Daniela Canizares: Miami Service, 2022

Student bio

Daniela Canizares at History of Miami Museum. Picture taken by Paola Castro/CC by 4.0

Daniela is a Junior at Florida International University Honor College. Daniela was born and raised in Havana, Cuba and came to Miami when she was 15 years old. Having spent most of her life as a flamenco dancer, Daniela is really passionate about the influence Spain has in the American culture in general. She is currently majoring in Psychology and once she finishes her bachelors degree, she would like to further her studies and pursue a Masters in Science in Professional Counseling.


Deering Estate. Pictures taken by Daniela Canizares/ CC by 4.0

On April 20, 2022, I volunteered at The Deering Estate, a cultural asset in Palmetto Bay, Florida, and a historic place listed on the National Register of Historic Places. dating back to the 1920s when Charles Deering decided to invest in a property down in the South Florida area. This place’s mission is to conserve the natural area on its property and restore it, as it is a top museum for touristic destinations nowadays.


Mangroves at Deering Estate. Picture taken by Daniela Canizares/ CC by 4.0

The opportunity of volunteering at Deering Estate is given every year to FIU Honors Students by professor John Bailly as part of his classes. Yearlong, some pure theoric classes take place at Deering Estate, yet others are full-service classes as was the case for this opportunity.

This activity itself does not relate to my major. However, ever since COVID started, being able to give back to the community is something that catches my attention, as I used to overlook it before. It opened my eyes, and make me especially interested in this type of activity. With it, I get to clean a part of Miami that almost nobody knew about and had been forgotten by those who knew about it but did not have the time to go clean it up.


Mangroves at Deering Estate. Picture taken by Daniela Canizares/ CC by 4.0

The different bridges and paths at Deering Estate never stop to amaze me. Seeing the remains of this bridge makes me think of how beautiful it could have been before hurricane Irma passed through Miami, and to see how much trash ends here is devastating. Animals are living in this ecosystem, and mistakenly they might eat some of this human debris. Even a bottle from Havana was found during this clean-up. Completely disappointing in humans.

It is always fun having both Miami in Miami classes together and being able to connect with other people while cleaning up. But most definitely the highlight of my day is going further than the rest of the class trying to reach the end of the bridge.

where & what

Trashbags. Picture taken by Daniela Canizares/ CC by 4.0

To start the last day of the Spring 2022 semester, professor John Bailly got both of his Miami in Miami classes together once again at the Deering Estate. There we first sat down and said our last goodbyes and favorite experiences. After this, the fun began.

We went to a bridge, -according to professor Bailly- a beautiful bridge during its good old times. After hurricane Irma took Miami land, it got destroyed and has not been restored ever since. Because humans are the most dangerous species, their trash ends up here. The bridge might have collapsed, yet there are still animals there, and they eat the trash or get stuck on them, and unfortunately end up dying. This is the reason why this clean-up was so important.

Picture taken by Michelle Puentes/CC by 4.o

We had to be extremely careful while walking between the bridge remains, as there were nails still coming out of the woods, or the surface was not the most reliable one. I am not a big fan of getting wet or dirty, so at first, I was a little skeptical as to where we were going. After getting scared by at least 20 spiders, and putting my feet on surfaces I would not know how to describe, but most certainly not satisfying, I found myself in a group of four girls without even noticing. Four girls with the same objective: trying to get to the end of the bridge. It was like a survival game in my eyes. Trying not to get wet and holding onto the remains of the bridge, all while trying not to disturb the spiders.

When we stopped hearing people is when the decision of going back took place, we decided to keep going, with the hopes we would reach the end. We got worried a little after and we decided to reach out to see if we were anywhere close to the end, but to our disappointment, the bridge did not have an end. The way back was easier, as we already know where to step.

Mangroves at Deering Estate. Picture taken by Daniela Canizares/ CC by 4.0

On our adventure, we were able to fill up to five bags. That is a lot of debris in such a small path! To our surprise when we got back to the Deering Estate yard, everyone in the class was already packing up to leave for their houses. It was a rewarding experience being able to connect with people outside the class and taking with us the champion feeling of accomplishment of getting far out the bridge (and terrible pain on my left foot because one of the nails passed through my shoe).


Approved Hours


This adventure as the last one for the semester felt like a rewarding one for me. Some things worked out perfectly, while others, did not.

What worked for me was teamwork. Even though we were not from the same class, we worked as if we had known each other for the longest time. I think this activity I would not have been able to complete it without the girls I found along the way. For example, trying not to step on water and holding onto the bridge was easier because we had each others telling us where to step and which way was the easier one. Also, having five bags with us, was easier to have help from one another to cross to the front.

What did not work was the spiders and spider webs. They were everywhere, and they were big and intimidating. Another thing that did not work was the nails on the ground. They were everywhere too and we had to be aware of nails and spiders and not leave the trash behind.

Overall, it was a great way to say goodbye to the semester and goodbye to professor Bailly.

Daniela Canizares: Doral, 2022

Daniela Canizares at History Miami Museum, September 2021, taken by Paola Castro (CC by 4.0) 


Daniela was born and raised in Havana, Cuba, and came to Miami when she was 15 years old. Having spent most of her life as a flamenco dancer, Daniela is passionate about the influence Spain has on American culture in general. She is currently majoring in Psychology and once she finishes her bachelor’s degree, she would like to further her studies and pursue a Masters in Science in Professional Counseling


City of Doral. Images from cityofdoral.com

According to the U.S Census Bureau, the city of Doral seats a 13.8 square miles area. It has an elevation of 3ft, limiting to the Town of Medley, Hialeah, Miami, West Miami, Fontainebleau, and Tamiami, and is located at 25°49’10″N 80°21’19” W.

In the past ten years, the city of Doral has seen a 32.58% increase, which positions it in the 34th place among the largest cities in Florida and has a population density of 5,839 people per square mile. Its fast growth makes it the perfect place to have restaurants, shopping centers, and a now coming new and luxurious home complex.


The history of the city of Doral dates back to the late 1950s when real estate pioneer Doris and Alfred Kaskel bought 2,400 acres of swampland for about $49,000 intending to open a golf course and a hotel. In 1962, they opened this hotel and golf course and named it “Doral”, combining both names Doris and Alfred. Years later, Donald Trump bought a golf course and changed its name to Trump National Doral Golf Course.

Years after, in the early 1980s, Kaskel’s grandson developed Doral Estates and started to build house communities around the area, naming these communities after the hotel, yet something was missing in the area: they had no grocery stores or schools or parks nearby so the people living there had to travel to get these things. The cost of living there was not ideal for all the services residents needed. It was not until 1996, after the first Community COuncil election that they started to work on different projects addressing the needs of the community.

Finally, in 2003, 85% of Doral voters voted in favor of incorporation, and Doral became a city of its own, with a local government. The relatively new city of Doral is an attractive location for investors interested in the Latin American market, as most of its population is from this region.

City of Doral. Pictures taken by Daniela Canizares. CC by 4.0

Nowadays, the city of Doral is looking at more changes and development than ever. New business areas such as Downtown Doral, City Place Doral, and Midtown Doral are one of the top places to start a business due to their high shopping traffic at any time of the day. Also, new residences are starting to be built which makes Doral the perfect place to invest in a better life right now. Often known as “Doralzuela” due to the large Venezuelan population in the area.


According to the World Population, the City of Doral has a population of 80, 678 people as of 2022, with a median age of 35.8 years. According to the United States Census Bureau, out of its total population, 62, 943 people are of Hispanic or Latino origins. Their employment rate is 65.2%, having a median household income of $75,138, and only a 10.9% poverty rate. The Median gross rent is $2,082 and 46.9% of its population owns a property
88.2% of the population speaks another language than English at home: 81.4% speak Spanish at home, 11.8% speak English at home, 4.9% speak other Indo-European languages at home, 1.6% speak Asian and Pacific Islander languages at home, and .4% speak other languages.

68.5% of its population is born in a foreign country; out of those 45.2% is a naturalized US citizens.

52.9% of its population has a Bachelor’s Degree or Higher and 68% are currently enrolled in a K-12 program.

Out of its population, 181 are American Indian and Alaska Native, 2,324 are Asians, 1,042 are Black or African American, 62,943 are Hispanic or Latino, 13 are Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander, 7,446 are white alone (not Hispanic or Latino), and 11,690 are of some other race.

City of Doral. Picture taken by Daniela Canizares. CC by 4.0


Roxana is a 18 years old Cuban-American living in the city of Doral

Roxana Riesgo. Picture taken by Daniela Canizares on April 19, 2022. CC by 4.0

Daniela: Hello Roxana, how are you today?
Roxana: I am doing great. Thank you for asking.
Daniela: Have you lived in Doral your whole life?
Roxana: No, I came here with my parents when I was about 6 years old.
Daniela: What are your ethnic backgrounds?
Roxana: I was born in Cuba.
Daniela: Do you like living in Doral?
Roxana: Yes, I would not change it for any other place in Miami
Daniela: What is your favorite thing about Doral?
Roxana: If I had to choose one thing, it will be the trolly and the freebies. They are a huge help to getting around the city, especially during rush hours, besides saving on gas and parking.
Daniela: Any favorite place in here?
Roxana: Doral CityPlace. It is the perfect place to go out, and have a fun night or a great time in general.
Daniela: Thank you, Roxana.
Roxana: You are very welcome.


City Place Doral (8300 NW 36th St, Doral, FL, 33188)

City Place Doral. Pictures taken by Daniela Canizares. CC by 4.0

This place in Doral is a one-stop destination for anyone visiting the zone. It has everything ranging from shopping centers to restaurants, to art galleries. Among the most interesting restaurants we can find Tap 42, and Novecento, both highly ranked by the community. Everywhere you walk to Doral City Place you can find live music playing and the beautiful view of the fountain from every corner you stand at. This place has accommodations for everyone in the family even having an Improv Comedy Center in one of its spaces.

It offers free parking for up to 2 hours from Monday through Thursday, which makes it enjoyable for people who are coming to have a nice lunch or dinner on the weekdays.

For more information, email info@cityplacedoral.com

Downtown Doral: (8551 NW 53rd, Doral, FL, 33166)

Downtown Doral. Pictures taken by Daniela Canizares. CC by 4.0

Downton Doral offers vasts places to visit either for the culture of the zone, commerce, offices, schools, restaurants, home, or retail shops. One of the schools in the area, Downtown Doral Charter Upper School now offers an International Baccalaureate Program. The newly designed downtown offers walkable and green spaces. The place also offers live concerts. Mainly all the areas are pet friendly. Plans include a Public library and a Cultural Arts Pavilion.

To stay up to date with the events in Downtown Doral, they suggest subscribing to their newsletter.

Business hours are subject to the business.

Trump International Doral (4400 NW 87th Ave, Miami, FL 33178)

Trump National Doral sign. Pictures taken by Daniela Canizares. CC by 4.0

Opened in the 1960s, the 800 acres resort is now one of the biggest landmarks in Doral. Originally costing $10 million, Donald Trump bought the resort in February 2012 for $150 million. In May 2019, reports suggested a financial decline of 69% in the hotel’s income. One night reservation costs about $300-$400. It features four golf courses, and it has been featured as Top 100 resort to stay and play.


Downtown Doral Park (8395 NW 53rd St, Doral, FL, 33166)

Downtown Doral Park. Picture taken by Daniela Canizares. CC by 4.0
Downtown Doral sign. Picture taken by Daniela Canizares. CC by 4.0

Finalized in 2012, the Downtown Doral Park is located adjacent to Doral Government Center and encompasses 3 acres of land. Opened every day from 7:00 AM to sunset, this park includes a children’s playground and picnic tables, which makes it perfect for a Sunday afternoon with the family. It also offers a walking/jogging path and a large open lawn for those people who decide to work out or go walk their dogs. The location at the heart of the Downtown Doral area makes the perfect combination between modernism and the familiar environment that the city of Doral has to offer.

Downtown Doral Park laws. Pictures taken by Daniela Canizares. CC by 4.0

More information can be found at doralparksinfo@cityofdoral.com

Doral Central Park (3000 NW 87th Ave)

Doral Central Park. Images by Miami Today News

Ranking as the largest park in the city of Doral, this park is home to major events celebrated around the area. Located at the heart of Doral, this park is adjacent to Carnival Cruise Lines’ headquarters. The 82-acre park includes a .9-mile walking/jogging trail for those who would like to work out as well as picnic benches that can be rented at their office. The park opens Monday-Friday from 7:00 AM to 8:00 PM and Saturday and Sundays from 7:00 AM to sunset.




Doral Freebee. Images by Miami Herald

The City of Doral offers Free Door-to-Door, on-demand transportation services. These freebees are 100% electronic and while you are on the ride, they will share the latest news about Doral. It can accommodate the whole family.


Doral Trolley. Images by Miami Herald

The free service of the Doral Trolley has 4 routes: to shopping centers, restaurants, parks, and Metrorail and a connector with Florida International University. The only route operating on Sundays is route 1 which connects crosstown. It offers a real-time tracker with information about all the routes available.


La Uchirena (7880 NW 52nd St, Doral, FL 33166)

La Uchirena. Picture taken by Daniela Canizares. CC by 4.0

Open Monday through Saturday from 7:00 AM to 6:00 PM and on Sundays from 7:00 AM to 4:00 PM, this place in Doral takes its name from Boca de Uchire, a tourist destination in Estado Anzoategui, in Venezuela. This place’s mission is to make its guests feel as if they just walked into the Caribe. Their menu can range anywhere from traditional sandwiches to dessert to lunch to breakfast. The perfect place to reminisce about Venezuela or to travel without needing a passport or plane ticket.

Bulla Gastrobar (5335 NW 87 AVE, #C102, Doral, FL, 33166)

Bulla Gastrobar. Pictures taken by Daniela Canizares. CC by 4.0

Originally opening its doors in Coral Gables, the second restaurant location is in Downtown Doral. They focus on Spanish Cuisine, and their artisanal style is what makes them popular in the area. Their distinguished menu offers food to delight their customers from brunch to dinner to lunch. Open Monday and Tuesdays from 11:30 AM to 10:00 PM, Wednesday through Saturday from 11:30 AM to 11:00 PM, and Sundays from 11:00 AM to 10:00 PM, this is the perfect place to enjoy a good Spanish-style menu.
Reservation is required

Divieto Ristorante (10650 NW 41st ST, Doral, FL, 33178)

Divieto Ristorante. Picture taken by Daniela Canizares. CC by 4.0

The name itself makes this place unique within the variety of restaurants in Doral. Italian for “prohibition”, this restaurant mixes the Italian flavors and the American touch in a modern 1920s New York scenery in the center of Doral. This place offers a little over 70 dishes and a wide Italian and American wine collection to choose from at the bar. Everyone coming to this place will have something to try because of all these dishes, ranging from Pizza to gourmet food. Open from Monday through Wednesday from 11 AM to 10 PM, Thursday and Sunday from 11 AM to 11 PM and Friday and Saturday from 11 AM to 12 AM, this will be the perfect place to come with friends or family.


Ballet Boutique (5335 NW 87th AVE, Doral FL, 33178)

Ballet Boutique. Pictures taken by Daniela Canizares. CC by 4.0

Distinguished for its personalized customer service, Ballet Boutique brings dancewear for Ballet, Jazz, HipHop, and many more dancers throughout the city of Doral or Miami in general. This boutique has something very special, its shoe-fitting, to make sure every experience fulfills the customers’ expectations. They have a newsletter to which people can subscribe to be aware of the latest news and discounts. Opens from Monday through Friday from 10 AM to 6 PM, Saturday from 10 AM to 3 PM, and closed on Sundays, this special place will make sure to give each customer an unforgettable experience.

Blos Roses (8550 NW 53rd St, Suite B103, Doral, FL, 33166)

Blos Roses. Pictures taken by Daniela Canizares. CC by 4.0

Blos Roses is that place that every girl will dream of while growing up. They claim to give you a manicure, a pedicure, and a blow-dry, all combined in less than 60 minutes. The perfect place for those moms that only have one hour of spare to dedicate to themselves. Closed on Mondays and open from Tuesday through Friday from 10 AM to 7 PM, on Saturdays from 9 AM to 7 PM, and on Sundays from 9 AM to 4 PM, this place has even been featured in the Miami New Times and has been awarded as the salon of the year on 2020.

TG Bridal (8550 NW 53rd St, Doral, FL 33166)

TG Bridal. Pictures taken by Daniela Canizares. CC by 4.0

Ever since I passed by this place, this European boutique-style caught my attention at an extraordinary level. This place has the most beautiful bride dresses I have seen in Miami. The aspect I liked the most about it, is that they have options for every person, no matter the size or style the customer requests. Not only for the bride but also for the court and the bride’s accessories. Open from Monday through Saturday from 1 PM to 7 PM this place makes sure your day is as special as you ever dreamt off.


Despite its relatively young age, the city of Doral is one of the most fascinating throughout Miami Dade County. The mix of ethnicities and its developments makes this city one of the preferable ones to live in. The beautiful parks and the free transportation are something every city should have as it creates an atmosphere where neighbors get to share their afternoons.


About blos·roses. Blos·Roses. (2020, October 2). Retrieved April 18, 2022, from https://blosroses.com/about/

About Doral. About  · City of Doral. (n.d.). Retrieved April 18, 2022, from https://www.cityofdoral.com/about/

About Us. DIVIETO RISTORANTE. (n.d.). Retrieved April 18, 2022, from https://www.divietoristorante.com/about-us

All about Doral Miami. MiamiandBeaches.com. (n.d.). Retrieved April 18, 2022, from https://www.miamiandbeaches.com/neighborhoods/doral

Ballet Boutique – Miami’s leading Dance Apparel & Accessories store. Ballet Boutique Miami. (n.d.). Retrieved April 18, 2022, from https://theballetboutique.com/

Doral Central Park. Doral Central Park  · City of Doral. (n.d.). Retrieved April 18, 2022, from https://www.cityofdoral.com/all-departments/parks-and-recreation/facilities-and-rentals/doral-central-park/

Doral Miami-Dade County, Florida. Doral, FL – Geographic Facts & Maps – MapSof.net. (n.d.). Retrieved April 18, 2022, from https://www.mapsof.net/doral

Doral Trolley. Doral Trolley  · City of Doral. (n.d.). Retrieved April 18, 2022, from https://www.cityofdoral.com/all-departments/public-works/doral-trolley/

Doral. Bulla Gastrobar. (n.d.). Retrieved April 18, 2022, from https://bullagastrobar.com/locations/doral/

Downtown Doral Park. Downtown Doral Park  · City of Doral. (n.d.). Retrieved April 18, 2022, from https://www.cityofdoral.com/all-departments/parks-and-recreation/facilities-and-rentals/downtown-doral-park/

Freebee in Doral. Freebee in Doral  · City of Doral. (n.d.). Retrieved April 18, 2022, from https://www.cityofdoral.com/residents/freebee-in-doral/

Miami Resort & Hotel in Doral – trump hotels. (n.d.). Retrieved April 19, 2022, from https://www.trumphotels.com/miami

TG bridal. Downtown Doral. (2020, October 2). Retrieved April 18, 2022, from https://downtowndoral.com/directory/tg-bridal/

Daniela Canizares: Cutler Bay 2021

Daniela Canizares at History Miami Museum, September 2021, taken by Paola Castro (CC by 4.0)

student bio

Daniela was born and raised in Havana, Cuba, and came to Miami when she was 15 years old. Having spent most of her life as a flamenco dancer, Daniela is passionate about the influence Spain has on American culture in general. She is currently majoring in Psychology and once she finishes her bachelor’s degree, she would like to further her studies and pursue a Masters in Science in Professional Counseling.


Cutler Bay city limits. Screenshot from Google Maps

According to the U.S Census Bureau, the city of Cutler Bay has its base on a total area of 12.69 square kilometers (12.43 square kilometers of land and .26 square kilometers of water). It stretches from South Miami through Homestead It has an altitude of 23 ft. Because of being a relatively flat city, it is prone to flooding. Its climate is often described as a tropical savanna climate.

The Church of Miami next to Old Cutler Road sign. Pictures taken by Daniela Canizares (CC by 4.0)
Franjo Road in Cutler Bay. Pictures taken by Daniela Canizares (CC by 4.0)


Just like throughout Miami, Cutler Bay’s first settlements were the Tequesta. They had settlements all over the Southernmost part of Florida, and Cutler Bay was not the exemption to the rule. This was their land years before Europeans arrived on the continent, and it was until that point that there was settle here, dying of the European diseases and other external factors. After their extinction, the Seminoles went and settle down Florida, primarily Miami and Key West.

In 1838, Dr. Henry Perrine was granted 36 square miles of land with hopes people will settle down and improve the land. This began to attract people down south and small communities were starting to form.

Following Dr. Perrine’s idea, Dr. William Cutler was able to purchase some land with an idea to bring down settlers, but not enough settlers were able to stay, but the ones that did, established a town naming it Cutler in honor of Dr. Cutler. The settlers in Cutler established the first post office in South Miami and created a trail of what is known today as Old Cutler Road.

Despite the challenges of hurricane Andrew in August 1992, the rainfall from Hurricane Katrina resulted in flooding in August 2005, its development led to the Town’s incorporation in 2006.

Interview with Deniska Rodriguez, a current resident:

Daniela: Hello Deniska, thank you for taking the time to meet with me today.

Deniska: Of course, the pleasure is mine.

Daniela: How long have you been living in the Cutler Bay area?

Deniska: I have been living here for about 9 years now since I came from Cuba

Daniela: Oh wow, that is a long time. Do you like living here?

Deniska: Oh, I love it.

Daniela: What is your favorite spot here, a place you would recommend to someone out of the area?

Deniska: Lakes by the Bay Park.

Daniela: I see you like Cutler Bay, however, what would be one thing you would change about it?

Deniksa: What I would change is the transportation. I wish they had electronic scooters as Brickell does.

Daniela: Thank you for taking the time today Deniska, have a great day.

Deniska: You are welcome Daniela. Bye-bye


According to the U.S Census Bureau, Cutler Bay’s current population is 45,425 people, with a median age of 37.7. The largest ethnic groups are Hispanics (making up to 55.7% of the population), White-non Hispanics (24.6% of the population, and black or African American (9.75% of the population).

Out of all its population, about 18,000 people (40.8%) were foreign-born population as of 2019, ranking higher than the national average. Their most common origin is Cuba, Haiti, and Colombia.

The median household income for the city of Cutler Bay as of 2019 was $75,101, having a 3.98% growth. However, there is still a 9.33% poverty rate, where females over the age of 75 years old make up for the largest demographic group living in poverty, followed by males between the ages of 55 and 64 years old and then females between the ages of 65 and 74 years old. Ethnically, the largest group living in poverty is white, followed by Hispanics and African Americans.


Southland Mall (20505 South Dixie Highway, Cutler Bay, Florida, 33189)

Southland Mall. Pictures taken by Daniela Canizares (CC by 4.0)

Formerly known as Cutler Ridge Mall, is a mall that opened in 1978 as an extension of Cutler Ridge Shopping Center, but right after its opening the entire shopping center was named Cutler Ridge Mall. The mall has two anchor stores (JCPenney and Macy’s) and also has a movie theater, and additional worldwide recognized stores such as DSW Shoe Warehouse, Victoria’s Secret, and Old Navy. It also offers a variety of food services from fast food such as Subway, to restaurants like Olive Garden. It also features a full-sized Italian carousel by the movie theater. It opens Monday through Saturday from 10 AM to 8 PM and Sundays from 12 PM to 6 PM.

South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center (10950 SW 211 St, Cutler Bay, Fl, 33189)

South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center opened on October 1st, 2011, and ever since it has played a key role in the development of the Cutler Bay area. It emphasizes educational activities partnering with community groups. It is managed by the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs. The Center is home to works of art created by Miami’s artist Robert Chambers. The Center offers community accessibility and it has been the home of Cutler Bay Senior High School graduation for the past years.

Cutler Ridge Park (10100 SW 200 st, Cutler Bay, FL, 33189)

Cutler Ridge Park. Pictures taken by Daniela Canizares (CC by 4.0)

Cutler Ridge Park is right next to Cutler Ridge Elementary School. This park has a 25-meter swimming pool, which makes it home for the Riptides Swim and Water Polo teams, lighted athletic fields, which makes it home for the Albion SC Miami. a covered playground, a picnic pavilion and has parking for up to 70 vehicles. Reservations for its facilities can be done online on the town of Cutler Bay website. The Pool is open for the public from 12 PM through 3 Pm from Monday through Friday. There is a daily admission price to the park:

  • adults (17 years old to 55 years old): $2
  • children (17 years old and younger): $1.50
  • senior citizen (55 years old and older): Free
  • 10-visit Monthly Pass: $10

The park is open Monday through Sunday from Sunrise to Sunset.


  • Franjo Park (20175 Franjo Road, Cutler Bay, Fl, 33157)
Franjo Road Park. Pictures taken by Daniela Canizares (CC by 4.0)

Having its most recent reopening in the Summer of 2021, Franko Park had been closed since September 2017 due to Hurricane Irma’s damages. During this time, the park went through a major improvement project. It is the house of Perrine Baseball and Softball Association, as it has three lighted baseball fields. It opens every day from Sunrise to Sunset.

Franjo Road Park. Pictures taken by Daniela Canizares (CC by 4.0)
  • Lakes by the Bay Park (8551 SW 216 St, Cutler Bay, FL, 33189
Lakes by the Bay Park. Pictures taken by Daniela Canizares (CC by 4.0)

One of the largest parks at Cutler Bay, Lakes by the Bay Park, and its 45 acre consists of three lighted baseball fields, two lighted soccer fields, and a .6 mile exercise path. It has parking space for up to 100 vehicles. It also has a Canoe/Kayak launch located north of the parking lot. It opens every day from Sunrise to Sunset.

Lakes By the Bay Park. Pictures taken by Daniela Canizares (CC by 4.0)
  • Whispering Pines Park (8800 Ridgeland Drive, Cutler Bay, Fl, 33157)
Whispering Pines Park. Pictures taken by Daniela Canizares (CC by 4.0)

Located in the heart of the Whispering Pines Community, this 1.3-acre park finds its borders next to the Ned Glenn Nature Preserve and the Whispering Pines Elementary School. This park is known for being well shaded and having covered pavilions. Every 4th of July since 1960, this park has been the gathering point for the Whispering Pines community.

  • Bel-Aire Park (18500 SW 97 Ave, Cutler Bay, Fl, 33157)
  • Blue Heron Park (21900 SW 97 Ave, Cutler Bay, Fl, 33189)
  • Cutler Ridge Park and Pool (10100 SW 200 St, Cutler Bay, Fl, 33189)
  • Lincoln City Park (21200 SW 99th ct, Cutler Bay, Fl, 33189) – Town’s smallest park
  • Saga Bay Park (8000 SW 205 St, Cutler Bay, Fl, 33189)
  • Saga Lake Park (SW 198th St & 83rd Ave, Cutler Bay, Fl, 33189)


The city of Cutler Bay has two local transportation services at no cost:

  • Go connect

Available Monday through Friday from 5:30 AM to 8 PM (except for holidays), this on-demand public transit service can be booked through a mobile app and it transports people to and from the South Dade Transitway and everywhere in the Cutler Bay boundaries at no cost. It offers its services in English and Spanish.

  • Town Circulator Bus
Town Circulator Bus. Pictures taken by Daniela Canizares (CC by 4.0)

Available Monday through Saturday from 8:40 AM to 4:40 PM and on Sundays from 10:40 AM to 3:40 PM. As of September 1st, 2021 the town circulator bus is free to everybody. The bus stops at every existing bus stop and shelter around its route. The bus real-time can be seen on the Miami Dade Transit website


  • Black Point Ocean Grill (24775 SW 87th Ave, Cutler Bay, FL, 33032)
Black Point Ocean Grill. Pictures by Daniela Canizares (CC by 4.0)

Established in 2005, Black Point Ocean Grill is a waterfront American-style restaurant. Ever since its opening, it has been a regular spot for fishermen due to its closeness to the Marina and local tourists due to its authentic quality, offering from refreshing beverages to fresh seafood. What makes this place special from the others in the area is that they grill and cook in a charcoal-fired hearth, which adds smoky flavor to every meal. This restaurant is also open for private events and its staff is willing to accommodate any specific request. It opens Sunday through Thursday, from 11 AM to 10 PM, and Fridays and Saturdays from 11 AM to 1 AM

  • Cubavana Cafe Restaurant (20445 Old Cutler Rd, Cutler Bay, FL, 33189)
Cubavana Cafe. Pictures by Daniela Canizares (CC by 4.0)

A family-owned cafe restaurant, Cubavana offers an authentic Cuban-style menu that is approachable to every single member of the family. Due to the many Cubans or Cuban descendants living in the area, this place is one of the most visited during the family days. It also offers catering services for the holiday season or any specific occasion. It opens Monday through Sunday from 7 AM to 10 PM for dine-in and takes you, and from Monday to Sunday from 11 AM to 9:30 PM for Delivery Services.

  • Xochimex Cantina Grill (20525 Old Cutler Rd, Cutler Bay, FL, 33189)
Xochimex Cantina Grill. Pictures by Daniela Canizares (CC by 4.0)

A tex-mex restaurant, Xochimex Cantina Grill’s mission is to satisfy every family member. Blending traditional and contemporary style, it offers an affordable and diverse menu. Something interesting with this restaurant is that they are looking for franchise owners and they have the application for it with the detailed spends on their website. It opens Monday through Sunday from 10:30 AM to 11 PM


  1. MEZZA LATIN HOUSE (19790 South Dixie Highway, Cutler Bay, Fl. 33157)
Mezza Latin House. Pictures by Daniela Canizares (CC by 4.0)

A Latin-style restaurant. It has been passed down through generations and it has finally opened its door in the Cutler Bay area. Their staff makes you feel like if you were part of their own family. It opens from Monday to Saturday, from 7 in the morning to 8 at night, and Sundays from 8:30 in the morning to 6 in the afternoon. In my personal opinion, the place closes early considering the businesses hours around the area, but overall a great place.

2. SLUSH FACTORY (19367 South Dixie Hwy, Cutler Bay, FL. 33157)

This place is one of the most unique places around the Cutler Bay area. It has unique drinks that you can customize so that no drink is ever going to be the same. You can add anything from airheads to gummy worms, all depends on the customer’s preference. It opens from Sunday to Thursday from 12 pm to 8 pm and Friday and Saturday from 12 pm to 9 pm.

3. ANGELIC’S LADIES (10505 South Dixie Hwy, Cutler Bay, FL. 33189)

Angelic’s Ladies. Pictures by Daniela Canizares (CC by 4.0)

This boutique-style store opened in summer 2021. It is located in Southland Mall however its atmosphere does not feel like if you were in the mall. From the moment you walk in you feel welcomed by the ladies working there and they do not judge based on size or appearances. It opens from Monday to Saturday from 10 AM to 9 PM and Sundays from 11 AM to 7 PM.


Within all the neighborhoods in Miami Dade County, Cutler Bay could be considered one of the most familiar ones. From its history to its present days. The people around are very nice and you would find them at most shopping centers with other family members. It is a very Hispanic community, where most of its population speaks Spanish. Most of its establishments close early, which could be one of the reasons why they do not have nightlife around the area.


“Black Point Ocean Grill Waterfront Seafood Restaurant.” Black Point Ocean Grill | Miami Waterfront Dining Seafood Restaurant, 1 Mar. 2021, https://blackpointoceangrill.com/black-point-ocean-grill-2/.

“Cutler Bay, FL.” Data USA, https://datausa.io/profile/geo/cutler-bay-fl/.

“Cutler Ridge Park and Pool.” Town of Cutler Bay Florida, https://www.cutlerbay-fl.gov/parksrec/page/cutler-ridge-park-and-pool.

“Home.” Mezza Latin House, https://www.mezzalatinhouse.com/.

“Hours + Location: Cubavana Cafe: Cuban Cafe Restaurant in Beautiful Cutler Bay, FL.” Cubavana Cafe | Cuban Cafe Restaurant in Beautiful Cutler Bay, FL., https://www.cubavanacafe.com/location/cubavana-cafe/.

Ltd., TheGridNet. About Cutler Bay, https://cutlerbaygrid.com/en/info.

“Safety.” Southland Mall, https://www.mysouthlandmall.com/about-us/.

“Settlement in Southern Miami-Dade.” Town of Cutler Bay Florida, https://www.cutlerbay-fl.gov/community/page/settlement-southern-miami-dade.

“South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center.” SMDCAC, https://smdcac.org/content/facility-design.

“Town Transportation.” Town of Cutler Bay Florida, https://www.cutlerbay-fl.gov/publicworks/page/town-transportation.

“Whispering Pines Park.” Town of Cutler Bay Florida, https://www.cutlerbay-fl.gov/parksrec/page/whispering-pines-park.

Xochimex Cantina Grill, https://xochimexcantinagrill.com/.

Daniela Canizares: Miami Service 2021

Student Bio

Daniela Canizares at History Miami Museum, September 2021, taken by Paola Castro (CC by 4.0)

Daniela is a Junior at Florida International University Honor College. Daniela was born and raised in Havana, Cuba and came to Miami when she was 15 years old. Having spent most of her life as a flamenco dancer, Daniela is really passionate about the influence Spain has in the American culture in general. She is currently majoring in Psychology and once she finishes her bachelors degree, she would like to further her studies and pursue a Masters in Science in Professional Counseling.

Miami in Miami Chicken Key cleanup October, 6, 2021. Photo by Daniela Canizares (CC by 4.0)


The Deering Estate is an environmental preserve listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It dates back to 1920 when Charles Deering from Chicago decided to establish his home in these 444 acres of land. In October 2021, I was able to volunteer on a cleanup in Chicken Key, an inhabited Island in the property of the Deering Estate. Here we collected all the debris coming from Key Biscayne and Old Cutler Road.


This cleanup opportunity is only available to FIU students and alumni. To me in specific, this clean-up was set for professor John Bailly as part of his Miami in Miami class. Both classes Miami in Miami I & II got together to make the time longer and be able to collect more trash.

This project in specific did not relate to my major, however ever since I was a kid, I found interesting the idea of giving back to the community. After Professor Bailly told us how inhabited this island was and how the turtles were dying due to choking with the plastics found in the island, I got excited about being part of this clean-up, and I wish it could have been in a longer period.


This opportunity was an eye-opener for me. It was the first time I had gone to an inhabited island just to clean it up. I never thought how much trash there was going to be and seeing the animals having to live with it was devastating. Throughout the day we kept finding crabs that would move stuff out of their way to walk.

Also, being able to meet the other people from Miami in Miami I was a unique experience. We were so used to seeing the same faces that it was like starting all over again introducing one another. The best part of the day by far was not being able to go on our phone due to the lack of signal. It was like getting away from the real world and focusing on a bigger issue.

Where and what

On the morning of October 6, 2021, both Miami in Miami classes met as one at Deering Estate in Palmetto Bay. After we got into the kayak, professor Bailly told us a little bit of a story behind Chicken Key and how every year he takes his students to clean up this inhabited island. Before getting to Chicken Key, we had our first stop at a natural arch, created by the mangroves of the zone. It was a relaxing experience since there was no water current and we could get there pretty easily. Being surrounded by that morning sun, and the cold-ish temperature in the morning was a great way to start the day. After that, we started heading to chicken key.

Images taken by Daniela Canizares (CC by 4.0)

Once we got there, the first thing to cross off the list was to get on the fresh water and get a refreshing taste of the quiet place. Then, we had lunch as a group before actually starting to pick up the human trash.

Filling our hands with two to three sandbags, we started our cleaning journey. We picked everything, from bottle caps to shoes. I was surprised at how many shoes we picked. We even found a flag attached to one of the trees. It was extremely sad and disappointing to see how the human itself is capable of these types of things.

Images taken by Daniela Canizares (CC by 4.0)

As we were walking through the island, we saw some crabs, and at least for me, was extremely devastating to see how they had to surround the trash to keep walking. What is even sadder is the fact that some of these crabs die because they try to find a new shelf, yet they get stuck in these water caps.
After picking up the trash we put them back into the kayaks and started heading back to the Deering Estate, but before getting there, we had to enjoy the quiet moment we had, and just laid down on the canoes, away from the city and the phone, completely away from reality.

Images taken by Daniela Canizares (CC by 4.0)

Once we got to the Deering Estate, we helped the staff to put all the trash away, as we thanked them for having us and being able to clean up for the animals living at Chicken Key


volunteering hours


In summary, I feel like the clean-up was such a great experience. I had taken a similar class before, however, I never got the opportunity of heading to this island. I felt such a privilege, as first off, almost anybody knows of the existence of this island, and the access to it is very limited. Being able to help in some shape was the greatest satisfaction I was able to take home with me that day. I am aware that maybe a year from now when another class goes again, there is going to be plenty of human debris again, yet I think that if we had never gone in the first place, then this trash would be accumulating.

I feel like the day not being that hot in Miami helped a lot, as the temperatures here usually tend to get in the way of everything. Another thing that helped was that there was little water current, which took us faster to the island and was faster to go back as well. Something that did not work, however, was that we were short on kayaks. I feel like if we would have had more kayaks, we could have picked more trash as we would have had more room for the bags. Another thing that I did not find fair was the short time we had. I wanted to stay longer to at least clear as much as we could.

I just feel happy overall that these types of clean-ups are taking place, as many people tend to think that if nobody lives there, they do not have any obligations with the island, and it should not be like that, as animals still live there.

Daniela Canizares: Miami as Text 2021-2022

Daniela Canizares at History Miami Museum, September 2021, taken by Paola Castro (CC by 4.0)

Daniela is a Junior at Florida International University Honor College. Daniela was born and raised in Havana, Cuba and came to Miami when she was 15 years old. Having spent most of her life as a flamenco dancer, Daniela is really passionate about the influence Spain has in the American culture in general. She is currently majoring in Psychology and once she finishes her bachelors degree, she would like to further her studies and pursue a Masters in Science in Professional Counseling.

Downtown as text

Images taken by Daniela Canizares (CC by 4.0)

“Unspoken History”

By Daniela Canizares of FIU at HistoryMiami Museum,1st August 2021

Miami: the center of festivities, party, and just in general a whole inclusive mix of people from all races and ethnicities, but, was it always like that? This question usually goes past the people’s heads as all they think about is how inclusive this city is. This question takes us to the History Miami Museum to take a closer look at history.

If we trace it back to its beginnings, Miami was the land of the Tequestas. They lived by the Miami River, where they had the perfect mix of saltwater and drinkable water. Unfortunately, the remains we have of these people are vague because they got dispersed all over Miami to develop the city.

Moving a couple of years further, we encounter Henry Flagler. He was great for the development of Miami as a city and the idea of bringing people to Miami. However, he was also one of the reasons for segregation in Miami and the creation of Overtown (formerly Colortown). His statue in front of the Courthouse can either represent a “thank you” for the creation of the city we live in today, or a mock to justice because in the first place he was not the best one at practicing it. In the HistoryMiami Museum, we had the opportunity to get on an original, functional Trolley. The “white people sit front” sign was still in there, and being able to see how the seats moved from one side to the other, was just an unforgettable experience. Having that personal contact with history is a unique thing.

Moving on to the present years, we see how Miami founds itself with that mix of ethnicities, even though it was not always accepted. People escaping from their own countries for political or economic reasons is just the hardest side of a country. Me as a Cuban born and raised, I always heard the stories of people coming in rafts escaping the political situation in Cuba but never had the experience of seeing one of these rafts in front of me. Seeing it there gave me chills of how people risk their lives to give themselves and their families a better future. It might seem like a short distance for some, but being in the Ocean for days without any signal or GPS is by large, one of the scariest things to think about. And what is even sadder is hearing the stories of people coming from all over the world and some of them, not even making it alive.

We love our mix of cultures in Miami, and having the cafecito every morning with the empanada, but do we even sit down to think how was it that we incorporated those things into our culture? Looking back to that unspoken history, we should be grateful for the things we have.

Overtown as a text

Images taken by Daniela Canizares (CC by 4.0)

“Warmest of the welcomes”

By Daniela Canizares of FIU at Overtown Miami, 15 September 2021

“Are you going to Overtown? Is not that dangerous?” That was the way my friend came to me when I told her where my next visit was going to be. To her surprise, she could not be more wrong about it.

For many years Overtown has been looked like the dangerous side of Miami. This dates back to segregation, and this stereotype was given to this part of town because it was the area designated for African Americans to live in. At that time, being of another race but white would title someone as a criminal automatically.

A big part of the greatest artists of Miami came from Overtown, however, they will give presentations outside Overtown, but would have to return here to spend the night. They had been completely segregated from the rest of Miami. This is unspoken in schools and history, but it did happen in real life, and not so long ago. These archives are only in this part of town, as back in the days, being part of this community was not important to the rest of Miami.

Many of the plans to end segregation took place here, and important people on history as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke in Mount Zion Baptist Church. What an experience was to hear from someone who was there at that moment!

Such a rich place in history, yet so forgotten by many. The people in Overtown are still mainly African Americans and they come from low-income families. Many of these historic places have needed to be protected, however, many did not have this luck and now are just part of history that can not even be seen. Not only this, but these people, who were already moved to this part of town only, are now starting to be forced out of here as well. Of course, they have to be defensive when an outsider comes! Big companies are buying lots (that are supposed to be cheap) at prices owners cannot deny. Once they buy it, they start building these apartment complexes where rent starts at $2,500/month and only 10% of these apartments are for low-income families. “I used to live in that corner over there, now, it is just history” yelled a local at us, signaling the big apartment complex. Locals want to defend the little they have. Once they knew we were there just to embrace their culture and learn more about it, their eyes lit up and opened their sources for all of us, thanking us for taking the class over there.

Such a stereotype to break about Overtown. So much history related to this place, history that if business keeps growing is only going to be in the memories of many, and passed down to future generations as a tale of what one day, Overtown used to be.

vizcaya as a text

Images taken by Daniela Canizares (CC by 4.0)

“A house the size of an island”

By Daniela Canizares of FIU at Vizcaya Gardens and Museum, 13 October 2021

Growing up in another country, I always had the idea of these beautiful houses as something magical, out of this world. I never even imagined that a house as big as a small island could be possible; until I walked inside Villa Vizcaya.
From the very first moment you step inside the property, it completely blows your mind how different it is from the rest of Miami. The sculptures, the meaning behind it, everything being so harmonically synchronized takes your mind out of the craziness Miami has become.

Walking inside the house, you get an instant message about what James Deering considered important. For him, his house was all about having fun, and making his own house a place he would not need to go out for anything, more like people would come so that they could have the greatest of the times. Just walking inside you get the impression he had money, as the house is a two-storage property with plenty of rooms and at the time, this was considered a luxury. However, this house is much more than a two-storage property!

He had plenty of rooms for people who wanted to come and stay the night -mind me telling you he lived alone but had all of these rooms!. The house even has secret passages for the people he considered “special” to go inside and be part of his parties. As you step outside-or to what in those days would be the main entrance, you see s shipwreck to break the waves as the people would safely come to his house. Just the wave breaker is as beautiful as you can imagine it and as big as an apartment in Miami. But this is not all. As you keep walking you would find the most beautiful part of the house: the gardens. They are symmetrically decorated. He even had his secret garden inside the garden, not to mention his theater. What a man!

Unfortunately, now this part of the original Villa Vizcaya is not accessible to the public anymore, but he had a monkey island, all to himself. Can you even imagine that?

I feel like honestly if I would have lived in this mansion, I would not need to leave the house. It is like having your hotel.

South beach as a text

Images taken by Daniela Canizares (CC by 4.0)


By Daniela Canizares of FIU at South Beach, 27 October 2021

“There is no place like home”. Every time I see someone coming from the Northern states I keep asking them: “but why would you come to spend your weekend in 90 degrees weather?” to what they always reply “It is something about Miami”. After this visit to South Beach, I could see what they were talking about. Even though we live in Miami, we do not usually go and visit Miami Beach, either for the paid parking spots, for the heat of Miami, or just because we already know the traffic we are going to have on our way back, but from time to time it is good to see what our city has to offer.

Miami Beach’s architecture is something so unique to us that we tend to overlook it, and it is not until someone points it out that we start appreciating it. Miami Beach has the biggest and largest collection of architectural buildings in the world. This has been fought for the longest time in history. For some people, it was more productive just to tear down these beautiful buildings and build the typical 60-floor hotels. However, if the city of Miami Beach did not have the strict rules it has in protecting its buildings, we would not be such a unique city. As you walk by you can see a contrast between three different architectural styles: (1) MiMo-Miami Modern architecture, which gives you a sensation that you are boarding a shipping cruise, with all its curves and open spaces at the top of the building, (2) Mediterranean revival architecture, that gives you the impression of a 1600’s European villa, (3) art deco architecture, with its pastel colors and rules of three (three windows, three lines, three storages), and every other building that did not count on the regulations and look like every other building in every other city, unfortunately.

Not to talk about the colors they painted them, reflecting the magnificent water from the beach and the terrible but lovely sun of Miami. If beautiful in the morning, even better at night, when all the neon signs turn on, and the music gets its loudest.

To think about Miami is to think about all these colors we are going to see on their building’s facade, all the beautiful people dancing and singing around, and of course what gives it its essence, the well-conserved buildings. Not my birth country, but glad to call it my home.

Deering as a text

Images taken by Daniela Canizares (CC by 4.0)

“The real Miami”

By Daniela Canizares of FIU at Deering Estate, 17 November 2021

When we think about Miami, we always think about this scenery full of life and lights, but barely we think about its beginnings. The oldest track of the first road we find is at Deering Estate, and it would be crazy to think that this was considered, back in the days, like a mountain.

Fascinating about this place is the rest of the work tools we see all over the place, and it makes sense to see that it could date back to these times due to their shape. The fact that they fit into a person’s hand perfectly tells us the story of how the tequestas could have used it for daily purposes. The nature telling the story of our ancestors is something we would not find Downtown, let us say.

Not only story-wise but also, the things we find hidden between the mangroves is something so unique of this place, so “Miamian”. A masonry sign is hidden between rocks. How did it get there in the first place? To crave it, someone would have to have it done from the bottom, and of the whole, it is located at, and looking at it from up, it was pretty deep. Aliens? This question is one of the many that will never have an answer. A plane crashed in the middle of the mangroves. I do not think it gets more unique than this. It dates back to when Miami was one of the biggest cocaine trafficking cities in the late XX century. Getting to the plane is something people should not do on their own, but it is a magnificent experience.

Also, when we think about Miami we think about pavements, almost no mangroves surrounding us, or barely any nature. Being in contact with the real Miami and just feeling nature, putting your feet in the water, and having to hold onto the mangroves to pass over a rock, just let us wonder what life was at the beginning when there was no cell phones or cars.

Being without a signal for a couple of hours and just breathing the fresh air, is something most people in Miami are not used to, however, if they could do it, I am pretty sure they would love the feeling of reconnecting to a healthier lifestyle.

Rubell as a text

Images taken by Daniela Canizares (CC by 4.0)

“Fake reality”

By Daniela Canizares of FIU at Rubell Museum, 24 November 2021

As much as we try to hide it, the world we live in right now is not the healthiest or the most real of them. Social media has been taken over everyone’s life, even if we do not want to accept it. An example of this is the collection by the artist Cajsa von Zeipel at the Rubell Museum. With her contemporary art, she wanted to give an example of the world we live in.

The sculptures are disintegrating, which could mean that people are slowly stopping being themselves to turn into nothing. Also, when you look into their eyes they seem empty as if they would have stopped caring for the longest. They seem pretty young, yet they look like if they were so tired. The need of being “influencers” is slowly making them be something they are not. The sculpture of the painter painting absolutely nothing, the traveler influencer carrying all the Louis Vuitton bags, the social media celebrity with the latest phone, the “party animal” with the latest trends, yet all of them disintegrating. The dog with fake eyelashes and clothing shows how far are we taking things and is more of a wake-up call to how wrong we are doing things.

My perspective of this collection is that the artist wants us to see how far we have taken things with social media. Not everything needs to be done for outside validation. I feel like these sculptures should not be on such a hidden gallery, if anything they should be rearranged to be one of the first ones we see when we walk inside Rubell museum due to the huge impact it has on today’s society.

untitled as a text

Images taken by Daniela Canizares (CC by 4.0)


By Daniela Canizares of FIU at Untitled Art, 1 December 2021.

Art Basel week in Miami is by far one of the most important weeks of the year. Numerable artists from all around the world come here to share their art with the world, and with hopes, they sell them and recover the money they invested. This being my first time in such an important event, I felt very overwhelmed, and it got to the point where most of the art stopped making sense for me. However, I guess professor Bailly saved the best for last.

It was Arleene Correa Valencia’s work that made me take the best out of the event home with me. Her art speaks volumes, and even though it was not the same story as mine, I felt extremely related to her. We are both immigrants, and listening to her story gave me shivers. Just like my parents, her parents sacrificed everything to give her a better future, and now she is here, showing her art in one of the most important events all over the world. The sentimental part to it, and feeling how much her family means for her, made me realize that even though “art is art” if artists were to put more feelings and personal stories to it, people would be more open to going to these type of events. Other artists throughout the gallery would speak in a professional, formal manner. However, Arleene came to us more in a friendly way and shared her whole life story. It takes a lot of courage to do that in front of strangers if I say so myself.

Not only the sentimental part, but the way she combines different styles made her artwork stand out from everyone else’s. During the daytime, you could mainly see one out of the two people in the picture, yet at night time (or when reflected with a flash), you could see the other one. Also, having two of her artwork dedicated to those who do not make it into the country, lets us realize what a heart she has and how a good person she is, and on top of that an excellent artist.

Her brother was also there in the exhibit. This shows us, that her art is not purely for sale, but how much the term “family” really means for them, since he was able to be there on one of her most important days.

Yes, sometimes art is abstract, however giving it this personal touch can catch everyone’s attention, even if you do not relate to her story. By far, this was my favorite exhibition in all the galleries.

everglades as text

Images taken by Daniela Canizares (CC by 4.0)

“The beauty of the untouched”

By Daniela Canizares of FIU at Everglades, 19 January 2022.

A definition of beauty might not always be the same for everybody. Some people find the gigantic skyscrapers in New York fascinating. However, for people in Miami, we have something I would call the prettiest, manly untouched most beautiful work ever made from nature: the Everglades.

It might sound unrealistic, but as you walk inside the Everglades, you completely forget about the disturbing real world. At first, I found it gross getting into the water, yet the nature surrounding you as you get deeper into the Everglades makes you forget about what is on your feet. I had never seen an owl before, yet I have had heard stories about how majestic they were. All I can say is that indeed they are! Standing right above me was this owl; so beautifully unbothered, knowing she was the main character on a movie where we were just the people wanting to see it.

Deeper in was this alligator, unbothered as well, allowing us to see him from a so close point, yet knowing that if he wanted to, he could make us run as fast as we possibly could.

These beautiful creatures, blessing us with their presence is most definitely one of the things I was not expecting to see ever in my life, and having this opportunity is a very unique one most people never get to experience. We tend to underestimate nature when it comes to the standards of beauty in a city that is pretty much completely developed when in reality the most beautiful places are those where the man has not done any plans over it.

Coral Gables as text

Images taken by Daniela Canizares (CC by 4.0)

“Erasing History”

By Daniela Canizares of FIU at Coral Gables, February 2nd, 2022.

As Coral Gables rises as one of the most exclusive neighborhoods in Miami Dade County, the efforts to erase important figures out of the history of this city are innumerable. Just like many people around the time Coral Gables was founded, the planner of this city, George Merrick, had some ideas that were just despicable for other people. However, the sensitivity in which we are living makes it harder to acknowledge that he was the headmaster behind one of the most developed cities around the world.

Even though people were skeptical about buying the land around Coral Gables because they would not see their business growth in this area, Merrick had a vision and he was able to make it through, making Coral Gables one of the most thriving cities.

At first, he knew he needed the basics to make deals with the buyers, so he built the Biltmore Hotel, which became, and it is still up to this day, one of the most recognized hotels all around the world. It was so recognized that all the famous people at the time needed to stay there if they were coming to Miami. He also knew he needed a church, for Sunday mass, so right in front of the Biltmore Hotel, he built an inclusive church, which still functions up to this day. Then he went and created a school for grammar, reading, and spelling. With this, it was a boom to society. Faster than the whole world thought, Coral Gables became a party scene. Everyone wanted to be part of Coral Gables, or at least experience it.

Now, it is also to be said, that Mr. Merrick was not the best one when it comes to his labor workers. Anywhere, but in some books, there is enough recognition to the Bahamians behind the rising of this city. After they finished working, they were completely segregated from this exclusive city. Just as Merrick needs recognition for his job, so do these workers, which we do not even know their names.

In my opinion, erasing the name of the person building the University of Miami from one of their buildings is something to the extreme, as well as taking his name off some places that do need his recognition. I feel like erasing history should never be the right thing to do, but to recognize everyone for their efforts.

river of the grass as a text

Images taken Daniela Canizares (CC by 4.0)

“Luckiest? Unluckiest?”

By Daniela Canizares of FIU at the Everglades, February 27, 2022

More often than we think, we tend to overestimate the value behind the quiet silence of the Everglades. Coming for the fourth time here still does not stop to amaze me how peaceful it can be to walk through this scenery, with just nature surrounding you.

When we say, I am going to the Everglades for a class project some people might call you unlucky, however to me, every time I go I feel the luckiest person in Miami. I get to just get off my phone for a couple of hours since there is no service and interact face to face with my classmates. This feeling is getting lost, as we spend most of our time glued to our phones. Getting away from the road, and slowly becoming one with the birds, expecting the best yet the worst things to happen at the same time, hoping to see some spectacular animal out of the sudden, yet almost drowning because of the natural holes in the floor is a unique experience, that I am lucky enough to say I experienced it.

I would have never probably done this without this class, as I always complain to get myself wet up to my waist, however, once I am there, I enjoy it like I never thought of doing. When the water is calmed, you can see your reflection, the clearest water you would ever find, purest as it gets. Only the luckiest people can say they were able to spend the day walking through what could have been, Miami as a whole.

wynwood as a text

Images taken by Daniela Canizares (CC by 4.0)

“More valuable than money itself”

By Daniela Canizares of FIU at the Margulies Collection, March 9, 2022

Wynwood as we know it nowadays is greatly influenced by the arts in every single of its manifestations. As we walk through it, we find one of the pioneers of Wynwood as the Wynwood we are used to The Margulies Collection. 

Holding a very vast art collection, this nonprofit organization stands out from the rest. It shows different collections at a time, very different in a sense, yet with a similarity: the meaning behind them. The touchiest part for me was the exhibition by the artist Anselm Kiefer. From my interpretation, his work can be very dark, as he does not use as much color, yet this is also what makes it more powerful. It lets the other person find the own meaning behind his work. The gigantic sculpture named The Ages of The World makes me think of how difficult it might have been to be in war. The canvas was thrown randomly, surrounded by camera films of what used to be a house, and dead flowers make me think that maybe he lived there, and all that is left was dead and destruction and maybe every other memory. This one is a permanent exhibition, and one of the most powerful ones. 

Completely different from this one, we find the Truck Installation by Barry McGee. This exhibition displays a truck filled with TVs that keep on playing throughout the day. Maybe this piece is not as valuable in the market right now, yet fixing one of these TVs can cost the Margulies Warehouse so much money, yet they decide to keep it as a permanent exhibition. To me, I love it because it made the perfect spot to remember how the old school TVs were not that long ago and to see how ahead technology is. 

Lastly, there is this current exhibition that holds a special memory on every American. The piece I am talking about is “The Situation Room” by Will Ryan. This piece, made of charcoal figures displays an iconic moment when under President Obama’s presidency, the mind behind the 9/11 attacks was murdered. This battle scene shows how battles are fought now, in front of a computer, showing no feelings towards what is going on the other side of the screen, yet at the same time, marking the life of future generations. For these sculptures, the details are extremely accented, almost as if the artist has had a real-life person under the charcoal. 

Not the value these exhibitions have, but the power behind it is what makes the Margulies collection one of the most valuable places in Wynwood. Most definitely a must-visit place if somebody is around the area. 

coconut grove as a text

Images taken by Daniela Canizares (CC by 4.0)

“Reality check”

By Daniela Canizares of FIU at Coconut Grove, March 23, 2022

When people come to Coconut Grove, they expect to see the beautiful boulevards, or the overpriced dinners and trendy retail stores, yet they never stop to learn about the reality of Coconut Grove.

Originally a Bahamian neighborhood, Coconut Grove preserves very little of its history up to date. We do have to recognize that they have done a magnificent job keeping the Stirrup house painted and renovated, however, we can not say the same thing about the other historic places around the area. Hidden within the other houses, we find a house with a beautiful history. A single mother decided to save up and buy this property in Coconut Grove to raise her family, yet we only see a sign in front of her house. The walls of such an important place for women’s history are tearing apart, and so is the history of the place, since no one cares enough to preserve it. So is the case of the old Playhouse. Pictures of the place show how important it was for the growth of the neighborhood, and that now is simply closed is devastating. Not to compare, but they have given more attention to a coffee shop than to this cultural space that in its peak times was one of the more important around the area. Sad enough!

What is more alarming is that even the people living there do not know of the beautiful history behind this neighborhood. “All you will find around here is the Playhouse and the Stirrup House”, yelled a guy from across the street when we were doing our walking lecture. What about the cemetery? Is not important that veterans rest on this ground? Or if they are not historically cultured enough but follow the music, is not important that Michael Jackson was inspired by this cemetery for his hit thriller?

And to think this will be the mentality of all of Miami in a couple of years is just a reality that unfortunately we have to slowly swallow. It is a pill we take without wanting it and knowing it will be more harmful than the benefits it will bring.

key Biscayne as text

Images taken by Daniela Canizares (CC by 4.0)

“El farito”

Known by many tourists and locals because of its beautiful beach, Bill Baggs state park is much more than just that. Fairly known as “el farito” by visitors, the history behind this lighthouse dates back to even Seminole Wars. Some people just pass by to go up the lighthouse and see Miami from a sky view, but not many put themselves in the position of the lighthouse keepers, who died in this place.

As someone terrified of heights, this experience is one that I would always carry with me everywhere I go. While going up those spiral stairs, they seem like they are never going to finish, and the higher it gets the narrower their steps are (a complete nightmare for someone claustrophobic, I might say). Once up there, there is a tiny door that lets you go outside and supervise Miami from 95 ft up in the air. With only enough space for one visitor at a time, you can walk around the top part of the lighthouse, but always keep all of your accessories safe with you, because once the wind from Key Biscayne takes it away from you, that would be the last time you will be able to see it. Yet what amazes me, even more, is that once up there there is a higher stair, closed as of right now, that will take you to the higher part of the lighthouse. When I saw this I was wondering if they had ever actually used it (of course they did, but I just could not picture anybody going up there with no safety and strong wind). And that now they had to put a lock to it because tourists will go up there? Just to think about it I would get very nauseous.

The view from up there was amazing. ou could divide Key Biscayne, Miami Downtown, and the beautiful beach, not in vain ranked as the top 5 most beautiful beaches in the world. If ever have the chance of going up to the Bill Baggs Lighthouse, I would recommend it, even if you are scared of heights, because I am, and would love to tell everyone how I went 95ft up in the air and saw my beautiful city from up there.

Daniela Canizares: ASC Art Service Project Spring 2021

Student Biography

Daniela Canizares is a Sophomore at Florida International University, majoring in Psychology. She was born in Cuba but moved to Miami when she was 15 years old. After graduating, she is planning on becoming a School Counselor. 

Miami’s own: Artist Zion Rozier


Zion Rozier was born and raised in South Miami. His work is based on portraits of his family and close ones. He graduated from Robert Morgan Educational Center, in South Miami Heights under the performing arts magnet, and is currently attending Miami Dade College aspiring to graduate with an Associates in Criminal Justice, and combine both, arts and criminal sciences and become a forensic artist. He has had exhibitions in the Rubell Museum as well as the Miami International Airport. He is currently working on incorporating a clothing line into his artwork.


I chose this volunteering opportunity to open more to something I had never tried before. Not knowing who I was, I never thought Mr. Rozier was going to let me work with him, which to my surprise, I could not have been more wrong. This opportunity does not relate to my major, but it is an interest of mine working with artists and being able to help them grow.


I have never worked with an artist this close, and due to COVID regulations, I thought I was never going to be able to do it. However, I like to get out of my comfort zone. He went to school with a friend of mine, and as I was telling her about my art class, she suggested I should work with him due to distance wise, how close we were from each other -which would have made it easier for us to work together, and because she thought he was a great person and artist (she was not wrong at all!). Right away I looked him up. I searched his website, I found the “contact me” session, and I wrote him an email, but I knew emails might sometimes take days to be opened by the person receiving them. So I decided to contact him by Instagram, to which he replied within 2 days, saying he would gladly work with me.

Where & what

The first day we met was on March 31st, 2021. This meeting took place through a video call because Mr. Rozier was not in Miami at the moment. On that first meeting, we met each other. He told me that as of right now he needed someone to criticize his ideas on the new clothing line and give him ideas for new projects. He told me that he would like to keep focusing on making art, however, he would like to expand his business to a clothing branch. His current audience focuses on teens, adults. He would like to expand his business to an older audience. After some talk and analysis, we got to the conclusion that to reach out to this group, he would need to include fewer designs in his clothing line. Like we both said, “sometimes less is more”. Keeping it simple could reach out to this group.

First text message

During this meeting, he sent me some pictures of the idea he had for the hats. We both decided to change the Velcro material in the back of the hats for metallic ones. Also, for his new collection, we came up with the idea to branch out to different materials and objects like bracelets or/and keychains.

Our second meeting took place on April 14, 2021 at Coral Reef Park. Here we discussed ideas for the upcoming seasons as well as some ideas for special holidays.

Notes taken by Daniela Canizares during second meeting

During this meeting, he gave me a keychain that he will be sending away on the packages as “goodies”.

Keychain with Zion Rozier’s logo


Working with Zion Rozier was a fantastic experience. It worked that we lived relatively close to each other, so placing a meeting place and time was not a big issue. It did not work that with COVID being in a place he is not having any expositions as of the moment, which is what I would have liked working with him. Instead, he is focusing on expanding his brand to a clothing line.


Total Hours: 3.5h

Historic Homestead Town Hall Museum


Historic Homestead Town Hall Museum is the original Town Hall for the city of Homestead. Built in 1917, right now it functions as a museum for the public.


I have always been interested in Museums and history, and it catches my attention even more if it deals with local history. This is at large, one of the main reasons I decided to contact this museum. It does not relate to my major, but it is a big interest of mine.


I connected with this opportunity through Volunteer Match. I have a subscription to the website, I saw the opportunity and I emailed them right away.

Where & what

After a week of applying for the volunteer position, on April 3rd, 2021, Ms. Katherine Fleming reached out to me. She told me that as of the moment and because they were a small museum, they were doing all the volunteering online and that the only opportunities available were transcribing old documents. I had previously taken some cursive writing courses, so I had the requirements and I decided to take the opportunity. The next day, she sent me a copy of old documents for me to transcribe. It was really fun, at least for me, to get to know more about the way they used to live in 1917, and the way clubs and associations used to work. This set of documents related to giving members positions in the club and about a wedding coming up.

First set of documents

On April 10th, Ms. Fleming reached out to me with a different set of documents. This time, the sets related to financial activities and the dispute of Liberty City. This document was more difficult to read, especially when it was getting to the end of it. It seemed like since the meeting took place outside the regular settings, the person writing it was not comfortable when writing.

Second set of documents.


In general, I liked working with this Museum a lot. It worked that the opportunity was online. It did not work that this was the only available position. I would have liked to have the opportunity of going in person.


Total Hours: 7h

Total Project Hours: 10.5h


“Artist.” Zion Rozier, http://www.zionrozier.com/.

Historic Homestead Town Hall Museum, townhallmuseum.org/.

Daniela Canizares: Eddie Arroyo 2021

Artist quote

“My prescription has always been “are other people comfortable with what I have to say?”  

Eddie Arroyo, March 2021
Student Biography

Daniela Canizares is a Sophomore at Florida International University, majoring in Psychology. She was born in Cuba but moved to Miami when she was 15 years old. After graduating, she is planning on becoming a School Counselor.

Artist Biography
Eddie Arroyo. Images by the New York Academy of Arts

Eddie Arroyo was born and raised in Miami, Florida. He graduated from Florida International University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting in 2001.     

Even though he was living in Miami, this did not influence his choice of FIU as his university. “It was my only option back then; I was not thinking that far ahead”, Arroyo says when asked about the influence living in Miami had over him picking FIU over any other university. Back in 1995 when Mr. Arroyo started attending FIU, the school was mainly a business school. At first, he was a business major. It was not until after taking an art class with professor John Bailly that he decided to focus on painting. Besides professor Bailly, he also mentions professor Edward Hopper as a key figure in his decision to become a painter. He says professors Bailly and Cooper were his biggest inspirations when deciding to switch majors.    

Personal Identity

When asked if all the manifestations going on in the world right now regarding gender have had any influence on his work at the moment, Arroyo says that when one paints, there is an emotional component to it. He is very much interested in bringing this component out when reflecting this. Regarding his opinions as to nowadays issues, he finds it interesting, even refreshing. He says that when he was going into the art community in the early 2000s-2010s, the society was in the middle of the color-blind moment, where money, class or race was not an issue. He finds it refreshing because back then, he was feeling the tension whenever people had an opinion on what he was doing and saying at the moment. It was not always the case that art was related to political issues. He feels like his artwork is not political itself. More like in the world we are in right now, it is trendy to politicize everything surrounding us. He says that when talking about his work, he finds himself at a very strange place because everybody is interested in the political meaning behind it. He is not used to talking about his artwork in those terms. However, he says he has no problem talking about politics, he is just strange about it.    

June 6, 2020, 186 NE 39th St., Miami, FL 33137, Versace, 2020. Images by Eddie Arroyo and the Spinello Project
Cultural Identity

When asked how important was the cultural identity for him, Mr. Arroyo says that when creating art, he does not find himself within the “cultural identity” terms. He sees it more as the place he finds himself at at a given moment. He sees it as the context you as a person find yourself in. For example, if you were to live in Paris, you will have your own identity based on experiences. What you have learned will change who you are as a person. He is aware of this phenomenon and term. However, before talking about it, he would like to understand his place on it. This does have an impact on his job. However, the greatest impact is not only on where he is, but the moment as well, and what needs to be done at a particular time.   

May 17th, 2019, 7:19 PM, 2019. Images by Eddie Arroyo and The New York Academy of Arts
Subject of Artwork

When Eddie Arroyo is creating art, he says he feels identified with a particular moment more than anything. The country and region are already portrayed on the canvas, but the moment itself is what he is interested in: what caused that “moment”, and the steps it took to lead that decision, which is what he likes to talk about concerning work.   

He bases his artwork around the process of gentrification. As he explains it himself, gentrification is a process where wealthier people take over neighborhoods where mainly people of low income live at. He likes to portray this as it is the cruel reality we are living in, not only in Miami but in the whole world. It is a controversial topic, but he feels like it needs to be talked about. It exists. It is happening. It should not be ignored. This problem leads to the many homeless we see in the streets. It has been existing, but now it is the moment to take action over it.

When asked why he does not tend to use bright colors for his work, Arroyo says that he likes to use neutral hues to give an idea of the quiet, thoughtful moment that he is trying to depict. He likes to point out that now and then he will have a piece of work that is brighter than others, but there is always a grey-ish tone to them. He explains he does this to give people a more meditated piece of art. It is always done in a position where he hopes to give his audience a meditated work and based on his experiences, he feels like painting has always been a very meditated process.

8395 NE 2nd Ave., Miami, FL 33138 (Lombardi Properties). Images by Eddie Arroyo and The Spinello Project
Exhibition and Project History

Besides his past jobs at the Whitney Museum of Art, in New York, and the Spinello Project, in Miami, recently he had an exhibition where two paintings were at the New York Academy of Arts. The paintings shown came from an exhibition he already had on the Spinello last year, called “Safe Space” in response to the George Floyd movement. Most of it was centered in Miami and the demonstrations happening around his neighborhood at the Design District. He explains that he went down there after the riots, and started creating a series of paintings based on the pictures he took of the place. When he was asked to exhibit at the New York Academy of Arts, he was still in contact with someone active in organizations he met through the Whitney Museum of Arts. He says he was not sure about showing that kind of job in a museum because of how controversial it could have been, but he is glad the museum accepted it and he is glad about where is at right now.  

He briefly mentions that pretty much everything that is going on in the world right now (political-wise), happened after George Floyd. He says that right now in the art world, there is that sensitivity to race, class, and, culture. His point of view on it is that it has been discussed before. However, right now, it is a whole new conversation, “it is being trendy”. He says that he is interested to see how these movements are going to transcend, economically speaking, for everybody, and how is the world going to work after it. He is very skeptical about the topic in general.  

June 5, 2020, North Miami Avenue and NE 38th Street, 2020. Images by Eddie Arroyo & the Spinello Projects

Something that surprised me about Eddie, is that he says he used to be ignored for making people feel uncomfortable with what he had to say. “Once you start making people feel uncomfortable, they tend to walk away”, Eddie says.  He explains: “As a society, and whatever background you are talking about, socially, we are not conditioned to talk about controversial topics, which makes it very complex for artists”. However, he strongly suggests these “emotional labels” should be left aside and talk about them.  

When asked about what he would consider his most important experience, without a single doubt he says that it would be being invited to the Whitney Museum of Arts. He thought it was going to be another group exhibition, even though in his head he knew it was not going to be like that: it was New York, the Whitney is one of the most important events. However, he was trying not to stress that much over it.    

Student Perspective

Being able to have this interview with Eddie Arroyo was a great experience. I contacted him through Instagram and despite all the inconveniences with COVID, he was more than willing to have an interview with me through Zoom, especially after I mentioned I was a student from Florida International University. Seeing how fellow graduates help each other once they get out of college makes me see that we are a big family. He was pretty helpful and patient, since the audio in my computer kept going on and off. After we finished the interview, he sent me links regarding what was going on in the world right now, as I showed enthusiasm when he was giving me his point of view on these topics.  

Having to research before interviewing him, taught me different terms I had never heard before. For example, his main technique, gentrification, was a world I did not know about. Even though I had researched before, he was more than welcome to explain it to me in a way where I could better understand it, and not just read it off the google search bar.   

While researching before the interview, I got to see his paintings for the first time, and right after the interview, I took a look at them again. The colors, the textures, the painting as a whole, tells a story of the pain the community is going through. Something I specifically liked about his art, was that he does not discriminate when he is showing these movements. In some of them, he even shows the Latino community, and has some signs in Spanish. For me, it was great to see this group being portrayed.   

Through Arroyo’s art, the audience can sense so many of the political and social issues going on in the United States nowadays. However, he tries to turn the views towards what is going on in Miami. Something I found curious while interviewing him is how different he is from others artists. Instead of going to the place to paint at the moment, he rather takes pictures and later puts his thoughts and visions on a canvas.  

I had never interviewed anybody, and having the pleasure to interview Mr. Arroyo was a unique opportunity. I learned a lot about why he uses neutral hues. It is all about the artist’s perspective, but once it gets to the public, it is open to their imagination. However, that much “openness” surprised me a lot. When he said he was happy movements like the ones going on around the world are happening, I was shocked. It might be tough times for people right now, but for artists, it is the perfect moment to expand their collection. They can show so many emotions throughout a painting.   

This interview was mostly educational; however, it opened my eyes to a completely new perspective. Having to spend most of my college experience online, has not given me enough opportunities to reach out to others, especially, other people outside my major. I love learning about the history of a community and since I am not from Miami, being able to see this community from another person’s point of view is always a magnificent opportunity. Having the pleasure to interview him, made me eager about learning what is going on in the world right now, and what can we do to call for action. Even the minimal act can make a big impact. A painting, for example, can reach out to others and show them what needs to be done. It is a call for action.   

It was great to see people who went to the same school as I am going to right now, be successful and follow their dreams. It makes me think that as long as you have the strength to follow your passion, you can do it. The key is to never give up. 

Interview with Eddie Arroyo by Daniela Canizares through Zoom.

“Eddie Arroyo.” Eddie Arroyo – 85 Artworks, Bio & Shows on Artsy, http://www.artsy.net/artist/eddie-arroyo.

New York Academy of Art, “Eddie Arroyo Artist Talk.” New York Academy of Art, 19 Nov. 2019, nyaa.edu/eddie-arroyo-artist-talk.

“Spinello.” Spinelloprojects.com, spinelloprojects.com/artist/eddie-arroyo/.


Daniela Canizares: ASC See Miami Fall 2020

Deering Estate


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Daniela Canizares, Downtown Miami, February 2019. Picture taken by Isabella Martinez (CC by 4.0)

My name is Daniela Canizares. I am an Honor College student at Florida International University. This is my second year at this university and the first one at the Honors College. I was born in Cuba and came to Miami when I was 15 years old. I have lived in Miami ever since.     


The Deering Estate is located at Palmetto Bay at 16701 SW 72nd Ave, Miami, FL 33157. One of the main objectives of the Deering Estate is to preserve nature and its surroundings. They have a specialized team in charge of removing species that were not endemic to the place. They go into the forest at the property and take off the species that were not there from the beginning to try to preserve the place as it was from its beginnings a couple of years ago. This place is located near the bay, which contributes to the protection of species such as manatees. Its location is unique, and so is the flow of its waters.     

View from the Deering Estate. Images taken by Daniela Canizares (CC by 4.0)


The history of this place is also unique and appealing to the ear of the visitors. It dates back to the XX century when Miami was just at its beginning. Before Mr. Charles Deering bought the place, it was populated by Afro Bahamians and Afro Americans, who were the ones helping to build the place from scratch later on. This process happened through segregation times in America and the pictures documenting this showed the terrible conditions to which the Afro Bahamians and Afro Americans were put through.      

Mosaics in the ceiling. Images by Daniela Canizares (CC by 4.0)

This institution has two main residences: The Stone House and The Richmond Cottage. Mr. Deering first bought The Richmond Cottage and then started building on The Stone House. The Stone House served as Mr. And Mrs. Deering’s main residence. Its walls thickness is between 14 to 16 inches each. This structure makes the Stone House a safe place. The rooms at the Stone House are built in such a way that in case one of the rooms in the house ever catches fire, they could close the doors and contain the fire on it, making the rest of the house safe and keeping the house’s value. Something that catches the attention of the visitants are the engravings outside the house. These engravings symbolize everything the Afro Americans and Afro Bahamians saw when they were constructing the house. The figures range from seahorses to endemic plants and flowers, such as palm trees. The ceiling on the outside has a mosaic made up of everything they could find around the house. It has shells, algae, and rocks from around the house. If someone has the opportunity of getting on the rooftop, they would experience something unique about The Stone House. On the rooftop, you can see tiles with specific engravings. These engravings were unique to each worker as a way to prove their work and get paid for it. In the house architecture we see a mix of old-world art, especially Islamic art, and modern techniques, creating a unique mix, which at the time was seemed like something crazy and completely out of context, but nowadays is part of the uniqueness Miami has to bring to its people.     

On the other side, connected by a hallway with no walls, we find The Richmond Cottage. The Richmond Cottage was first used as an inn and then as a winter house. This house is considered one of the oldest wooden houses in Miami Dade County, even though after the pass of Hurricane Andrew it had to go under reconstruction. After this tragic moment, constructors tried to keep it as similar to the original one as possible. Once you get inside The Richmond Cottage, there is a contrast between what you knew and what you had read from books. The rooms at The Richmond Cottage are smaller than a room people will usually see at an inn nowadays. The dimensions are incredibly different from what people are used to seeing in Miami. On the other hand, the kitchen is relatively large compared to the rest of the place. As of right now, it is decorated to simulate the time it was constructed (XX Century). It has some decorative food and mannequins with dresses like the ones the maids used to use back in those days.     

The Richmond Cottage, 2020. Images by Daniela Canizares (CC by 4.0)

If you walk a couple of miles away from the houses, you will find yourself walking through the Chinese bridge. Mr. Deering had a love for Chinese culture, and he wanted to have a little of it in his property, the reason why between all the other cultures, we suddenly see a part of Asia mixed in as well. The natural reserve on the property is preserved in its original condition as it was years ago when Mr. Deering purchased the property.    


The mission of The Deering Estate is to preserve a part of Miami that people do not see daily, neither know of it. It supports education and research through the funds they raise as an institution. They try to keep the history of the place alive as well as protecting the species natural from this unique ecosystem.    


Deering Estate is accessible to everybody who wants to learn about the untold story of an important part of Miami.  

  • Open every day (except for Christmas and Thanksgiving) 
  • Open from 10 AM to 5 PM (no admissions after 4 PM). 
  •  General admission tickets for adults (15 years old and up) – $15 
  • General admission tickets for youth (4-14 years old) – $7 
  • General admission tickets for children (3 years old and under) – free 
  • General admission tickets for seniors (65 years old and up), active-duty military, and honorably discharged veterans – $2.00 off on Tuesdays 

By becoming a Deering Estate Foundation Member, people get in for free, and a university student membership costs $15 a year.    


Relating to the Arts and the rising artists, Deering Estate provides Artists-in-Residence programs where artists can go and work on their pieces. They also offer historic exhibitions as well as concerts. In the list of the Artists-in-Residence, we find Professor John W. Bailly, Alfredo Brito, Amalia Caputo, among other recognized artists.   


In the current exhibitions hosted by the Deering Estate, we find “Exhibit” by Rosemarie Chiarlone. This exhibition is going to be hosted from October 26, 2020, to January 31, 2021. The price for non-members can range from $7-15. This exhibition is about the environment and what people can do to preserve their surroundings.

“Exhibit” by Rosemarie Chiarlone. Images property of the Deering Estate

Another Exhibition taking place at the Deering Estate is “Spring Contemporary”. This exhibition will be open from October 29th to December 21st, 2020. This exhibition features multiple artists throughout the exhibition.

“Spring Contemporary”. Images property of the Deering Estate

Another interesting exhibition taking place at the Deering Estate is the “Historic Holiday Décor: Vintage Florida”. This event will be taking place from November 27th to January 8th, 2021. The price for the entrance ranges from $7-$15. During this event visitors can walk through the Deering Estate while it is decorated to have an idea of how it used to be back in the days when it was Mr and Mrs Deering’s residence.

“Historic Holiday Decor: Vinatge Florida” Images property of the Deering Estate


Deering Estate has also a long list of special and recurrent programs. One of these programs is Wildlife Conservation. This program is for students from ages 9 to 14. The price for this class is $45. The purpose of this program is to educate the students about the ecosystem and biology of the surroundings. Eco Academy is another program happening at Deering Estate. It costs $15 and happens every first Wednesday of every month. It is mainly directed at children from ages 5 to 8 and their parents. Classes will also explore the wildlife and educate them about the ecosystem around Deering Estate. Photography is an important event at Deering Estate. It offers two different programs: Sunrise Photography and Nature Photography. The cost for Sunrise Photography is $20 and includes admission on regular hours during that day. The cost for Nature Photography is $25 and it includes a naturalist that will guide the people around the Estate and teach them ecological techniques and the environment around them. This program is only accepting people of ages 9 and up.  


Interview with Daniela Medina, a student at Miami-Dade College  

Is this your first time visiting the Deering Estate?  

Yes. Even though I live nearby and knew about it, I had never actually been here before.  

Before entering, did you have an idea of how the place was going to be?  

Yes, kind of. Even though I have never been personally inside, I had seen it in wedding pictures on Instagram.   

What was the main thing calling your attention from the Deering Estate?  

How different it was from the rest of Miami. You don’t expect to see this type of architecture so near your typical Miamian house. The view the houses have to the Bay is something I would love to wake up to every day.  

Was there something you did not like about it?  

I actually felt like the admission tickets are a little overpriced for what the place actually is, especially right now that we are in COVID times and there are is not as much activity as they used to promote on their Instagram before COVID.  

Would you think of coming back?  

Yes and no  

Do you mind elaborating on your previous answer?  

Yes, I would love to come back, especially right now that we have nice weather in Miami and the place seems like a great getaway for a picnic or to take some shots to post on social media. But at the same time, no. I do not feel like the price makes justice as of right now. Maybe in the future when things completely open again I would consider changing my mind about it.  


Interview with Jennifer Quintero, a worker at Deering Estate

When and how did you hear about the opportunity for working here?

I heard about the position at Deering around May. I didn’t know it was for Deering, just that it was an education position on the county website. I really needed a job since my job on campus was on hold for the summer. I didn’t get a call until like July, since the government takes a long time to process that stuff.

Did you ever see yourself working at Deering Estate?

I never saw myself working at Deering because I didn’t even know it existed. It’s honestly the biggest blessing I’ve ever received as it’s directly in my major and field.

What’s the best and the worst part of it?

The best part of working there has definitely been the amount of knowledge I’ve gained about what it means to be in the environmental sector as an educator. It’s more unconventional forms of teaching, but I honestly think they’re the most effective. Kids remember visiting the Deering Estate long after they’re gone. You get to see them learn and develop a love for the environment. The worst part is the mosquitos haha

How has covid affected (good or bad) Deering estate?

Covid has definitely affected Deering, since schools are remote, lots of our programming has been reduced. We’ve adapted really well though, in my opinion, we’re providing new and innovative ways to have virtual field trips. I’m honestly impressed with my teams ability to remain creative during this pandemic, I hope to learn more from all of them.


Usually when people hear about Miami think of this multicultural place where everyone seems to know the history of their city. However, going and visiting the Deering Estate could not prove me more wrong about this. There are parts of history that are in front of our eyes, but we barely see them.

One of the best things I take with me out of this experience at Deering Estate is the people working there. They make the trip such a nice experience. If you have any questions, you can always turn to one of them and they will most likely give you an answer to it, or look for someone who has the answer in the best way possible.

Something that did not work was Miami’s weather. Miami’s tropical weather attracts many insects and Deering Estate is a habitat for many of them. I am not an insect person and just having them around me, made me focus on the insects instead of the beauty of the nature around me.

Overall it was a great experience and made me learn more about my adoptive city. It is definitely a recommended experience.


“Miami Art Exhibits: Miami Art Events at Deering Estate.” Deering Estate, deeringestate.org/events/category/miami-art-exhibits/.

“Plan Your Visit.” Deering Estate, 9 Dec. 2020, deeringestate.org/plan-your-visit/.

Daniela Canizares: Miami Service 2020

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Daniela Canizares, Downtown Miami, February 2019. Picture taken by Isabella Martinez (CC by 4.0)

Student Bio:  

My name is Daniela Canizares. I am a second-year psychology student at Florida International University. I was born in Cuba but moved to Miami when I was 15 years old.   

Rising awareness through the arts: Artist Lauren Shapiro, Bakehouse Art Complex

A replica of a coral reef made out of clay. Images taken by Daniela Canizares (CC by 4.0)

When people talk or think about Wynwood, the first thing coming to their mind is Wynwood Walls. They never expect to spend the day at an art gallery. That was exactly what happened to me too. Never did I expect to come to Wynwood to an art gallery. Located right across a Middle School and surrounded by apartments, the Bakehouse is contrastingly hidden from the other galleries we would find at Wynwood. People passing by might think it is part of the apartments in the area. However, they do not know what an amazing gallery awaits them behind those doors. 

Lauren Shapiro, artist, next to the “walls” that would later be used to place the coral replicas. Images taken by Daniela Canizares (CC by 4.0)

As part of the artists in residence in the bakehouse, we find Lauren Shapiro. Ms. Shapiro graduated from the University of Miami with an MFA. Ms. Shapiro has been across the world with her love for nature and ceramics. These places include China and Brazil. Besides being an artist in residence at the Bakehouse Art Complex, she is also the head of the Ceramics Studio.   

Ms. Lauren Shapiro’s exposition consisted of creating a wake-up call on how the coral reefs are dying as part of human activity. Her idea was to make a coral barrier out of clay. With this idea, she wanted to raise awareness in the area by showing people from another perspective how close they are with the underwater nature. Everyone in the community was welcomed to go and mold the clay to, later on, place it on those walls. On October 29th, 2020, Ms. Lauren Shapiro was completing her exposition for the Bakehouse Art complex. On an experience with Ms. Shapiro as part of the Art Society Conflict Class, she informed us of an open opportunity to collaborate and help her as part of her exhibition.  

For this collection, Ms. Shapiro wanted the people collaborating to feel a deeper connection with the corals. Instead of her handing the people the coral replicas, she would put all of them on a plastic tray and let people pick the one calling their attention the most. By touching the textures, the corals would tell people a story. Ms. Shapiro wanted to see this mix of emotions and ideas on her final project. 

First placements of the clay replica. Images taken by Daniela Canizares (CC by 4.0)

I love arts and science, and this mix made me want to go back and help her. I already had experience working with her as part of my previous visit there, but usually, she would have given you a small background talk about the coral reefs, how they are dying, and what we can do to save them. She would have also taught you how to mold the clays. The project was supposed to start at 3:30 pm, but that day I got there at 4:00 pm. I had missed this initial process. When I got there, I hurried and signed up and gathered all the instruments I needed to help with the final touches. People were working with gloves, however, I wanted to feel the structure of the clay made coral reef, feel that connection between the texture and my hands. Last time I was there with my class I decided to add the color to the clay before starting to mold it. However, I realized it did not look as realistic as I would have wanted it to look. This time around, I decided to give it color by mixing the clay instead. I grabbed clay from different colors and started mixing them all. This technique looked more realistic than with my previous experience. Once the plastic tray was full of samples, it was time to fill out the gaps missing from previous collaborations. Using the “scratch and score” technique, everything was suddenly coming together. I started to see what Ms. Shapiro meant the first time we met. One person could have not made all that by itself. It was a group of minds together that put the artwork into one piece. Every coral had its authenticity. None were the same. It was something amusing.    

Final look of one of the “walls”. Images taken by Daniela Canizares (CC by 4.0)

Before volunteering in this project, I had some sort of reference about the environment dying. However, after being part of it, my eyes opened to a new perspective. Never did I expect coral reefs to be this important to the sustainability of the ecosystem, and actions taken by humans could be restricted to preserve our lives and theirs. What I liked the most was the style of the project. Collaborative projects always surprise me because you can only expect the results up to a certain extent, but it is usually something unexpected. Something that did not work out in my opinion, was experiencing first with color, just to find out it looked unrealistic once we already had a couple of clay replicas done. This collaborative project also made me get to know people from different backgrounds. It was amazing to see people coming from Down South to collaborate because they liked the idea of raising awareness for the corals. Usually, people see distance as an impediment, however, seeing these people there made me realize this problem is bigger than I thought. It was an eye-opening experience to how society is divided into two kinds of people: the ones that take action, and the ones who sit and wait to see what happens. 

Total Hours: 4 hours

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Source Cited:

Shapiro, Lauren. “CV/Contact.” Lauren Shapiro, laurenshapiroart.com/cv/contact.

Lil Abners’ Foundation

Lil Abners’ Foundation is a non-profit organization located in the city of Sweetwater, Miami. It mainly focuses on helping the kids from the community. The City of Sweetwater has a considerable number of low-income families and this organization focus on being an escape from the reality these kids have at home. They offer help with tutoring as well as dance, taekwondo, and archery classes.

Lil Abners’ Foundation (inside). Images taken by Daniela Canizares (CC by 4.0)

I chose to volunteer with this organization because it is something related to what I have been doing for most of my life and somehow relates to what I want to do in the future. I went to Lil Abner’s Foundation to help with their dance programs. In my Junior Year of High School, I decided to stop dancing to start focusing on my academics, and seeing this opportunity in front of my eyes was the perfect opportunity to go back to it. It does not relate directly to my major right now. however, in the future, I want to be a school psychologist, so working with kids would give me eyesight of what might be working with them in a school environment.

Lil Abners’ Foundation (outside). Images taken by Daniela Canizares (CC by 4.0)

I found out about this opportunity through the emails the Honors College sends to the students. When I saw it, I sent Mr. Paco Ruiz an email asking about the opportunity, He called me, and the week after I went to help with the kids. The first time I went was not as fun because parents were still skeptical about COVID and sending the kids back to the classes. We warmed up and did some acrobatics. To my surprise, the next time I went, there were more than six girls. It was a fun time that day. We warmed up, worked on some turning techniques, and worked on flexibility and acrobatics. We almost did not have time to go through all the programs because the leading teacher wanted to assist one by one and help them as much as possible. She thanked me for going that day because she did not expect that many girls either and she said she could have not gone by all that by herself that day.

Working on this project was special for me because it brought me close to my past but also gave me eyesight of how my future could be. Because of my experience the first time, I did not think of coming back. There were few kids and the class became boring at some point. However, I am happy I decided to go a second time. Seeing the kids learning new dance techniques reminded me of when I was their age.

Total Hours: hours

Art for the feet: artist Edelin Jaime

Edelin Jaime is an independent artist. She is from Cuba but is currently living in Miami. For her art work she takes inspiration in the smallest, most common things around her and turns it into art. That was the case for her work decorating shoes.

At the beginning of the month, I saw a picture of one of Ms. Jaime’s art work and immediately contacted her to help her. This time, Ms. Jaime took either white or black shoes and turned it into walking art. This opportunity did not relate to my major. However, when I saw it, it automatically caught my attention. It was not a regular art work at a studio. It was more like a broad idea and letting your imagination flow.

On December 5th 2020, we got together and worked on these shoes’ decoration. We met at a park nearby Cutler Bay. She brought three pairs of old, either white or black shoes with her, and then we started working on it. In two hours, we put our mind on it and walked out of that park not only having a masterpiece like no one else’s, but also having unique shoes.

An example of one of the shoes. Picture taken by Daniela Canizares (CC by 4.0)

Working with her was an experience like never before. When I thought about art, I always thought about painting in white canvas, never in white shoes. This opportunity opened my eyes to realize that art can be anywhere you look at.

Total Hours: 2 hours

Art Service Project Total Hours: 10 hours

Daniela Canizares: Miami as Text 2020-2021

Daniela Canizares, Locust Project, January 2021

Daniela is a Sophomore at Florida International University Honor College. She is majoring in Psychology. Daniela was born and raised in Havana, Cuba and she moved to Miami when she was 15 years old. Once she finishes with her Bachelor in Arts, Daniela is planning on pursuing a Masters in Science in Professional Counseling. Daniela is very passionate about the Spaniard influence in the American culture because for ten years she was a flamenco dancer but she stopped to focus on her academics.

Deering as a Text

Images taken by Daniela Canizares (CC by 4.0)

“Hidden Gem”

By Daniela Canizares of FIU at Deering Estate, September 9th, 2020.

Surrounded by 444 acres of land, we find Deering Estate, one of the only historical places conserved in its original estate ever since it was built. Even its location at Palmetto Bay in Miami makes it hard to believe that this place is one of the key components in the history of this city (taking into consideration that the heart of Miami itself is more towards the North of the City). Upon arrival at Deering Estate, visitors could feel the contrast between “old Miami” and the “new Miami”. The moment you cross the wooden gates, you get the sensation of going back in time to the XX century, when Miami was at its beginnings.

One of the most fascinating components of Deering Estate is its architecture. It has two residencies: The Stone House, which was used by Mr. and Mrs. Deering as the main residence, and The Richmond Cottage, which was first used as an inn and then as a winter house. The Stone House’s walls consist of walls in between 14-16 inches each one, which makes the structure safer due to its closeness to the Bay. Each one of the rooms of the Stone House is built in such a way that in case a fire starts in one of the rooms, it is possible to contain the fire on it, saving the rest of the house’s value. The exterior of The Stone House has engravings of each one of the things representatives of Miami back in the XX century. In those engravings, we see monkeys, pelicans, seahorses, and endemic flowers. On the ceiling of the exterior, we see a mosaic, made with rocks, algae, and shells that the Bahamians building the house would find along the way. On the roof of this house, we see tiles with specific and unique engravings, which workers used as a method of proof to get paid for their work. The house itself mixes Islamic art and modern techniques, which is an astonishing contrast, that makes us see that Miami itself is a mix of multiple cultures.

The Richmond Cottage right next to the Stone House is one of the oldest wooden houses in the whole Miami Dade County. After Andrew, it had to go under reconstruction, but the constructors tried to keep it as similar to the original one as possible. The Richmond Cottage interior design contrasts with the interior designs that we see in Miami nowadays. The rooms are contrastingly smaller than the regular room people are used to, and so are the bathrooms. However, the kitchen’s dimensions are relatively large if we compare the dimensions of the guest rooms and the dimensions of the kitchen. Coming into that room was like going way back in time and looking at a whole different idea, an idea most of us have only seen in Brazilian novelas.
A couple of miles away from the houses, we see a Chinese bridge. It was shocking to see all those cultures mixed, but at the same time it was an escape from the toxicity of the city and the traffic of Miami, as no motor vehicles can go past a certain point, and nature is preserved the same way as it was a century ago.

This visit was more than just a simple walking tour. It was like going back in time, escaping from the XXI century and all 2020 has brought to our lives and going back to the XX century. No motor vehicles, no Miamian traffic. Only history, walls talking by themselves, and an amazing nature ready to tell us all about the unknown, unspoken Miami history.

South Beach as a Text

Images taken by Daniela Canizares (CC by 4.0)

“A unique community”

By Daniela Canizares of FIU at South Beach, September 24, 2020

Miami is a place known for its mixed culture. Rising between the waters of the Atlantic Ocean and the Biscayne Bay, we find this unique place, originally known as Ocean Beach in its beginnings, and now having the name of Miami Beach. The aspect that makes Miami unique is its architecture, and how the community has been trying to conserve its architecture as it was originally built. For this purpose they have laws in place, making it impossible to change the infrastructure of the buildings.

Miami Beach is characterized by three main styles: Mediterranean Revival, Art Deco, and MiMo. Buildings are showing one or the other, however, there are also buildings having a mix two or even the three of them. From the moment you enter the streets, you start to see a very different landscape from the big buildings surrounding these streets.

Along the styles involving the Mediterranean Revival, we find Versace Mansion in Ocean Drive. This Mansion belonged to Gianni Versace, an Italian fashion designer who after seeing the people at Miami Beach and how freely they walked down the streets decided that was the place he wanted to live for the rest of his life. In his house’s exterior, we see the typical Versace’s logo and some conifer cone’s symbolizing fertility. This design is more European conservative than what we would usually find at Miami Beach.

Another of the styles found at Miami Beach is Art Deco. Their characteristics catch the attention of tourists that are not used to this style as well as residents. We find ziggurat rooflines, eyebrows, curved edges and corners, and elements of three as their main characteristics. They used to only have three storages because it was said that if a building had more than three storages, it would need an elevator, which will take both money to build and space. It was more of a futuristic look. The incorporation of Neon Lights made the streets of Miami Beach unique at that time.

MiMo style came after World War II. They were asymmetric and were characterized by mosaic murals. It was more of a characteristic owned by the own Miami. Its name says it “Mami Modern Architecture”
Even though most of the places along the streets of Miami Beach do not have the same purpose they had at its beginning, they keep the same structures. For example, what used to be a hotel once, nowadays might be a unique restaurant. Or what used to be apartments for retired people, now might be a hotel. However, they conserve their original structure like a city law.
For people coming from the outside, where the only thing they see on a daily base is big skyscrapers, coming to Miami Beach is a travel back in time to the 1950s. It is a unique experience where people get to learn the history and at the same time be a part of it.

Bakehouse as a Text

Images taken by Daniela Canizares (CC by 4.0)

“Bringing nature back to life using the arts”

By Daniela Canizares of FIU at Bakehouse, October 9th, 2020

Hidden behind the entrance of the now culturally known Wynwood, we find the Bakehouse Art Complex. Judging it by its exterior, tourists might even get to think it is just one more of the houses of the neighborhood – having into consideration it is right next to apartments, no so close to the known Wynwood walls, and right in front of a Middle School. However, passing behind those walls, we enter a new world, something we would not imagine seeing in this location. We enter the world of the arts. Or better said, where art is born. One of the artists we find in this magical place is Lauren Shapiro.

Lauren Shapiro combines the world of the arts with nature. Her latest project tries to make people open their eyes to what is happening to the Coral Reefs, and what they can do to help them survive. Her hands-on project allows people from all over the community to work on her art, and feel with their bare hands the texture of nature, which is later put together as a big design.
The novel virus COVID-19 makes it harder for this project to happen at a faster rate, however, by making a reservation, people can go to the Bakehouse Art Complex and be part of it.

Once you are about to start your session, Shapiro gives you a little insight about why she wanted to specifically work with the corals and just by listening to her you feel how passionate she is about the topic and how well learned she is about it as well, which makes you want to contribute even more to this cause. Then, she teaches you how to mold the clay and gives you instructions on how to choose the coral that tells you a story, the one that calls your attention, and then make a coral clay out of it. You could incorporate color to it, always under your perspective. Shapiro only gives you the instructions and then lets you put your point of view on this project. You could either work with gloves or without it, but the best experience would come out of feeling the art and becoming one with it.

After finishing this step, you proceed to place the corals on a bigger picture, a mural that contains all the other corals from the people collaborating.
If someone ever gets to have the opportunity of being part of this experience, it is a rewarding one. They would get to learn about nature, and be part of the eye-opening experience. It is a wake-up call brought to people through the arts.

Rubell Museum as a Text

Images taken by Daniela Canizares (CC by 4.0)

“The Unspoken Art”

By Daniela Canizares of FIU at Rubell Museum, October 25th, 2020

Making an astonishing impact for its location, we find the Rubell Museum surrounded by Pumbling companies and supermarkets -not the typical place someone would find a Museum of this prestige. This location makes this place unique. Judging it from the outside, visitors passing by might think they are in the wrong place because of its façade. However, once they cross the gates, they start feeling out of this world.

Inside the Museum there is the art that common Museums would not have on exposition. However, this is what makes the Rubell Museum one of its kind. The art on the hallways makes people have a conversation and discuss disagreements. An example is a work by the American artist Tschabalala Self, named “Milk Chocolate”. This painting shows a woman of color completely naked. Being a sensitive topic nowadays, a painting like this one would not be shown in any other exhibition. However, the Rubell family brings this piece into the eye of the visitor to provoke conversation between one another. This is not the typical museum where someone would go and be quiet during the whole visit. This is a museum to go to have conversations and see different points of views on different topics, that out of those walls would be seen as controversial.

Every room in the Museum tells a story on its own. Every artist in this Museum leaves its essence that visitors can catch the moment they enter their expositions. It is a story told by art. The conversation you would hear inside this Museum is not the usual conversation you would hear in any other Museum. This art makes you think, and deeply analyze the artist’s intentions behind it. Not the typical Museum but deserves the title it holds to one of the most important ones in the world nowadays.

Deering Hike as a Text

Images taken by Daniela Canizares (CC by 4.0)

“Untouched History”

By Daniela Canizares of FIU at Deering Estate, November 7th, 2020

Deering Estate is divided into two parts: the Historic buildings and a beautiful view of the bay where people go to take pictures, and the history told by nature itself.

Starting the journey in the middle of these two parts, we find the Miami Rock Ridge. This path is almost nonvisible right now due to the climate changes in Miami, which makes it harder to keep a natural historic place like this one, but there are still some traces of what one day used to link this part of Palmetto Bay/Cutler Bay with the rest of the Miamian coast. This path we can see it in multiple places but due to climate changes, it is impossible to see the whole ridge as it was years ago.

After walking for a while, there is a point where you encounter water. Here at this point, buried by nature, you can see pieces that Tequestas used to survive before Mr. Deering came to what we know nowadays as Deering Estate. Some of these pieces are sharp objects, which historians presume they used as a way to cut through the animals to get food and survive. There was also a trace of shells with holes on both sides, which is said they used to introduce sticks through it as another tool to get animal skin to cover themselves and even food.

Deeper in the walk, you will find yourself walking next to the Cutler Burial Mound Boardwalk. This is a burial for the Tequestas that once were living in this area. The history behind it is surreal, and people might think it is made up. The bones were found by a family that was walking nearby with its dog. The dog found the bones and then a group of archeologists came to study the ground, finding that this place had a history no one knew about. Besides this Burial place, there is also one of the oldest trees in South Florida rising right in the center of the Burial. Also, near this place, there is a vertical cave, with symbols so perfectly made that people are still trying to come up with an idea of how they did it and what objects they used for it, which adds more mystery to Deering Estate and attracts fans of supernatural events.

Getting deeper into the waters at Deering Estate, you will find something not a lot of people have the opportunity to experience. There is a stolen plane crashed in the middle of the water and trees. This plane was stolen to move drugs but once the people hijacking it lost control over it and crashed, they left the plane there and ran away from the scene.

Something really interesting about this part of Deering Estate is how well conservative everything looks like. There are pictures of when Mr. Deering bought the property for the first time, and if you compare those pictures to how the place looks like now, you will see only a minimal difference between the two of them.

This experience is recommended if you want to spend some time away from the world of cell phones since there is no service in this place. A day without having to worry about technology. Only you, nature, and the history behind every single thing you look at.

Downtown Miami as a Text

Images taken by Daniela Canizares (CC by 4.0)

“Diverse Miami”

By Daniela Canizares of FIU at Downtown Miami, November 25th, 2020

The history behind the now “new” Miami has people from all cultural and ethnic backgrounds coming together to make what we know nowadays as Downtown Miami.

Starting our journey at the Government Center, right outside we see a structure symbolizing how unique Miami is. To find out the meaning behind it, you have to pay close attention to it, since at a glance it could mean anything but an orange peeling. If you want to look at the perspective of the artist, you have to step back and look at it from a wider angle.

Just a few blocks away, at Lummus Park is where the history dates back in time. In here we find Fort Dallas, what used to be back in the XIX century a plantation slave quarters. Under Miami’s weather conditions, we can only imagine those slaves – who helped in the construction of Miami in its beginnings- living under terrible conditions due to mosquitoes and the high temperatures. This place has served diverse purposes. A short time after, it also served as a refugee for the Seminole War. After that, it served as a post office, trading post, and even a courthouse. Now it is a historic place, but due to COVID regulations, it is closed to the public.

Standing right outside of the Courthouse, we find a statue of Henry Morrison Flagler. He was a key factor in the development of Miami, however, he was also a key factor in the segregation Miami suffered for years. Having him outside of the Courthouse is a contradiction. Yes, he should be there, however, there should be a brief background on him for it to be fair. Just having him standing outside the Courthouse does not seem fair for all the lives that were taken away.
A curious note about Miami is the location of its zero-point: the intersection between Flagler St and Miami Ave. There is more towards one side than towards the other, which makes Miami’s zero points uneven in its distribution of the City.

Miami River, which used to be a key factor in the life of the Tequestas, is now extremely polluted. Authorities recommend not eating anything coming from that river anymore. It is sad to see how humans themselves are destroying a part of history and the food chain.

Miami is one of the most diverse places in the United States. Going one day without having a Cuban cafecito seems like a crazy thing to do. We give credit to food when it comes to manifesting the gratitude we feel about being diverse. However, we never feel the enthusiasm to learn about the history behind the real diversity of Miami.

Everglades as a Text

Images taken by Daniela Canizares (CC by 4.0)

“A wet welcome back”

By Daniela Canizares of FIU at Everglades, January 14th, 2021

As the new year 2021 came to a start, so did the semester and the exploring of, at least for me, new places in my adoptive city. To welcome the new semester back, we started by going to one of the southern places in Miami: The Everglades.

The Everglades is known to be a “swamp” by the people in Miami. Yearly, the Everglades welcome more people from outside Miami, and even outside the country, than people currently living at a remarkably near distance. We had the privilege of being the first educational group having a tour after the shutdown due to COVID 19.

As you get to the main entrance, it seems like a regular park from an outsider’s point of view. To get into the real beauty of the Everglades, there is a drive of around 10 to 15 minutes. However, at the start this drive, there is a gate that charges you a fee to pass beyond that point. Beyond that gate, there is no phone service. If you are looking for a day without using your phone for other purposes rather than taking pictures of your surroundings, the Everglades is the perfect place to go to.

We as a class had the amazing opportunity to be accompanied by Ranger Dylan, who took us in the water with her and showed us the trees growing in there. I had never seen a woodpecker in real life, and by getting in the water I saw him, flying right on top of me. If you stay quiet, you start seeing a lot of animals coming your way, as they think you are not invasive or dangerous. We had the opportunity of seeing mosquito fishes. I did not know that was a real thing until that very moment. Besides all these great things and new learnings, this moment was not my favorite one. I was worried about getting lost or drowning, as I do not know how to swim. The water was clear crystal up to a certain extent, but we could not see what we were stepping on.

On the other side, my favorite moment was walking on a bridge and seeing all the nature surrounding me. I saw an alligator at a close range for the first time -who we collectively as a class named “Jeff the Alligator”. However, the highlight of the day was Jennifer and her love for Biology. Her being a walking Biological Encyclopedia was the most entertaining part of the day, besides changing our wet clothes to dry ones. We proposed a challenge as she was so enthusiastic about her animals and ecosystem: for every animal she would call “beautiful” we would do a squat. We got out of the Everglades more tired because of this than because of the actual walk.

In general, it was a great experience to be able to see each other again and share a good quality time. The Everglades is a good place to go to if you go as a group, but in my opinion, going by yourself can be a bit boring, unless you are a photographer or nature lover.

Margulies as a Text

Images taken by Daniela Canizares (CC by 4.0)

“Art for your perspective”

By Daniela Canizares of FIU at Margulies Warehouse, January 27th, 2021

Right next to I-95 we find this “warehouse”. More than a Warehouse, I see the Margulies Warehouse as an Art Gallery. Mr. Margulies has no background in art, however, his collection is one of the most important ones in Miami.

This art gallery being a private one, is not censored to talk about specific topics. Out of all the great works of art we can find here, the ones I liked the most were the relating to the self. Seeing the headless figures gave me chills. However, the story behind it was rather understandable. This work of art is based on an idea of the Holocaust. To me, it symbolizes how people were no longer thinking by themselves. they were just lifeless objects, all acting the same. Once you take off the head of a person, it loses its uniqueness, its ideas. It becomes a walking “thing”.

The other sculpture I liked about the collection was the men standing in line waiting to get inside what seems to be a store. This sculpture has the same idea as the headless figures. They seem like they took the life out of their body. Even when they are standing right behind each other, they are not talking or making any effort to communicate with each other. Even though this sculpture has their heads on, they give the same idea. an interesting aspect of it is that their heads have the same color as the American Dollar.

My favorite one, however, was the spice bags. Since we had our masks on, smelling them was what I would call a mission. But every single bag had a different smell. It made me remember my grandma’s kitchen.
Going to this gallery is not something I would have usually done by myself in the past. Now that I know of it, and that students have free entrance, I feel like this will be my weekend getaway.

Bill Baggs as a Text

Images taken by Daniela Canizares (CC by 4.0)

“El Farito (Cape Florida Light House)”

By Daniela Canizares of FIU at Cape Florida Light House, February 11th, 2021

Known by many as “El Farito”, Cape Florida Light House stands out at the end of Key Biscayne not only because of how tall it stands (95 feet tall) but because of its history and meaning for the people living at Key Biscayne.

To access this special and beautiful place, there is an $8 fee at the entrance. After paying that fee, you have a combination of both: a historic place and a beautiful, quiet, and clean beach for your entertainment.

Closer to the water, we can see a similar replica of what used to be the light house’s keeper cottage. It used to be closer to the water, but it had to be moved due to the impact the saltwater had on it. As of right now, both the lighthouse and the cottage are closed to the public due to CDC regulations.
behind the cottage, rests a boat that was used as a scape to the Bahamas. nowadays, lizards and wildlife use it as their new home.

The place as a whole is kept clean and the vibes the people in there give off are one of the purest ones. The staff is pretty helpful and from the moment you step inside those gates everyone welcomes you with the biggest smile.

The cons of this place are that there are only two places to eat at. other than these two, you will have to go outside to look for food. The food inside is also expensive. Other than these two cons, I found this place as the perfect getaway from the noisy Miami.

Everglades as a Text

Images taken by Daniela Canizares (CC by 4.0)

“This time for the History”

By Daniela Canizares of FIU at Everglades, February 25th, 2021

Even after said I was not planning on coming back to the Everglades, where I found myself again, but this time for the history. More than a swamp and a place full of wildlife, the Everglades holds a history mostly unknown to the people living so close to it. This puts us miamians so close but so far away from a place within miles from us.

The two solutions holes we find here are fascinating. Just to see how nature gets in charge of changing the constitution of the floor and makes it the way we see it today, is a unique experience. The experience of being able to photograph these two holes on February 25th, 2021 was one of a kind. The next time we happen to go here, these 7 feet deep solution holes are going to be completely different.

A little farther away we find, what I would say the most fascinating part of this trip. The Nike missile site was the greatest part of the day for me. Being born in Cuba I had only heard one side of the story. Coming here to this place and seeing the other side of the story was amazing. The Nike missile (now without the atomic component) was kept in perfect conditions as well as advertisements and signs from the Cold War. They even had a diary for you to sign and stamp to leave your historic mark on history.

I said not to go back to the Everglades, however, to see this part of the History we are only told in school but never get the chance to personally visualize it, I would definitely go back. The getting wet part is not exciting, but the travel through history is worth it.

Frost Museum as a Text

Images taken by Daniela Canizares (CC by 4.0)

“Controversial Art”

By Daniela Canizares of FIU at Frost Museum, March 10, 2021

Even though it might sound crazy, the own FIU student is sometimes unaware of the resources they have for free on campus. One of these is the Frost Museum of Art. It has collections that would lead to conversations and differences of opinions, as it is the exposition on the third floor “Accumulate Classify Preserve Display”

Starting, it has a big contrast between the exposition we find on the second floor, which is mainly nature-based and labeled. This exposition has no labels, which leaves it open for the visitor’s imagination. The first room is filled with pictures of faces and a big mirror, which positions you within the arts. The faces are supposed to be there to never die. When an artist portrays a human feature, it is meant for it to stay forever, for you to look back at it and check how time has never passed, it has stayed the same. However, with the mirror at the center of the collection, you can see yourself changing with the pass of time.

The second room holds a bigger controversy since it mixes religious and ethnic aspects. The Cabinet of Curiosities in the room holds a bunch of random objects, which some people might find appealing to their religion. To me, the two objects at the top kind of related to the Yoruba Religion I am familiar with. The neon green color the cabinet reflexes contrasts with the objects inside which are of a less colorful green hue. The masks on the wall were what caused the most controversy between the people in the room. Some of them saw these masks as a simple work of art, unifying different cultures, however, others saw them as dehumanizing the culture behind it. This was mostly because the artwork did not have a label, which led us to think differently based on our backgrounds. On the floor of the room, we find different religious figures standing together. The artist’s intention might have been to unify the religions or to differentiate between the importance he gave to each one (since it was organized by height). This we will never know.

In the third room, there were four pieces of art by Purvis Young. They had angelical figures in all of them (because of the halos around their heads). Out of the four, the one that caught my attention the most was the one that seemed like people were carrying a person, who at the same time was carrying an imperfect city. There were “blood tears” on the painting and an angelical figure. This led to different interpretations, interpretations we will never know if they were right or wrong. The most interesting part of Young’s artwork is how he uses part of his bed and everyday objects to paint on them because of his socio-economic situation.

This visit to Frost Museum opened my eyes a lot. I am usually the shy type of person. However, seeing these works of art made me raise my voice and speak what I had in my mind. Controversy can make you get off your comfort zone.

Coral Gables as a Text

Images taken by Daniela Canizares (CC by 4.0)

“Rocky Roof”

By Daniela Canizares of FIU at Coral Gables Museum, March 24, 2021

The city of Coral Gables: the city of “rocky roofs”. Even its name is something that would throw you off once you find its meaning. “Coral” comes from the rocks found in the city, “Gables” comes from the way the roofs were built. Something so beautiful but so simple at the same time.

A visit to the Museum of Coral Gables will give you an insight into how the city found by George Merrick, who once lived off selling guavas, had its beginnings.

“A party city based on European style”. That was the idea the Dream Team had when founding Coral Gables. It was supposed to be a dream city where people coming from outside would find everything they needed. Even for residents, they had everything they needed inside their city. There was no need for them to go to Coconut Grove anymore.

As the city was founded in 1926, the Roaring 20s had a big influence on the development and growth of the city. The Dream Theater was one of the city’s main attractions. It would have been amazing if the city would have kept the theater running on its original function and not change it to open a Bank of America instead. In my opinion, sometimes the growth of a city might increase its economic value, however, decreases its cultural value.

The Museum of Coral Gables’ first function was to be a fire station. There are still some of its originals structures in the building. For example, on the outside the columns represent firemen, even the boots are there! The story is, there is a ghost going around the museum at night.

It is incredible how sometimes residents like us, focus on visiting places outside Miami when there is so much to learn and visit in our city. A visit to the Museum of Coral Gables should be a must on everyone’s list.

Vizcaya as a Text

images taken by Daniela Canizares (CC by 4.0)

“To have money in Coral Gables”

By Daniela Canizares of FIU at Vizcaya Museum, April 7th, 2021

Without a doubt, Vizcaya Museum is one of the most liked places for visitors and residents in Miami. It was also like that back in the early 1900s, when Coral Gables was just at its beginnings.

The owner and co-designer, James Deering was the wealthiest person in Miami at the time. Inspired by Mediterranean Revival styles, he decided to buy and build his villa up north of his brothers’ Charles. Having personally visited Charles’ property (Deering Estate), in my opinion, out of the two, I prefer Vizcaya Villa (James’ property). Merrick took inspiration out of Vizcaya to later build Coral Gables under the same Mediterranean Revival style.

Opposite to his brothers’ house, James collected things just because he liked them. For example outside the entrance of his house, we find an arch. Arches usually represent victories. James never won a dispute, he simply put it in his house because he liked it, despite the comments saying otherwise. Just like that we find a vast number of objects around the house. Those objects nowadays would have been tagged as “controversial” if someone were to have them in their houses. An example of it is the statue of “the messenger” next to the phone boot.

The way the house and the gardens were made shows James Deering had a lot of money and that he was full of himself. If he liked something, he would simply buy it and put it at his house. He was pretty proud of doing this to show his guests he had the means to do it. The “sinking boat” at the entrance of his property (by water), was one of those things that nowadays would be considered unnecessary. However, it is like magic to see it standing there. The details, the way it was done, it just goes together by hand.

I had always been interested in going to Vizcaya but never had the opportunity to do it. After this visit, I can say it was definitely worth it. However, I would have liked to be able to visit the second floor. If someone is planning on learning about the history of Coral Gables, visiting Vizcaya Museum and Gardens should be on their list.

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