official Site of Greater Miami” |Moore Elastika, 2021.

Miami Design District “Jungle Plaza | Miami Design District .

Miami Design District |Palm Court.

Yelp. “Albert Pallot Park” | Yelp, 30 Sep. 2020

Trip Advisor. “Morningside Park” | TripAdvisor, Jan. 2019.                

Miami Design District. “ Dior’s Rooftop Café  Is Your Chick New Dining Spot” | Miami Design District, 16 Jan. 2019.

Little-Hen. Contemporary Breakfast and Brunch. “Home of The Rose Petal | LittleHen.,homely%20accents%20and%20luxurious%20touches.

The City Of Miami. Miami. “Get Trolley Information, Schedules & Maps”.  | MiamiGov, 2020.

Miami Design District. “Nisi B Home”. | Miami Design District.

Monica James. “Monica James & Co Showroom Is Located in the Heart of the Miami Design District” | MonicaJames, 2021.

Claudia Martinez: Miami Service 2020

Claudia Martinez at the bay of Deering Estate pictured by Komila Kholmatova/ CC by 4.0

Hello, I am Claudia Martinez. I am an Economics major at Florida International University. This is my first semester taking professor John Bailly’s classes and I am so glad I chose to be in his class. Not only was I able to explore Miami while taking his class but I was also able to take part in community service projects that he organized. I love Miami and everything it has to offer whether you are a resident of a tourist and taking this class helps me study more of it. To say the least, his class surpassed all expectation.


I volunteered for both Deering Estate and Bakehouse Art Complex which under both organizations, my classmates and I were exposed to the harsh reality that species and ecosystems are disappearing and the root cause of it being pollution. By bringing exposure to the dangers of pollution and their destruction on the environment we are able to work extensively to carry out awareness on the destruction of out Coral Reefs and other ecosystems, as well as directly contributing to the cause by cleaning up places such as Chicken Key Island or nearby mangrove concentrations. By creating teams of volunteers, we are able to clean marine debris from islands such as Chicken Key Island. Not conformed with this, I decided to return and participate on a twice in one day activity where my classmates and I would clean coastal marine debris that the current had brought in during thanksgiving weekend.


I am not one to be the most experienced in volunteer work but being introduced into it gave me a lot to reflect about and empowered me to see myself as someone who is able to help the local community and even the world’s ecosystem by taking part in cleaning up the coastal areas of Miami. Not only does that change my perspective on the world but also on myself as I feel that my contribution is taken into account and that I am making a positive impact on the environment, something that I lacked before participating on these projects. When I found out that I had to do community service I was unsuspecting of marine debris clean up opportunities or how gratifying it would be. This new experience has taught me to value nature, have a deeper connection with it and see how my small service can go a long way.


Chicken Key

As I mentioned before, I am new to the Community service scene and did not know how it worked or where I would even start. Luckily, professor John Bailly who organizes volunteer projects at Deering Estate and even sometimes at Bakehouse Art Complex was able to make opportunities accessible to his students even during the pandemic when it was especially hard to find such opportunities. Not only was it my first time volunteering but on this same day I had canoed one mile to and from Chicken Key Island where we were able to fill up multiple canoes (“Chicken Key Island“).

Bakehouse Art Complex

After doing my first community service project, I was much more eager to be in the next project. However, due to the pandemic finding any opportunities was difficult and every time an opportunity would show up on the days that I was available to participate, the spots would quickly fill up. I was running out of options and I considered taking days off from work to do community service hours. Eventually, professor John Bailly talked about doing community Service hours at Bakehouse Art Complex. Finally, I was able to get my hands on an opportunity that fit my schedule without having to cancel any days. I was so grateful for this chance. When I realized that the project was about bringing forth coral reef awareness and how they are disappearing I felt a stronger need to be a part of it. I believe that no effort, whether big or small, should be taken lightly because it is our duty as humans to take care of this planet and everything that inhabits it. Taking part in this project signified meant more to me than a duty to the honors college.

Deering Estate

My last service project for the semester was at Deering Estates’ nearby mangrove concentrations. I knew I wanted to be a great part of this project so when I heard that there were going to be opportunities to join for both the morning and the afternoon trip on the same day, I knew that I wanted to take part in both of them. That day I was able to go to and from the mangroves and fill a boat up twice with marine debris. That day was a little bit more challenging because the higher wind speed caused the current to stir the canoe away but even despite this we had a successful day in cleaning up the mangroves. To say the least, my partner and I, who were both present in the morning and afternoon, actually fell asleep on our way back. Had it not been for our professor waking us up, I don’t know where we would have ended up at. All in all, this new project was a new opportunity to contribute to the ecosystems of Miami and contribute to a solution that will help both at a local and global level.

Where and What?

Chicken Key Island:

Professor, classmates and Claudia Martinez pictured by Nicole Patrick/ CC by 4.0. Claudia Martinez and Ahdrianna Amandi pictured by John Bailly/ CC by 4.0

& Claudia Martinez pictured by Ahdrianna Amandi/ CC by 4.0

On 14 October 2020, my classmates and I were assigned partners who would work together to canoe to and from Chicken Key Island, as well as fill our canoe with marine debris. As we cleaned up debris from the Island we were surprised to find shoes, Styrofoam, ropes, many bottles and even masks. Yes, the masks that we use to take precaution against Covid-19 were the same type of masks that we found on Chicken Key Island. Our professor discussed on how people that the debris on the island was pollution that the current had brought from the north from the pollution that us humans leave behind without considering the damage that it causes habitats and ecosystems that are vital to maintain life on Earth.

Bakehouse Art Complex

Classmates and Claudia Martinez pictured at Bakehouse Art Complex pictured by John Bailly and Nicole Patrick/ CC by 4.0

On 28 of October of 2020, another opportunity presented itself for my classmates and I to participate into a project that would bring awareness to the disappearing of the coral reefs that is vital to life on Earth. Our tasks required us to to use reusable materials in order to mold colorful clay into a variety of different shells and other marine shapes, stick it to a large panel and repeat the process enough to resemble a real life coral reef. Some shells remained firm and strong while others where gradually fading. The purpose of these two scenarios was to take the concept of coral reefs decay as a result of harmful human activity, and basically convey that same concept from an artistic point of view. Reflecting on this activity, I learned that day that I did not need to be a renowned artist in order ta take part of such a thought provoking art piece, as well as the simple fact that by contributing to Lauren Shapiro’s project I was able to go a long way and bring awareness to the world’s coral reefs.

Deering Estate

Professor Bailly Claudia and students pictured by Nicole Patrick/ CC by 4.0

After Thanksgiving break, my professor went on a trip through the mangrove tunnels and to his surprise he found a large amount of marine debris. He then knew what are next class activity was going to take place. So just like that, I was able to do community service by the mangrove tunnels. To put it lightly, I was overwhelmed by the great deal of marine debris we found at the mangroves. If there was a day that I had to canoe to and from the mangroves twice within the same day, I am so glad it was that day. On both trips I was able to fill over three bags of marine debris and in addition to my partner we were able to fill up the canoe with as much marine debris as possible. Both trips felt like a workout but I am so glad that I was able to participate in both.


I was able to complete the Chicken Key Island clean up, the Bakehouse Art Complex and the Deering Estate Mangroves on October 14, 2020, on October 28, 2020 and on December 2, 2020 respectively.


To say the least, with every volunteer opportunity I felt myself growing not only in a personal level but also the way I see myself helping the community and the world’s ecosystems. I learned that contrary to popular belief, I do not have to be a fancy well-known artist to take part in interesting and powerful projects that can help the environment and bring forth awareness about the dangers that us as humans cause on the environment. In the same manner, I was challenged to leave the comfort of my home to places I would have otherwise not gone to. In doing so, I realized that even though I might have felt too overwhelmed by the pandemic to go out, taking the chance and experiencing these opportunities for myself was worth it. All in all, if you are looking forward to stepping out of your comfort zone, I highly encourage these volunteer opportunities that you will absolutely not regret.


Bailly, John. “Deering Estate Chicken Key.” Johnwbailly, 2020,

Claudia Martinez: Pinecrest 2020

Claudia Martinez pictured Brickell City Centre taken by Claudia Martinez/ CC by 4.0

Student Bio

Hi, my name is Claudia Martinez and I am currently an Economics major at FIU. One of my favorite hobbies is going out and exploring new things including everything that Miami has to offer. Some people remember Miami for its wild party scene but I knew that Miami could not just be limited to that one single stereotype. When I heard of a different type of class, one that would leave the classroom setting and take you out to see the city for yourself, I knew that was going to be the next class I was going to sign up for. Taking the Miami In Miami during Covid-19 challenged me to get out of the comfort of my home and explore the city by going to new places that I would have otherwise not visited. The course is thought provoking and causes one to think outside the box literally while discussing subjects that I find uncomfortable and I would too often avoid. However, I stand challenged by this class and I look forward to seeing this class expand into greater horizons.


Pinecrest rich in tree density pictured by Claudia Martinez/ CC by 4.0

Pinecrest which is also known as Pinecrest village is estimated to have a population of 19,155 people as of 2019. Pinecrest is a suburban village located North of Palmetto bay, South of South Miami and West of the southern part of Coral Gables. Geographically speaking it is coordinated at   25°40′N 80°18′W according to the United States Census Bureau. This suburban village is composed of single family homes and commercial areas. One of the first characteristics that one notices upon entering the area is the high density of trees making its atmosphere feel green and eco-friendly.


Around the early 1900’s Miami pioneer Henry Flagler used a property located at US 1 and SW 102 St. Henry Flagler used this area where Pinecrest stands today as a stopping point for those involved in building the railroad that led to the Florida Keys. It was not until the 1930’s when Pinecrest’s development began to grow significantly after Parrot Jungle was founded in 1936. Later in 1946,the Miami Serpentarium opened for both venom research and tourists who wanted to come in close contact with snakes. Eventually, along the 1950’s and the 1960’s, Pinecrest led the way to the construction of permanent ranch style homes. However, it was not until 1966 that Pinecrest was incorporated with the help of Pinecrest’s first mayor Evelyn Greer. Today Pinecrest stands strong as the Village of Pinecrest (” HISTORY “)


Pinecrest Demographics according to (“City Data“).

Miami has a reputation of being a racially segregated city since its beginning and Pinecrest is one of its neighborhoods that distinguish this aspect. Pinecrest’s population is made up of 43.3% white only americans, a dominating 46.9% comprised of Hispanic or Latino and a small percentage of 6.84% of the minority group of Asians. Pinecrest demographics screams predominantly white only neighborhood. When it comes to class hierarchy, there is an abundant amount of upper middle-class member of society in Miami. However, just as we see an abundant amount of wealthy residents we also notice that Pinecrest has a high poverty rate of 5.83% of the population. That is a high percent especially for an upper-middle class neighborhood of Miami.

The average household income is an enormous amount of $152,643 and the average property value is an even greater 887,700. The average age of Pinecrest is 42 years old. In other words, this is an opulent neighborhood which is not true of the majority of neighborhoods in Miami. In spite of this, the poverty rate of Pinecrest is a real issue for some of its residents (“City Data“).

Interview with Mirtes Melo

Mirtes Melo at Miami Ice Cream Museum pictured by Mirian Melo / CC by 4.0

Claudia: Before starting, share a little bit about yourself.

Mirtes: My name is Mirtes Melo and I am about to share my first-hand experience on Pinecrest.

Claudia: What makes Pinecrest an option for you to live in?

Mirtes: It is a pleasant and safe neighborhood with a convenient location close to commercial businesses which is a key factor when looking for a neighborhood.

Claudia: In your own words describe Pinecrest and its residents.

Mirtes: Pinecrest is a middle class neighborhood with tranquil families and residents.

Claudia: What do you enjoy the most about Pinecrest?

Mirtes: What I enjoy the most about Pinecrest is its central location to main highways and its overall green presentation.

Claudia: If you were to introduce someone to Pinecrest, where would you take them?

Mirtes: I would take them to Pinecrest Gardens which is a good idea for people of all ages.

Claudia: Do you consider Pinecrest a safe place to live in.

Mirtes: Absolutely, through out the time that I lived in Pinecrest, I have not undergone any problems concerning my safety.

Claudia: Is there something you wish to change about Pinecrest, if so, what would it be?

Mirtes: I would have to say add more floral arrangements, only to add a more garden-like focus to its appearance.

Claudia: How do you wish to see Pinecrest in the next five years?

Mirtes: I wish to see people set up new businesses that invest not only in the village of Pinecrest but also in neighborhoods of Miami that will also need it.


Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden

Fairchild Orchid Garden pictured by Claudia Martinez/ CC by 4.0

The Fairchild Botanical Garden is a beautiful natural oasis for for families, couples or just anyone who wants to have a deeper connection with nature. Fairchild is made up of different ecosystems such as the butterfly garden (also known as the Clinton Family Conservatory), the Pine Rockland ecosystem and the famous orchid garden. Fairchild Garden resembles Pinecrest in the way that it repeats a high density of green plants and trees and tries to preserve the true pathos of nature (“Fairchild Garden“).

Veterans Wayside Park

Veteran’s Wayside Park sign pictured by Claudia Martinez/ CC by 4.0

Veterans Wayside Park lake in the center surrounded by limestone cliffs (“Trip Advisor“). This park attracts a large quantity of birds which are extremely diverse in bird species as well as other wildlife. According to Tripadvisor there are Muscovy Ducks, Mallard Ducks, Great Egret, White Ibis, and a Eurasian Collared Dove along with few turtles in the lake and some anole lizards. The place remains a peaceful place to have a picnic and relax or even to just contemplate the wildlife in many shapes and colors. The Veterans Wayside Park screams Pinecrest green living while embracing the high density green of nature that Pinecrest is so greatly known for.

Whilden Carrier Cottage

Whilden Carrier Cottage at Pinecrest pictured by Claudia Martinez/ CC by 4.0

The Whilden Carrier Cottage is one of many pioneer dwellings built during the 1900’s and 1930’s. The cottage belong to the Whilden and Carrier family who resided here from the depression to the early 1970’s. This property included vegetable gardens, fruit trees, tropical specimens and native species. This property today is designated as a historic site by Miami-Dade County’s Historic Preservation Board. After all, it would not be Pinecrest if it did not have a historic pioneer dwelling (“Whilden Carrier Cottage“).


One of its landmarks include the famous Parrot Jungle which used the concept of birds “flying free”. This concept attracted became popular and attracted many tourist including former British prime minister Winston Churchill. Today it is located in present day Pinecrest Gardens and on 2011 this site has also been added to Historic places. Parrot Jungle was dug through hammock land and coral rock- which is indigenous to its area-in order to create a nature trail without disturbing any of its natural plants. When this attraction first opened, 100 visitors were welcomed. Ever since then, this landmark has attracted millions of visitors. (“Pinecrest Parks“)

Pinecrest Gardens pictured by Claudia Martinez/ CC by 4.0

Pinecrest Gardens

Located in the same point where Parrot Jungle once stood, Pinecrest Gardens is 20 acres long. This park includes a variety of different themes such as the Butterfly Exhibit, Swan Lake, Petting Zoo, Children’s Playground and its attractive Splash-n-Play area. This park is a great attraction for families and people of all ages. This park aims to connect its visitors with animals, nature and provides fun experiences. This park is located at 11000 SW 57th Ave, Pinecrest, FL 33156. (“Pinecrest Parks“)

Flagler Grove Park Sign pictured by Claudia Martinez/ CC by 4.0

Flagler Grove Park

Flagler Grove Park is a three acre boundless park and playground aimed to be a recreational fun-zone for the youth. Although the park is not as vast as others, the park remains important to its community and the youth that they aim to bring recreation to (“Pinecrest Parks“)

Coral Pine Park

Coral Pine Park pictured by Claudia Martinez/ CC by 4.0

Coral Pine Park is an nine acre park with a recreation center, six tennis courts, and a large range of green space for recreation. The park is open to people and families of all ages, who want to host parties, play sports or simply plan a picnic. The park is located at 6955 Southwest 104th Street, Pinecrest, Florida (“Pinecrest Coral Pine Park“).


Photo of Pinecrest People Mover and US 1 Sign by CC Martinez/ CC by 4.0

Metrorail and Bus

Pinecrest enjoys its close proximity to the Miami Metrorail Dadeland North but besides this they have their own personal, free bus transportation called the Pinecrest People Mover for anyone who wants to move around the village. This transportation includes north and south routes and has multiple afternoon schedules to meet school, lunch and work schedules. The Pinecrest People Mover is operated by the village of Pinecrest and is subsidized by Miami Dade County’s People’s Transportation Plan. Dadeland North provides a large parking building for pedestrians to park their cars and take the Metrorail to work or do other errands (“Pinecrest People Mover“)


Pinecrest’s west side is conveniently next to the US1. Pinecrest also enjoys the Palmetto expressway (Florida 826). Besides these two expressways, there is 57th Ave and Old Cutler Rd which run along the northeastern and southeastern side of Pinecrest, respectively. The location of this neighborhood makes it convenient for its residents to go to work and/or do other errands. Statistically speaking, Pinecrest residents maintain 27 minute commute work or school through car, holding an average of two cars per household.

Walking or Biking

Walking and Biking is not just something that can be done at Pinecrest neighborhood, it is also encouraged to promote healthy habits among the residents of Pinecrest. In fact, it is customary to see many families go on morning jogs across the sidewalks of 57 Ave inclusively on weekdays.


Photo of Elia Café by Claudia Martinez/ CC by 4.0

Elia Cafe at Pinecrest

Elia Cafe is located in the East extreme of Pinecrest. As a Cafe it offers fresh food, as well as foods with Greek tendencies. The Cafe is a great hangout for young people but it welcomes older crowds with its fresh outdoors settings and its fresh white walls. The Cafe is open on 8 a.m. through 6 p.m. on weekdays and 8 a.m to 4 p.m. on Saturdays (“Elia Cafe at Pinecrest“).

Photo of Anacapri Italian Restaurant and Wine Bar by Claudia Martinez/ CC by 4.0

Anacapri Italian Restaurant And Wine Bar

Another Restaurant that the Pinecrest community enjoys is called the Anacapri Italian Restaurant. This restaurant’s food is inclined to you guessed it, Mediterranean food as well as marine influenced foods. This restaurant has great presentation that includes Mediterranean revival influence.

Besides restaurants and Cafes, Pinecrest also enjoys access to the Pinecrest Bakery. Surprisingly, the Bakery is open 24 hours a day except dine-in options are not available due to Covid restrictions. However, one can order takeout or delivery. The Pinecrest Bakery is located at 12101 S Dixie Hwy, Pinecrest, FL 33156 (“Anacapri Italian Restaurant“).

Pinecrest Bakery by Claudia Martinez/ CC by 4.0

The Pinecrest Bakery

The Pinecrest Bakery at Pinecrest is a business that has stayed available and is now open even during the pandemic. In fact, the business is open 24 hours a day but by taking precautions such as completely restricting dine-in availability and leaving the business to do take-out and delivery. As you guessed it, the bakery offers a wide variety of sweet pastries for everyone with a sweet tooth. (“Pinecrest Bakery“).


Captain’s Tavern Pictured By Claudia Martinez/ CC by 4.0

Captain’s Tavern

A restaurant located only in the village of Pinecrest, it is pretty self explanatory that the restaurant offers seafood delicacies. Captain’s Tavern is a thriving business that has withstood the test of time and is still open for business to this day. Before its owner turned the business into the restaurant it is today, there had been a post office in its place. Whether you are a family, a couple or in a business get-together, this restaurant is for you (“Captain’s Tavern“).

Natuzzi Italia

Natuzzi Italia furniture store pictured by Claudia Martinez/ CC by 4.0

Natuzzi Italia in Pinecrest, is an opulent furniture store that aims to appeal to a fresh modern design while at the same time aiming to capture an essence of Nature. Their design presentation are comprised of colorful, romantic and historical themes such as a captivating scenery of the Mediterranean coastline that one can incorporate into their home. Visiting this furniture store will take you to foreign places such as southern Italy. The store’s collection offers designer collections carefully detailed to resemble a healthy respect for the natural world. Nothing screams Pinecrest like this luxury furniture business (“Natuzzi Italia“).

Pinecrest Wayside Market

Pinecrest Wayside Market 1948 sign pictured by Claudia Martinez/ CC BY 4.0

Pinecrest Wayside Market embraces the all-American theme with arms wide open with its traditions. The wholesome market provides strawberry milkshakes, homemade cherry pie, fresh vegetables and everything in between. If you are craving a healthier lifestyle then Pinecrest Wayside Market is the place for you. Not only will you enjoy the benefits of finding less processed and more natural products, but you will also find their products to be a delectable alternative and some people even consider going there to be a fashion statement ( “Pinecrest Wayside Market“).


Pinecrest is a beautiful community in itself that loves to preserve the safety and well-being of its residents. However, Pinecrest is still largely segregated from minority groups such as Asians and African-Americans which shows that even this beautiful neighborhood still needs to work in welcoming more diverse minority groups into their neighborhood. On the other hand, Pinecrest embraces one of Miami’s main concepts of being a largely green neighborhood and adopted the green density rich essence of nature. Just like many other neighborhoods in Miami, Pinecrest started as a dwelling for pioneers involved in Henry Flagler’s Railway project. Pinecrest has come a long way since it was first dwellings in the early 1900’s but I still look forward to seeing the diversity of minority groups make its way into this densely green neighborhood. I know that the neighborhood will one day be harboring multi-cultural families in their community, and at the same time will be effectively decreasing its poverty rate as well.


US Census Bureau. “Gazetteer Files.” The United States Census Bureau, 6 Aug. 2019,

“Village of Pinecrest.” Coral Pine Park | Village of Pinecrest

“Village of Pinecrest.” Street Name Origins | Village of Pinecrest

“Village of Pinecrest.” Pinecrest People Mover | Village of Pinecrest

“Village of Pinecrest.” History | Village of Pinecrest

“Village of Pinecrest.” Department of Parks & Recreation | Village of Pinecrest

“Elia Café at Pinecrest.” Pinecrest Community Center | Elia Cafe at Pinecrest,

“Pinecrest Bakery.” (2020) Pinecrest Bakery | Bite Into Tradition,

“Coral Pine Park” Coral Pine Park | Project Coral Pine Park and Tennis Center Project,

Anacapri Food”. (2020). Welcome to Anacapri Italian Village |Anacapri Food

Claudia Martinez: Miami as Text 2020-2021

Claudia Martinez pictured at Palm Court. Photo by CC Martinez/ CC BY 4.0

Claudia Martinez is a newly transferred student from Miami Dade College. She has a passion for the world of financial economics and pursues a career in stock brokerage. Some hobbies include travel, ice skating and of course keeping up with the latest market trends. Miami is a beautiful and vivid green city that she loves exploring and hopes to see it in a new light through the lens of Miami in Miami.

Deering As Text

Deering Estate type of class. Photo by CC Martinez, / cc by 4.0

Deering Estate: A Glance Into The Past

by Claudia Martinez of FIU at Deering Estate, 2 September 2020.

On September 2nd, 2020, I began the journey of Miami in Miami. Little did I know about the site known as Deering Estate, but nevertheless I was going to take advantage of exploring the natural tropical hardwood hammock, the Gumbo Limbo and the diverse habitats that Deering States boasts about. Interesting enough, one of the first things introduced to me was a three story stoned mansion which had both Spanish influenced walls and Islamic styled windows. Another distinct piece of architecture standing alongside of it was the Richmond cottage, and as you guessed, it is inclined to American influence. While venturing further on, I noticed a Tequesta Burial Mound that was carefully preserved with its own area. Now, this is no ordinary burial mound but it is a hidden treasure in the eyes of historians and archeologists as this is a prehistoric mound that once belonged to the Tequesta civilization. At the end of the day, I looked back and reflected on how much history and diversity of civilizations stood in one site alone. My perspective in Miami stands challenged as I believed Miami to be the city known for its Art Deco influence and Spanish roots but I now know that there is so much more to it. There is a world of history behind it and it was not established by the Europeans but before that there were great civilizations with a story to tell. I may not have been there physically in time to see it all happen, but I was living a day in their lives while I was walking through Deering Estate.

South Beach As Text

Claudia Martinez pictured at Miami Beach. Photo by CC Martinez/ cc by 4.0

South Beach’s Colorful History: An Architectural Fun Zone

By Claudia Martinez Of FIU at South Beach, 16 September 2020.

Being brought up in suburban Kendall, South Beach always seemed like the center of civilization in Miami. Despite being an Economics Major, I have long been an Architecture Enthusiast but it was until today that I was only familiar with South Beach’s famous Art Deco style as it is the world’s greatest concentration of this type. I was in for a big surprise when I realized the different influences that greeted many walks of life to this tourist hotspot. This is all grand and all but I was shocked to hear about the origins of Miami Beach as what it used to be, a mangrove barrier island and contrary to myth it was inhabited and also not a wasteland. On the other hand, leaning towards the Art Deco influence on South Beaches, I felt a greater connection to the Art Deco influence after hearing the story behind their composition. The buildings try to portray machines, space ships and even appliances! I may not know about you, but that makes so much more sense to me and in fact causes me to appreciate the Art Deco scene to a more personal level. Art Deco did not just stop there. They integrated designs from Mesopotamia and Mesoamerica that made me transitions from modern era to early civilizations. From beautiful ziggurat rooflines to three story buildings that are conveniently divided by three facades. As a visual person, I cannot help but admire so much detail in one foundation! Even though, South Beach is a glamorous site there is more to its history and origins that contributes to the lively atmosphere that it is so greatly known for.

Downtown As Text

Congregates at Gesu Church ‘Dropped Bowl with Scattered Slices and Peels’. Photy by CC Martinez / cc by 4.0

Meeting Miami’s History At Its Center: A Story Of Two Sides

By Claudia Martinez of FIU at Downtown Miami, 30 September 2020.

Today I did not go to Downtown Miami for a simple leisure trip, I went to learn about the Tequesta civilization whose center lied at this very place that we call downtown. Yes, it turns out that just as downtown is a hotspot to Miami residents, this same area was a hotspot to Tequesta civilizations before us. In fact, when Juan Ponce de Leon first arrived to this area that the Tequesta called home, he arrived in what is called the Miami Circle. So you see, here we have a historical landmark that marks the encounter of two distinct civilizations, the Spanish and the Native Americans coming together. Today Miami’s history repeats itself again on a larger scale as many different cultures come together to meet in this great big hotspot. On the other hand, I was finally able to encounter the oldest known standing house in Miami. The house dates back to the 1850’s, that’s even older than Miami itself! The house was built by William Wagner who was breaking the norms that were considered back in his day unheard of. He is a European young male at the time who is married to a colored woman and that was basically out of protocol at his time. However, just like story, the Wagner House remains until this day. Another foundation that I could not stop thinking about was the Gesu Church. The Gesu church is unlike any other church I have seen in Miami. The church is made up of colorful tinted windows, adorned ceilings, chandeliers and even frescoes of biblical scenes. Now I may not be religious but I felt like I was sharing the same faith as anyone else who congregates there. I felt so identified. Learning about downtown Miami’s distinct historical landmarks impacted me on a personal level, Miami has a story to tell and one worth listening too.

Chicken Key As Text

Claudia Martinez Pictured at Chicken Key Island. Photo by CC Martinez, / cc by 4.0

Journey To Chicken Key Island: Discovering A Natural Beach

By Claudia Martinez of FIU at Chicken Key Island, 14 October 2020.

No journey in the Miami in Miami course has ever disappointed and this was no exception. After two weeks of juggling work, study and health, I found myself dragging to go to the next class unsuspecting of what was to come and how much I needed to try something new for the first time in a long while. As I went on my way to Deering Estate, I had gradually started to adopt a new attitude as the cloudless sky lured me in and a windy front welcomed me into the estate. As soon as I got in the canoe, I focused less on deadlines and exams and more on staying present in a beautiful crossing between Deering Estate and Chicken Key Island. I did not know much about canoeing as this was my first time but learning something new was the high point of my day and I enjoyed every second of it. Finally after arriving to Chicken Key Island, I got to see what a real beach looks like and more importantly after canoeing for the first time for a mile, it was more than reasonable to dive in the refreshing water of the island. I was so glad that I had overcome the lack of enthusiasm of coming to class and realized how fortunate I was to enjoy a full class of students at an uninhabited island specially during a real time pandemic. Progressing on to our mission which was to do a clean up, I along with my classmates, managed to fill up are canoes with trash that reached the island through currents. You would be surprised at what I found. From unopened beer cans to even a covid-19 mask found by my professor. By doing a cleanup along the island we were not only having a positive impact on the wild life itself, but also on ourselves as people who will shape tomorrow’s society and values. After today’s trip I was no longer the same person that walked in before class but I was positively impacting the community and myself as well.

Bakerhouse As Text

Claudia Martinez and classmates pictured at Bakerhouse Art Complex. Photo by N. Patrick/ cc by 4.0

Bringing Coral Reef Awareness

By Claudia Martinez of FIU at Bakerhouse Art Complex October, 28 October 2020

Being part of an art project for the first time, I realized that you do not have to be a self-professed artist to take part in creativity or the arts. This art project, like many art pieces, has a more profound purpose and this one’s very purpose was aimed to bring awareness about the disappearing coral reefs which are vital to many communities of ocean life, and thus, making the reefs vital for sustainable life under water. Now I may not know about you but I was among those people who did not know that coral reefs were disappearing. As part of this art project, I was not only exposed to the beautiful shapes and figures that ocean life holds but also to the fact that they are in danger. I am so grateful that I was part of this art project and not conformed with this, I am much more grateful that this art project contributes to a greater cause of bringing awareness to the dangers that coral reefs face. Personally, I consider the world around us an important issue and I am sure that if we keep pushing we will see the results and benefits of saving the ocean’s coral reefs and their contribution to ocean life.

Rubell As Text

Claudia Martinez pictured at Kusama’s “Infinity Mirrored Room”. Photo by C. Martinez/ CC by 4.0

Contemporary Art Boldness And The Thought-Provoking Conversation It Entails

By Claudia Martinez of FIU at Rubell Museum, 18 November 2020.

Have you ever considered going after a crazy passion even though it might be a costly one. That is exactly what the Rubell family decided they would do when they purchased their first artwork at a great cost that back then signified a high price to them. You see, the Rubell family decided to collect art pieces out of passion and not out of the intention of profiting from them. When I heard that our class was going to be taken at Rubell Museum I did not know much about contemporary art and how it would provoke conversations on topics I usually try to avoid or feel uncomfortable talking about. Upon entering the art exhibition I saw a painting of a man who lay asleep and to put it lightly it was not an image that portrays the status quo of how African Americans are usually painted as. The painter behind this art piece was the same painter who drew a portrait of former president Barack Obama. This painter added a renaissance realism effect to his portrait with a vibrant flower filled background which stands out from other paintings and challenges one’s view on African American art. Another art piece worth noting is “Two Cells with Circulating Conduit” by Peter Halley. Some people may think to themselves, “I could have done that myself”, but the truth is that they didn’t. This symmetrical piece challenges one to reconsider their life by symbolizing the small spaces that one is surrounded themselves in. One box may represent a personal room, an even larger box may the living room and so forth representing that the spaces that people interact with are small and limit the way we see and interact with the world. To say the least, I was far from my comfort zone as we explored interesting topics that challenged me but also taught me a different side of art and the topics they address.

Everglades As Text

First Picture: “Claudia Martinez Slough Slogging at the Everglades”, by Komila Kholmatova/ CC by 4.0. Second picture: Everglades by Claudia Martinez/ CC by 4.0.

Reinventing The Way We See Miami

By Claudia Martinez of FIU at the Everglades 20 January, 2021.

It was my first time in this part of the Everglades and as I went 13 miles into the state park along with my classmates, I could not help but admire the majestic greatness of the Everglades. As I attempted to slough slog for the first time, I have to confess that I was a bit nervous and excited as I thought to myself, “expect the unexpected”. That is precisely what happened as I discovered different tree species and life in the Everglades. Halfway through the way, we listened to a poem by park ranger Dylan that called to attention the beauty that Everglades stands for. Afterwards, we stopped and remained quiet for a minute in order to fully appreciate the sight that was in front of my classmates and I. To my amazement, we heard the fierce call of a bird that sounded like a hawk, the leaves rustling in the wind, and the wind blowing in our midst. Among other things, I noticed the sunlight making its way to our class group and felt the vibration on the water with my feet. At that moment, even if we did not have strong signal, my class and I had a stronger connection with nature than I can last remember. Afterwards, we had lunch together as a group where we listened to one of the other park rangers play an interactive song and called us to sing along with him. Reflecting through out the day, I realized that it was a true privilege to be in the Everglades and witness the beauty it stands for, and I found it fascinating while at the same time coming out of my comfort zone.

Wynwood As Text

Claudia Martinez at Marguiles Warehouse by Komila Kholmatova/ CC by 4.0

Viewing The World Through Conceptual Art

By Claudia Martinez at Marguiles Warehouse 03 February 2021.

As my class and I stepped foot on Marguiles Warehouse I thought to myself, ” be prepared to explore new topics and ideas”. To my amazement, I was eager to see history and social ideas linked to every artistic piece we came across with. For as long as humans have existed, art has been a form of expression. Whether it is to communicate a famine or illustrate a religious event, humans use art as a medium of communication. However, what my class and I found was unique and beautiful. It is called conceptual art, and conceptual art challenges the system of art, what it stands for and approaches it with a new way of viewing art. What conceptual art aims to do is grab an object and use that object to symbolically stand for an idea. This idea was established at the beginning of the twentieth century and has grown since then. The orthodox system of art stands challenged and art was no longer limited to sculpture and canvas paintings but we are now able to discuss new ideas through a new medium of art that focuses in an out-of-the-box way of thinking. In conceptual art, the whole piece is important as a whole, no one fragment is more important than the other which stays true to its values as an art piece.

Bill Baggs As Text

Victoria Jackson, Brittney Sanchez, Esmeralda Y., Aimee Z., Claudia M., Kathalina Z., and Roger Masson pictured at Bill Baggs State Park by Nicole Patrick. CC by 4.0

Cape Florida Light: A True Perseverance Story

by Claudia Martinez of FIU at Bill Baggs State Park, 21 February 2021

Class starts at Key Biscayne this time and I find myself rushing to arrive there as it is my first time. After catching up, I am able to witness the tall lighthouse standing tall, strong and white almost as if history did not try to successively knock it down. However, behind this structure is a true perseverance story. As the white Europeans explored the land and claimed it for Spain and tried to remove the Tequesta’s from the land that they had been living in for hundreds of years. However, in 1836 during the Seminole war, the Seminoles retaliated against European constraints by attacking them and in the attempts they attacked the lighthouse. On that same year, the lighthouse encountered a strong hurricane that led to its weakening and contributed to it being extinguished until the next lighthouse was to be made in its place. Ten years passed but it was not forgotten, far from it. In 1846, the second light house was planned to be reconstructed again using new bricks as well as the old bricks from the first lighthouse as well, preserving the essence of the first lighthouse and was eventually finished in 1847. Through out its time the lighthouse encountered historic events between the Tequestas, Seminoles and the white Europeans and inclusively a civil war. Today, the lighthouse stands strong and beautiful but at the same time reminds us that it had to withstand natural disasters and wars through out its time.

River Of The Grass As Text

John Bailly, Brittney Sanchez and Claudia Martinez at Everglades National park by Kathalina Zuniga. CC by 4.0

Exploring The Everglades

By Claudia Martinez of FIU at Everglades National Park o3 March 2021.

It’s Wednesday and its special today because this time we are making our second trip into the Everglades. As always, I mentally pray that we are all safe during our excursion. I am in the middle of midterms and a busy week of work has swept me by. I am longing for this trip to connect with nature and get a feel of what it is like to get away from the hustle and bustle for the day. As we gathered around the flatness of the Everglades we stood by a solution hole that stood amid a relatively dry portion of the land. I later realized that we were able to walk and speak around the solution hole because the plants around it were not quite grown as it would have been in a year from this date. Another important thing to note was the action of setting up fires was key to maintaining a mixed ecosystem and taking away the dominance of certain plants over the land. We eventually made our way to an abandoned house in the middle of the Everglades. Yes really, an abandoned house in the Everglades. I can only imagine living there being one with nature but also extremely isolated from the world and people at the same time. It was definitely a different type of lifestyle for the person who lived here and not something I would try but learning about it makes me see how capable humans are of living in nature. After a day at the Everglades, I felt sore and exhausted and although I had to cram this into my hectic schedule, I know that it was not only worth the class grade but every second of it was worth it for me on this day.

Frost As Text

Art piece on rose petals by Roberto Obregon taken by Claudia Martinez. CC by 4.0

Conceptual Art Through The Lens of Frost Art Museum.

By Claudia Martinez of FIU at Frost Museum of FIU 17 March 2021.

Art can touch all subjects, you can amplify reflections through art such as human relationships, scientific classification, politics, sexual orientation and the list goes on. Roberto Obregon, an artist who focuses his art on roses and its petals, aimed to expressing these very ideas. When he made his artwork he would number the petals of the rose, almost as if he were numbering the petals as he plucked them out of the rose. Clearly, this artist spent much time with roses and it is not hard to see why. People associate roses with romance, charm and so on. Even though this idea is pleasant to think about, Obregon indulged in the Dada movement where he rejected modern capitalist aesthetics and express irrationality and nonsense in one’s work. In regard of petals of the rose being numbered is something to which he would refer to as dissecting the rose and seeing the beauty of the rose but also acknowledging that a rose has thorns and just like it has beauty it can also bring about pain. I enjoyed seeing art relating to the Dada movement and I thought it was interesting and its simplicity. However, these type of art pieces are the ones that leave a conundrum in my head. I found myself wondering what was behind his strong passion behind roses. At the end of the day, the world may never know but at least I was able to witness it on my excursion to Frost Art Museum.

Coral Gables As Text

The Biltmore Hotel by CC Martinez. CC by 4.0

The Artistic Side Behind Coral Gables

By Claudia Martinez of FIU at Coral Gables 31 March 2021.

Today’s class partially took place in Coral Gables Museum. We are looking back at this particular section of the city whose characteristic architecture influence stands out a little more in this part of Miami. The architecture style is Mediterranean revival and although this may trigger you to think about Spain or neighboring European countries, Coral Gables influence comes from Mexican- Spanish cities that were visited by its founder George Merrick. As I walked through Coral Gables Museum we reviewed the history of the jail that it used to be before becoming the present day museum. According to the museum lecturer, the jail was separated into four groups. The groups included white and colored women and white and colored man. This detail gives us insight of the intense segregation in prisons back then where even same gender inmates where separated by color. As we kept exploring the museum, we gathered the fact that Merrick was a visionary behind the creation of Coral Gables. By taking simple actions such as selling fruits and vegetables and part of his property, he started building houses and eventually met contacts with who he partnered with who he financed the Biltmore with, which was once a hospital. What stands out the most was observing how they were able to bring up this city among so much limestone which presented a huge obstacle for those who participated in the city’s construction. However, Merrick payed above average wages to the workers and it was even said that he would sometimes take time from his routine to help his workers get the job done. Not conformed with this, we were able to make it to the Biltmore where I identified myself with its Baroque detailing on the walls, ceilings and floor. As my first time in the Biltmore, I enjoyed the history rich story that its architecture style expressed.

Vizcaya As Text

The Story Behind Vizcaya

By Claudia Martinez of FIU on 14 of April of 2021

Learning about Vizcaya, and going from one room to the next, one of the things that caught my attention was the fact of how much more advanced James Deering was. He had one of the first vacuum equipment for his mansion and he had a sophisticated communication system that sent signals to his maids to come to him for service when he needed them. It was interesting to see how he was able to live in such a huge mansion and still have everything under his control. On the other hand, it was brought to my attention on how adjacent rooms changed their layout from overly charged decorations to darker simpler rooms. As someone brought up in the US, I am used to seeing a whole house follow a particular theme in every one of its rooms, but Vizcaya was breaking that rules of this protocol. Besides that, it was pretty interesting seeing hedonistic statues that were there from the mansion’s beginning when Miami had not had the hedonistic type of reputation it has today. Yet here they were, standing firm and strong almost as if saying, “ we were here first”. I quickly admired the diverse layout of Vizcaya’s design that was created by Paul Chalfin. Just as Deering aimed to bring a part of Europe to Miami, I felt a portion of Europe as I walked through its hallways and gardens. My point of view of Vizcaya stands challenged and I now see a clearer image of the mansion and what it stands for since it first opened.

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