Lorena Cuenca: Who Art Miami Spring 2021

Brookhart Jonquil: “Seeing the invisible.”


Lorena Cuenca. Image taken by Maria V. Urdaneta. CC by 4.0

Hello there! My name is Lorena Cuenca, and I am currently a junior at Florida International University studying Business Management. I am an aspiring law student and I plan on applying to law school in the fall of this year and graduating within three to four years to begin practicing as a corporate attorney. Apart from my professional career goals, I also enjoy singing, dancing, choreographing, and writing lyrics from time to time.

Brookhart Jonquil. Image taken by Emerson Dorsch. CC By 4.0


The story of one Brookhart Jonquil started in Santa Cruz, California in 1984. Brookhart, whose parents were anticipating and preparing for his arrival by building a house out in the forest for the family, showed up as a surprise after the date of his birth had been miscalculated. He was born amongst nature, with only lantern light leaving things to be seen; born in a half-built house, essentially in the middle of nowhere, with nothing but lantern light and the night sky present. This is where it all began.

Throughout his early childhood, he was exposed to the beauty of nature everywhere he went. Even after moving out of the initial home, he was surrounded by all that the outdoors had to offer with moving to Portland, Oregon, and Tucson, Arizona where a large portion of the most interesting activities include those such as hiking and camping. 

As far as cultural and ethnic identity is concerned, Brookhart considers himself “white” with most of the family members he knows being of Italian descent. He stated that growing up he did not really relate to a culture; he felt rather unable to connect to his Italian ancestry and did not feel comfortable with claiming the “culture” belonging to white Americans. He described his parents as “bohemian and unusual” when he was growing up and said that when it comes to the cultural identity, he feels best directly referring to his immediate family and the little things they do amongst each other.

Brookhart began his educational artistic journey at the University of Arizona majoring in art history. He always considered himself an academic and was genuinely interested in learning about art, when he then made the transition into focusing more on creating art, he believed it’d be best to become as well-informed as possible. He graduated from the University of Arizona in 2007 with his Bachelor of Arts degree and when straight to earning his Master of Fine Arts from the School of Art Institute of Chicago after completing his undergrad. He chose to spread out the time to complete his program from two to three years and attended extra classes by asking different professors if he could sit in on their lectures and graduated in 2010.

During his time at the Art Institute of Chicago, he got to know a professor by the name of Claudia Hart, who is also an artist, curator, and critic for the past 32 years. He expressed that she had been incredibly supportive and referred to her as his “art mom”. His parents were also supportive of his work even in the beginning; coming from artistic backgrounds they were hopeful and looking forward to seeing him live out the dreams they could not. They were supportive and understanding but Brookhart shared with me that years after his career took off his dad confessed to initially being very scared for his son’s future and financial stability. His final show was viewed by Brook Dorsch, the founder of the Emerson Dorsch Gallery in Miami, where he was then offered to display his work starting his residency in Miami, Florida.


During his undergrad, he attended a class by Paul Ivey where minimalistic art was being discussed and works by artist Carl Andre were being used as examples. This class served at the starting point, the lightbulb moment if you will, in his career. He became interested in using displaying the relationship between the positive and negative space of a piece and how its surroundings add to the work. He was truly fascinated with the concept of emptiness and was intrigued with discovering how to use emptiness as an aspect of his art. This prompted his desire to create pieces that focused on representing or showcasing light, space, emptiness, and gravity. He knew that this was what he wanted to base his work on, that this was his “central core” as an artist.

When discussing arts who caught his attention when he was developing his style, Brookhart, mentioned James Turrell, Robert Smithson, and Nancy Holt. James Turrell is an American artist who is known for working with light and space to create artwork that is captivating and intellectually challenging, works that tests limitations and plays with perspective. Robert Smithson was quite the visionary; not only did he think outside the box but thinking inside it was never an option. He was interested and well-versed in different fields such as geology, popular culture, philosophy and was highly admired for his creative thinking. Nancy Holt was “a member of the earth, land, and conceptual art movements”. She was truly a pioneer in her craft and actively redefined the limitations that came with her profession, she was in every sense of the word an icon who became known for her site-specific work that tested the boundaries of her time.

He stated that at the time conceptual minimalism was the concept or style of art he had become interested in. He mentioned that he was drawn to this style, that it was an instinctual feeling. He continued to learn more about it, accepting and rejecting different aspects along the way until he got to a place where he knew he would belong. I wanted to understand his perspective a little more, so I asked him to descript his artistic journey in five words or less. He took a couple minutes to really think and after a while said, “How about this…seeing the invisible.” For a moment, I was both confused and intrigued. I knew what he was saying and in part understood why but it felt like my thoughts had not aligned with his point of view entirely. I asked him why he chose those words; I asked if he was maybe trying to express that he felt he had some sort of sixth sense, if you will, or an ability to see things others could not. He agreed in a sense, saying that he knew and understood that there was sort of a reality around us that we could not perceive due to the limitation of our senses and that we could only see traces of it.

I wanted to see if he fell into the stereotype of the typical “tortured artist”; the kind whose work thrives off pain, suffering, and the torment of a traumatic life so I asked if he was comfortable sharing some of the hardships he might have experienced along the way. He laughed and quickly said, “Oh gosh, I feel like I have been exceptionally lucky. I mean, I have been poor, but I was happy when I was poor. I think the hardest part is that when you artist you are not making a lot of money. I’ve been on food stamps before, but even then, I was still living the life I wanted to live.” I jokingly said, “So you have been blessed and everything has been a teachable moment.” To which he responded with, “Yes, plenty of teachable moments.” He said that he had always considered himself lucky, that he knew some people who have lived through situations like his might not think the same but that he learned that luck was a “way of identifying patterns”; that sometimes the good outweighs the bad and that is what he considered when calling himself lucky. We went back to discussing the artist stereotype and he said that his art was very much who he was, that he was not a dramatic person, that he was more of a “head in the clouds” kind of person, and that he believed his art was all about the human experience and what it means to exist despite that not always being understood.


As the conversation continued, I started to conclude that his cultural identity did not have much to do with his work. He had previously mentioned that growing up he only related to his immediate family when it came to culture and their traditions which led me to believe that his background had little influence, if any, of his work. I asked regardless and his response truly surprised me. He said, “I guess, I would have to say yes in the sense that being born a white man has a kind of privilege that I am not expected to make work about identity. If the work that I connect to is abstract existential that is the realm of white men.” He stated that even though he did not think it was much of a culture it was still a historical trajectory that he was a part of, one he thought was quite weird. He went on to say that now was the time to investigate identity and said, “You know the of the white cube? The gallery is like a white box and you put the art on the wall and the white box becomes invisible and you just look at the artwork on the wall. But of course, that white box has a default reality. It brings so much context. I think this world that we all live in is built on white supremacy patriarchy and that is the white cute and so you put abstract art on the wall, and it looks totally normal, you don’t even notice it. But you put some identity art on the wall, by a person of color and it stands out. So, I feel like, yeah my work is not really identity or race; it is about these more transcendent ideas but that is a privileged position.”

When asked about where he thought his work was best showcased, he said that his favorite place, where he thought his work is best viewed is in nature. He took a moment and then said, “If I were to identify with a culture, it would be the forest.”. He said that because his work was very “hard edge and geometric” being in that kind of environment really helped it, that it completes the picture. He said that he takes a lot of inspiration from nature and that he saw his work as being natural forms that were best enjoyed in nature. I asked him if he related his work to a specific artistic movement or historic time period to which he responded with, “I would hope that they are relevant to now.” He said that with everything that was happening right now, his work belonged at this moment.

Invisible Sun, 2019. Image taken by Brookhart Jonquil. CC By 4.0


On a surface level, his work is clearly beautiful. Brookhart’s use of light and reflective surfaces makes his pieces aesthetically pleasing and incredibly stunning, but it is definitely more than that. Each piece relates to something greater than what is on hand, stretching the concept of reality while playing with what is intangible. His purpose extends beyond sharing a vision, Brookhart truly hopes that in experiencing his work, a viewer will be able to understand concepts that cannot be grasped, per se.

We discussed the indirect relationship we all have with intangible things such as light, space, and darkness. He used space as an example and said, “You could be out in outer space, you could be completely surrounded by light and see nothing but darkness until you put your hand in front of you. Now the light has something to hit and so now, all of a sudden, you are aware that there is light all around you and it was always there.” It definitely took me a minute to grasp what he was saying because I had never thought about it before. He said he believed that we were moving towards the air. For a second, I was confused but he said that he believed our way of living was transitioning further away from things being less bound to the physical world. That with technology advancing and the current situation we are in so much of our life had become completely about signals traveling through the air.

Some artists’ work comes from a place of frustration or spontaneous inspiration that pours onto paper or gets molded into reality with the use of a malleable material or something alike, but that is not Brookhart’s case. I was fascinated by the way he talked about his work and wanted to know why he was so attached to ideas and concepts relating to space, time, and reality. He said that he has a feeling about the ways in which the universe works and that he felt the need to make work that expressed or reflected this belief. He wants to prove his assumptions, but welcomes change and adapting his work to showcase what he learns along the way.


Each piece starts off as an idea, a “perceptual reality”, and throughout creating he focuses on trying to turn the image he has in mind into a physical, tangible, entity. We went on to talk about his creative methods ad process and where his direct inspiration comes from. He said that a lot of the time his ideas would come during his daily meditation, that he believed it is very important to have empty space, “If your cup is already full, there is no room for anything else. So, it is really important to always be creating emptiness so that there is always space for something new. If you were to say what comes before the idea, probably emptiness, and that emptiness is something I work hard to cultivate.” Because a lot of his pieces deal with perspective, I asked how the relationship between what he created and intended for viewers to see versus what those who have viewed some of his works have seen affected his own perspective. He mentioned that in the past he has done set design for a director by the name of Yara Travieso, whose work is based on identity, feminism, and politics and while her history is the opposite of his own, she has always provided positive opinions and a refreshingly new perspective to his work.

We moved on to discussing the material and colors he used when working. He said he was mostly interested in physical materials that best lent themselves for shaping light. The blue and green hues that I took notice of in his pieces were just a result of the material he had at his disposal, he said that while he loves color, he has always struggled with adding anything to his artwork, that every material aspect of his pieces was intentional and necessary for their existence. We took a look at one specific piece that caught my eye, Saturn Rings The Sunrise Bells, to discuss color and he said that all the colors in it were simply a “happy accident”. I also noticed a lot of geometrical shapes throughout his work and quite a bit of symmetry which he said that there is a structural necessity to reality which he was trying to emilite in his work.


Brookhart is a represented artist under the Emerson Dorsch Art Gallery where a majority of his artwork has been displayed. Other works of his have been commissioned by the Bass Museum of Art, the De la Cruz Collection, MoCa Tucson, Vizcaya Museum, and the Cornell Art Museum.

His favorite piece at the moment is his most recent, titled Earth Arise, Sky Descend. He deems it his favorite because he believes it is a representation of where his future work is going to be like, where he is heading artistically. He said up until now he has learned about how time and space work and is transitioning into questioning and learning about how life works.

Earth Arise, Sky Descend, 2019. Image taken by Brookhart Jonquil CC By 4.0


Conversing with Mr. Jonquil was certainly an experience. The way he expressed himself and the words he used to respond to my questions made me take notice of how I express myself. With every question, I asked he took a minute to collect his thoughts and explain his experience in a way I could understand. It made me self-aware of how I speak and express my ideas whether on paper or in speech. When discussing his work or ideas and concepts relating to art, I found myself considering every word he was using and what each one meant. His words contained so much purpose, such profound, almost enlightened, meanings; I latched on to every single one every step of the way. It was such a stimulating conversation that I did not even mind being confused for a rather large portion of it. He seemed more than happy to answer my questions and go into detail about each explanation. He really made me take notice of the things I had never paid attention to before. I am not one to “waste” my time on philosophical trains of thought, I tend to see no purpose in concerning myself with things I will never understand. After this I think, I might need to change that. I cannot expect myself to understand and know everything seconds after thinking about it, it takes time, effort, and interest to reach a level so high to where you start unlocking concepts you have never even considered before. I have always respected those who can see what I cannot to an extremely high degree while completely disregarding any potential I might have. I want to be that person; I want to continue to have engaging and intellectually stimulating conversations with my peers and others alike and I realize that will never happen unless I stop issuing myself limitations. There is a lot I cannot do, but I never want thinking to be one of those things; I simply deserve better.

Lorena Cuenca and artist Brookhart Jonquil. Image taken by Lorena Cuenca CC By 4.0


“Notice when you make something that you like, notice what it is that you like, and make something else… Let the thing about your artwork that excites you, spur you on to the next one. So, keep investigating your own work through the work itself not just through thinking about your work. You have to actually make something in order to learn from it.”


“Brookhart Jonquil.” Brookhartjonquil.Com, brookhartjonquil.com. Accessed 21 Apr. 2021.

“Brookhart Jonquil’s Sculptures Expand on the Discourse of Minimalism.” Emerson Dorsch, emersondorsch.com/artist/brookhart-jonquil. Accessed 21 Apr. 2021.

Gallery, Bitforms. “Claudia Hart.” Bitforms Gallery, 28 Oct. 2020, bitforms.art/artist/claudia-hart.

“Introduction.” James Turrell, 2021, jamesturrell.com/about/introduction.

“The Foundation | Holt/Smithson Foundation.” Holt Smithson Foundation, 26 Mar. 2021, holtsmithsonfoundation.org.

Lorena Cuenca: Miami Service Project Spring 2021

Chicken Key


Hello there! My name is Lorena Cuenca and I am currently a junior at Florida International University studying Business Management. I am an aspiring law student and I plan on applying to law school in the fall of this year and graduating within three to four years to begin practicing as a corporate attorney. Apart from my professional career goals, I also enjoy singing, dancing, choreographing, and writing lyrics from time to time.


This semester I was given the opportunity to join Professor Bailly and some of his students for a clean-up project of Chicken Key. John William Bailly is a resident artist under the Deering Estate as well as a professor for Florida International University where his courses such as Art Society & Conflict and Miami focus on learning about the city and how its history has affected its inhabitants and their forms of expression.


While this activity has nothing to do with my major nor the career path in which I am heading it is something I have been wanting to do for a couple of months now. I, unfortunately, missed the chance to join my class during their clean-up last semester due to personal reasons and it was something that I was really looking forward to.


During the last month of the semester, Professor Bailly had mentioned that he was hosting a clean-up of Chicken Key and was looking for a couple more students to join in on the excursion. I quickly jumped at the idea and asked if this activity could be considered as the service project of the semester and after getting the okay I immediately asked if I could join in. Since then, I had begun to prepare for what might come.


The day started off with meeting Professor Bailly at Deering Estate. After waiting for a couple of more students to join us we picked out the paddles that we were going to be using, put on our life jackets, and pairing up to drop the canoes onto the water.

We placed our things in the canoe and got ready to go on our merry way. In the beginning, the journey was certainly filled with obstacles. It was my first time canoeing and was not confident we would make it out. After a while paddling and many collisions with other students, we made it to the south side of Chicken Key where we tied our canoe to another and settled our things down. Before setting up a plan for the day’s events we took some time to enjoy the water and the scenery. The water was as refreshing as ever on a hot day and the view was peaceful and beautiful; I could not imagine doing anything to possibly put the island or its image in danger. I put on my gloves to protect my hands from anything I might grab and got ready to collect trash. I went off on my own with my water bottle, phone, and trash bag in hand. After a bit of walking in the direction opposite to other students, I set my things down and headed into a more intertwined area. I found some empty beer bottled and plenty of Tupperware lids, as well as a Styrofoam ball tethered to a long piece of rope which I later was told, was a trap for some of the animals on the island. On my way out I came across a small crab that seemed to be making its way out as well. After a while of serene trash-collecting, I started heading back to base where I encountered Professor Bailly taking some of the canoes to the other side of the island for the students to place their bags. I anticlimactically hopped in the water and joined him.

On our way down the side of the island, Bailly noticed a spotted eagle ray in the water and eagerly took out his phone to capture the moment. In that second, I realized that the minimum exposure I had to wildlife outside this class had been all thanks to the exploitation of animals for monetary gains in aquariums and zoos; it was kind of a bitter-sweet realization for me. We eventually met up with more students and after collecting their bags we headed back to base to have lunch together. We ate, conversed, and headed into the water for a break before the second collection of the day. After a quick dip, we headed out to collect as much as we could before returning to the mainland. I set off to see what I was missing by not having gone with the other students to the other side of Chicken Key. I almost felt like a lone adventurer looking for something that had yet to have been discovered; I was definitely living out a fantasy whilst picking up empty soda cans and plastic forks. The trip was coming to an end after the second round. We started packing up our things and getting ready to depart and canoe back towards Deering to dispose of everything we had gathered. Slowly but surely, we all started getting back and loaded the truck with everything we brought back. After getting rid of everything we headed our separate ways holding onto the memory of what we had done together.


I had so much fun helping with this project. Despite having walked away with a couple of scrapes and bruises it is something I am considering doing again. It was incredibly fulfilling to know that I had done something good and had a blast while doing it. At the beginning of our trip, I posted a small clip of us on our canoes on my personal Instagram and some friends of mine reached out to me to ask about what exactly I was doing out there. After explaining what we had done, they mentioned that they were interested in joining Professor Bailly on his next clean-up of Chicken Key. I will definitely be returning to help out once more with some friends next time and I will be looking forward to doing so until the time comes. Knowing that this project was something I got to participate in is something I will likely talk about until I am grey and old. I can already see myself recalling the memories of the “good old days” where I canoed out to Chicken Key and spent the day collecting trash with an amazing professor and some new friends.

Image Taken by Jennifer Quintero (CC by 4.0)

Lorena Cuenca: ASC See Miami Fall 2020

Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum

Lorena by a lake in Indiana, 2018. Image Taken by Ana Isabel (CC by 4.0)


Hi! I am Lorena Cuenca, and I am a junior at the Florida International University Honors College where I am majoring in Business Administration. During high school, I began to take college classes at Miami Dade College and earned my associate’s degree in the summer of 2020. I am looking forward to completing my college journey at FIU. I plan on attending Columbia University and hope to join their dual degree program for Law and Business and become a corporate attorney. While academics are my priority, I like to dabble in performance arts. I really enjoy writing music, singing, choreographing, and dancing. I truly want nothing more than to see the world; while Miami is a beautiful city, I know that there is so much more than what is in my own backyard.


The Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum is located at 10975 SW 17th St, Miami, FL 33199 on the Florida International University Modesto Maidique Campus. In front of the museum is the University Credit Union which resides in one of the campuses parking garages. From an outside perspective, to the left of the building, across the street, is the Herbert & Nicole Wertheim Performing Arts Center as well as FIU School of Music. To the right of the museum, is the Earlene and Albert Dotson Pavilion and the Management and Advanced Research Center (MARC). Behind the building there is a lake. Because the museum is on a university it is surrounded by educational facilities. The first floor of the building has a small café. The building has its own Vicky Bakery where both students and staff members like to come and grab a coffee or a quick bite while they enjoy the view.


The Frost Art Museum was founded in 1977 as The Art Museum at Florida International University main campus, Modesto A. Maidique. It was first a small collection taking place in Florida International University’s Primera Casa building. Despite starting small, the museum gained attraction and was recognized by the American Alliance of Museums in 1999. Years prior to the official recognition, it was already a community favorite having earned the titles “Miami’s Best Museum” in 1993, 1994, and 1996. In 2009 In was titled “Miami’s Best Art Museum”. Once the collection started growing, it needed room to build upon itself.

The new building was designed by Yann Weymouth and measures a total of 46,000 square feet. The building officially opened in November 2008 and has been home to the museum ever since.


“The Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum’s mission is to provide transformative experiences through art; collect, exhibit, and interpret art across cultures; and advance FIU’s stature as a top tier research university.”

“One of the largest academic art museums in South Florida, the Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum provides the community with free access to world-class art that spans cultures and time periods. The museum started as a small space in FIU’s Primera Casa building in 1978. As the collection and programming grew, the university recognized the need for a dedicated museum space. The museum now resides in a beautiful 46,000 square foot building designed by Yann Weymouth and situated in the heart of FIU’s Avenue of the Arts. The museum opened its doors in 2008.”

In theory and practice, the Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum, popularly known as “Frost”, strives to provide an educational, interactive, enlightening, and entertaining experience to all those who visit. As an academic institution with an education program, the museum houses internships and volunteer opportunities where students can participate to further their education and interest in art. The museum is also currently partnering with elementary schools in its area to further the knowledge of the future and bring art back into education. They offer professional development workshops for teachers that promote STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math, learning.


Due to the current situation, because of the pandemic, the museum’s open times are limited. As stated on the official website:

Sunday: Closed

Monday: Closed

Tuesday: Closed

Wednesday: Open to FIU community only, 10:00 am – 3:00 pm

Thursday: Open to FIU community only, 10:00 am – 3:00 pm

Friday: Open to FIU community, open to members/public by appointment only, 10:00 am – 3:00 pm

Saturday: Open to FIU community, open to members/public by appointment only, 10:00 am – 3:00 pm

Admission to the museum is completely free.

The museum, however, does offer a total of eight members ships which can be joined (purchased) or given as gifts for those who want to show their support:

  1. FIU Faculty, Employees, and Alumni for $35.00
    • 100% tax deductible
    • allow discounted admission to ticketed events and education programs, exhibition previews and gallery talks with curators and artists, quarterly member programming, complimentary beverages, and bites during exhibition receptions, 10% discount on Frost merchandise, 10% discount at Vicky Cafe, and access to Members’ Lounge.
  2. Senior for $40.00
    • 100% tax deductible
    • allow discounted admission to ticketed events and education programs, exhibition previews and gallery talks with curators and artists, quarterly member programming, complimentary beverages, and bites during exhibition receptions, 10% discount on Frost merchandise, 10% discount at Vicky Cafe, and access to Members’ Lounge.
  3. Individual for $50.00
    • 100% tax deductible
    • allow discounted admission to ticketed events and education programs, exhibition previews and gallery talks with curators and artists, quarterly member programming, complimentary beverages, and bites during exhibition receptions, 10% discount on Frost merchandise, 10% discount at Vicky Cafe, and access to Members’ Lounge.
  4. Dual for $75.00
    • 100% tax deductible
    • allow discounted admission to ticketed events and education programs, exhibition previews and gallery talks with curators and artists, quarterly member programming, complimentary beverages, and bites during exhibition receptions, 10% discount on Frost merchandise, 10% discount at Vicky Cafe, and access to Members’ Lounge.
  5. Friend for $125.00
    • 100% tax deductible
    • includes Blue Level benefits plus, discounted admission to ticketed events and educational programs, plus one complimentary guest ticket, North American Reciprocal Museum (NARM) membership benefits, 20% discount on Frost merchandise
  6. Supporter for $250.00
    • 100% tax deductible
    • includes Friend level benefits, priority seating to ticketed events and educational programs
  7. Contributor for $500.00
    • $404.00 tax deductible
    • includes Supporter level benefits, select passes for Miami Art Fair Week partners, access to private collections and gallery talks, 5% discount on museum facility rentals
  8. Benefactor for $1,000.00
    • $850.00 tax deductible
    • includes Contributor level benefits, premier passes for Miami Art Fair Week partners, invitation to annual Benefactor events, access to national and international art fairs, invitation to private receptions, name recognition on the lobby, guided museum tour for 10 with director, one gift of Individual membership


The Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum currently has over 6,000 pieces in their collection representing American printmaking from the late 1900s, photography, pre-Columbian pieces dating from 200 to 500 AD, and a flourishing collection of works by contemporary artists mostly from Latin American and Caribbean countries.

The Frost Art Museum’s collection extends to more than just 20th and 21st century US and Latin American art. It also includes pieces from Asia and Africa that continue to grow in number as the years progress since the museum opened in 2008. These pieces were obtained from the Metropolitan Museum and Art Center of Coral Gables’ collection in 1989 and have been a part of the family ever since.

The museum is home to a great number of public works of art. These sculptures are mostly set on the outside area of the museum itself. Works from Julio Fernandez Larraz,  Pablo Atchugarry, Lydia Azout, and many other incredible artists adorn all angles of the building and make the experience that much more enjoyable.

The prints below are part of Frost’s collection of prints. They are by American painter John Baeder who mostly focuses on bringing a sense of nostalgia and warmth when thinking of America using his art. The three prints are of three distinct diners during the 1980s: The Blue Beacon diner, The Royal diner, and a Red Robin diner. The prints were gifts from Eugene I. Schuster along with six others alike.



The Inside World: (July 11, 2020 – January 10, 2021)

This exhibition is made from about 100 works by Contemporary Aboriginal artists. As the Frost Art Museum and most of Miami is recognized as once having been the homelands of the Tequesta, this exhibition draws relation through the artists. The poles were traditionally used as hollow log coffins but are now simply being used for art as the practice of their traditional use has been abandoned by the new generation.

Apsaalooke Feminist #4: Wendy Red Star and her daughter Beatrice sitting together posing in an “assertive yet natural” way.

House to House: (September 26, 2020 – February 7, 2021)

As time passes, women gain greater power both in their homes and in politics. This is shown in House to House: Women, Politics, and Place. This year, we silently celebrating 100 years of women having the right to vote, with the past presidential elections and the colliding events Frost is presenting an exhibition representing women transitioning from taking care of their homes to now being the representatives.

Tesoro: December 1, 2020 – Ongoing)

This exhibition is letter to Frost from the artist. The message is one of pure love and appreciation for what Frost represents and strives to do. Pepe Mar, the artist behind Tesoro, is sharing his story and passion with the museum and its visitors. His installation draws inspiration from Frost current collection, rich in history and beauty, using his own work and those of Rene Portocarrero, Thornton Dial, and Purvis Young to tell a story, his story.

Arrangement of works by Miguel Angel Gaueca, Errol McKenzie, Willem de Kooning, Pepe Mar, & many unknown artists


Community Programs:

  1. Family Days: Recommended for pre-K through middle school ages, the Family Days program takes place every spring and fall and provides a great number of different art activities that relate to the museum’s collections and exhibits. The program makes the experience that much more interactive and enjoyable for the kids. Family Days welcomes families to come in and have a great time at Frost.
  2. Drawing Salons: Recommended for ages 16 and older, this program is an incredible opportunity for young adults and those above to develop their untapped or underdeveloped artistic abilities. It is their chance to discover something within themselves and further fall in love with art. Materials are provided and sessions take place on Wednesdays. The program is completely free but requires advance registration.
  3. MakerSPACE Workshops: Recommended for all ages, this program exists for those looking for a greater experience. MarkerSPACE offers a hands-on experience to connect to art, art history, photography, science and health, technology, engineering, sculpture, and 2D and 3D design. The workshops are centered around the exhibitions of the season and chance to complement that system. These workshops are led by art professionals and take place throughout the year.
  4. Artful Playdates: Recommended for pre-K children, build playful yet teachable environments where kids can learn from Frost educators and each other through the day. These select Saturdays are filled with singing, storytelling, role playing, and art.

STEAMworks: The STEAMworks program offers workshops to schools and teachers to promote higher education with the integration of arts into schools. Since the creation of the program in 2015 with the first elementary school partnership, Sweetwater Elementary School, the education model has been altered and the experience has overall benefited the students increasing test scores in the school the following year.  

University: As being part of the university, the museum offers students and faculty members multiple ways to connect and engage with art. Students are also given the opportunity to create and display art of their own at Frost. There is an annual Master of Fine Arts exhibition, Master of Fine Arts Curatorial Practice, and Aesthetics and Values Honors College exhibition just for students to showcase their talent.

Lectures: Every year, the Frost Art Museum hosts a “Breakfast in the Park” lecture where they invite a respected sculptor and the people of Miami Beach to each a lovely day filled with intellectual conversation and breakfast.

Travel Programs: While the Frost Art Museum does offer travel programs, none are currently being offered or advertised.


Interview with Eric Forteza: Student at Harvard University, Miami Resident

How did you hear about the museum?

My best friend is a student here and she knows how much I love history and art so when she recommended, I visit the museum I felt like I had to. I really enjoy just walking around and taking at all in so it felt like it would be a right fit for me.

Why did you choose you come today?

I actually have been wanting to come for a while. My friend is a student here and because I realized campus would be a bit empty this time of day, I decided I would visit the museum and take a look around with her.

What was your favorite exhibit or individual piece today?

I really enjoyed the homage to Ruth Bader Ginsburg and some of the women that have and continue to stand for women of power in this country. RBG is an idol of mine, I think she is incredible, and I really appreciate her being mentioned and represented in the exhibition House to House.

Would you come back to the museum?

Definitely! I saw that they were installing new pieces on the first floor and I am really curious to see to what they incorporate into the collection.

What was the biggest take away from today?

I think it is amazing to have such beautiful, inspiring, and significant art so close to home. Traveling is great but it gives me such pride to be able to say there are works this cool right where I come from. I absolutely love that.


Interview with Emily Afre: Education Specialist

How long have you been working there? 

I have been working at the Frost Art Museum as Exhibition Specialist since 2017. I was a volunteer/intern for some time before that.

What interested you in Frost in the first place?

I was enrolled in Aesthetics & Values, a class where we organized an exhibition of local artists at the Frost. I gave tours of this exhibition at the opening reception. I have always been interested in the arts. As a musician, I enjoyed the performative aspect of giving tours and was interested in learning how to be more involved with the museum through that experience.

What has been your favorite exhibit and why?

Rafael Soriano: Artist as Mystic. His later work of the 80s/90s is dark and contemplative. There seems to be a parallel between his abstract, biomorphic forms and his own reflection on the Cuban Revolution. This was the first time I had heard of Soriano and I was eager to learn more about him and other related artists. The exhibition layout itself also amplified the viewing experience.

What would you say is the peak season for the museum, in terms of popularity during the year, and why? 

Pre-pandemic, I would say Fall semester might be the peak season as Miami Art Week/Art Basel are during this time. Usually, the higher profile shows are exhibited during this semester.

How many people visit on average? (Daily or Weekly)

Pre-pandemic: 20-35 on weekday/30-40 on weekend

During pandemic: 5-10 on weekday/5-20 on weekend

What makes Frost special? 

Aside from being a university-museum, the Frost displays art from different time periods, from all over the world. The Frost is cognizant of socio-political issues and how we can relate art to current events and the overall human experience. As museum educator, I can engage in these conversations with students and community members. Pragmatically speaking, the location is also great for folks who are unable to make the trek out to Wynwood or Downtown, where most other art museums and galleries can be found in Miami.

Do you have a most memorable visitor experience? Why them? 

I enjoy giving tours to children and university students. Our tours are very interactive, and it feels rewarding to know that our dialogue might have an impact on someone’s life.

Would you still be working in education & art if you were not working at Frost?

 Perhaps! As long as art and/or music is involved, that’s where you will find me!


I have never been an art person. In the past I have really struggled with enjoying myself in museums. The silent admiration, the somehow collective understanding that I never understood just put in a weird mood every time I went to one. A lot of the time, I tend to “appreciate” things on a surface level. I walk around and only look at what I think is pretty, never stopping to read the descriptions or doing any research before hand or after about the art or artist.

Art is just one of those things that I was not born with getting. It was taken me exposing myself to different mediums and different forms to really appreciate what should be. For the first time, I was interested enough to read the cards and descriptions. The Frost Art Museum is beautiful place to visit, whether a student or faculty member at FIU or not it is never a bad thing to explore the museum and look around the new exhibits being put on display. The museum offers a variety of different programs and interactive activities for members of all ages to feel welcomed and enjoy.

What I enjoyed the most about the museum is its location. I think it is absolutely brilliant that it is part of a university. Students can visit throughout the year and enjoy different exhibitions as they get changed. This sets up a beautiful relationship between Frost and the community it inhabits. The museum is set in an environment filled with individuals that are creative and eager to learn, making events more exciting as time goes on.


Florida International University – Digital Communications. “Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum.” Florida International University: Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum, frost.fiu.edu/.

“John Baeder Blue Beacon Diner 1980 Art Print Silkscreen Pencil Signed Original.” Bright Colors Art & Collectibles, 21 Dec. 2018, brightcolors.com/product/john-baeder-blue-beacon-diner-1980-art-print-silkscreen-pencil-signed-original/.

Lorena Cuenca: ASC Art Service Project Fall 2020

Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum

Lorena outside the Perez Art Museum Miami, Florida, 2020. Image Taken by Eric Forteza (CC by 4.0)


Hi! I am Lorena Cuenca, and I am a junior at the Florida International University Honors College where I am majoring in Business Administration. While academics are my priority, I like to dabble in performance arts. I really enjoy writing music, singing, choreographing, and dancing. I truly want nothing more than to see the world; while Miami is a beautiful city, I know that there is so much more than what is in my own backyard.


This semester I had the honor of interning at the Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum. The Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum stands as “one of the largest academic art museums in South Florida”. The museum and its exhibits and collections are set in a beautiful 46,000 square foot building adorned with sculptures at every angle making the experience itself that much more beautiful when visiting.

Image Taken by Lorena Cuenca (CC by 4.0)


My interest in the Frost Art Museum started out as sheer convenience and confusion but quickly turned into one of the most incredible and enlightening experiences I have ever had. This internship became my intellectual and artistic outlet when all else seemed to fail me this semester and I have no one else to thank other than Professor Bailly for pushing me to start this relationship. When I was first told that I had to intern or volunteer at an art facility or with an artist for an assignment at the beginning of the semester I was worried. I had no connections and little interest; just thinking about having to put myself out there and possibly letting someone down in a project of their passion frightened me. I reached out to a plethora of different organizations only to sit around and wait for them to contact me back. When I was finally reached out to about sending my resume and cover letter I did so right away. The process was filled with more waiting and anticipating on my part and when we scheduled an interview, I could not have been more excited. I finally found a place that would take me. As odd as that might sound, it felt great. The interview itself went well, I met the lovely Miss Emily Afre and we talked about the program I would potentially be a part of. At the end of the interview, I was told I had been admitted and all I had to do was wait for the documents to be sent my way and fill them out. The onboarding process would take around two weeks and then I would start being trained to give tours as a gallery guide. While being a business major and an aspiring law student has nothing to do with art at first glance, it never hurts to enjoy it. I think in the past I have put so much pressure on myself to get the message that it has prevented me from seeing what I could have if I only gave myself the chance. I think this experience has taught me that. Knowing that I will be giving tours to children has reminded me that sometimes it is important to look at something with a new set of eyes and a clear mind. Not everything you see will scream right at you, some things will not even whisper. Kids seem to always know something, something we do not. They see something more, something we cannot, and I am really looking forward to regaining that perspective and sharing with them my own. I want them to learn from me as much as I want to learn from them. I want them to fill in the missing pieces. That way, we all see the bigger picture.


Because I entered the program in the latter half of the semester, I have yet to do most of what the other gallery guides have. My journey has only begun and will not end until I graduate. For this I am grateful, I have so much more to learn and experience in this internship and I would not want it any other way. So far, I have spent most of my time doing independent study, spending anywhere from three to five hours a week learning about the different exhibits currently at the museum and those that will be incorporated once the new semester begins. I have only been in the program for around three weeks.

During my first week, I conversed with Emily Afre about the first set of pieces I would have to know to give tours, I was sent a walkthrough presentation of the sculptures in the yard with corresponding information. That week, I took it upon myself to research the sculptures and artists who created them to become a little more familiar with the walkthrough itself. The following week, Emily went over the presentation and gave me pointers on how to talk and communicate with those potentially receiving the tours; essentially, how to make the experience that much more enjoyable and interactive. The third week has just been filled with me preparing myself to give a mock tour. For the mock tour, I will be presenting to Emily the information I learned during my independent study time. I will be able to show her what I know and my potential. The mock tour itself will take place during the fourth week over zoom. On the same day, I will be visiting the museum to take a look at the different pieces and exhibits as well as take pictures while I can. Because this internship is on pause during the break, unfortunately, that is all I will have done until the next semester. Once the new exhibits come in and the semester begins, I will be shadowing tours and doing some of my own which is extremely exciting.


Total Hours: 10.25


I really enjoyed my experience interning at the Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum this semester. While short, my experience has proven itself to be therapeutic and informative enough to have me excited and looking forward to next semester. I am thrilled to have been given this opportunity and to be trusted with such responsibility, I know I can do this. Once the new semester begins and everything is set into motion things will become more exciting. I have absolutely no complaints about my experience, had I known about this internship earlier I would have applied then. I am looking forward to what is yet to come and prove myself as a tour guide in the gallery guide program.


Florida International University – Digital Communications. “Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum.” Florida International University: Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum, frost.fiu.edu/.

Lorena Cuenca: Miami as Text 2020-2021

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

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

Deering As Text

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

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

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

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

South Beach As Text

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

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

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

Bakehouse As Text

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

Image Taken by Lorena Cuenca (CC by 4.0)

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

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

Rubell Museum As Text

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

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

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

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

Deering Hike As Text

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

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

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

Downtown Miami As Text

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

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

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

Everglades As Text

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

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

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

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

Margulies As Text

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

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

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

Bill Baggs As Text

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

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

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

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

River of Grass As Text

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

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

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

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

Frost Art Museum As Text

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

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

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

Coral Gables as Text

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

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

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

Vizcaya As Text

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

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

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

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

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