Lukas Stump: Miami Service 2020

Student Bio:

Hello, my name is Lukas Stump, I am an honors college student at Florida International University. I transferred from Miami Dade College, so this was my first semester at FIU. This semester I decided to take Miami in Miami as my honors course and I could not be more appreciative of it.

Who?

This semester I worked with my honors course to gain my community service hours. Two of our weekly meetups fulfilled my required 10 hours. The classes consisted of us canoeing to a key and picking up trash. We filled 12 canoes full of trash and were out there roughly 5 hours. After taking the trash back to the mainland we emptied it into a huge dumpster at the Deering Estate. In the second class, we went to the bakehouse art complex and rose awareness for our decaying reefs. We met up with some artists who were in collaboration with a scientist from the east coast whose goal was to save the coral reefs.

Why?

I chose to take part in these community service projects because I am very close to the ocean and feel what is happening to it is horrible. When I saw the amount of trash there was in one little key about one mile of shore, I became sick to my stomach. I grew up in Panama City, Panama, a small country in Central America that is kissed by two oceans, the Pacific Ocean, and the Atlantic Ocean. My life growing up revolved around the water, I would surf, fish, swim, dive, and do many other aquatic activities in it with my family growing up. So, when I heard that I had the chance to do some good for the ocean, I felt obligated to repay it for all the things it has given me. I also thought about my future and how I would like to all things I did growing up with kids someday and their generations to come. It also seemed unfair how we treat the home of millions of different species that rely on the ocean. These animals do nothing to our homes and help us by feeding us, and all we do to repay them is to dump trash in their home, that is unfair. With the two projects I took part in, I was able to do something about it. Although it may have been small it was at least something. If people around the world would gather and just do a small part in trying to protect our oceans, we can turn this around. I could not believe how blind I was to the matter but thanks to this class I was able to realize it is a serious issue.

How?

I was fortunate enough to find these community service opportunities thanks to my class Miami in Miami. Our professor John Bailly found these activities and put them as our class meet-ups. Due to the Corona Virus (Covid-19) it was difficult to find community service opportunities elsewhere. I was very grateful for every opportunity I had to give back to the community. This class inspired me to help when I can and proved to me that anything that helps the community or the earth counts, it is the little things we do that pile up to make a difference.

Where and What?

Deering Estate Chicken Key Clean up: For my first community service activity, I went with my fellow peers to the Deering Estate and canoed to Chicken Key. When we first arrived, we swam on the shore of the key and had a good time. Shortly after it was time to get to work, our TA Nicole Patrick handed us sandbags and we began to collect. The class divided into groups and some of us walked the shores and others worked the land. I was part of the group that walked the land looking for trash and debris. The amount of trash we collected was insane and what was found was gross. The trash varied from tiny plastic bottle caps to huge ten-gallon water reserve barrels, we even found nets and crab cages that can tangle sea life and drown them. After hours of collecting trash, we were able to fill thirteen canoes with trash. On the way back to the mainland (Deering Estate marina), the wind and sea shifted on us, it felt as if we were being punished for helping it. As our excursion ended, I stayed behind with some students to throw away all the trash we had collected, there was more than I originally thought.

Photo taken by John Bailly

 Bakehouse Art Complex: As my second community service activity I went to the Bakehouse Art Complex in Allapattah, Miami. I was able to be apart of an amazing art project whose goal was to raise awareness and money to fight the decay of our reefs. Two artists collaborated with a scientist from the east coast and together they are trying to send a message. When we first arrived, the artists described what the purpose of the project was, and then we got to work. We were tasked with molding clay into reef shapes. After almost an hour of molding and filling up buckets, they gave us our new task. We were tasked with pasting the molds of clay to large structures and make sure they stuck on. The structures were meant to dry and crack so that they look like the decaying reefs in our oceans. As our day came to an end, we were able to finish a structure for the artists and help them make their deadline.  

Photo taken of Lukas Stump by John Bailly

 When?

Summary:

At the end of the day, I am truly grateful for being able to contribute to society and help with important causes that need immediate attention. The trash cleanup and the art project were only two things I did this semester for community service and now that I have gotten a taste of how fulfilling it is, next semester I will be doing more. The trash clean up helped me realize how serious of a problem humans have with disposing of their trash. We, humans, are destroying our oceans and killing sea life all around the world. The art project showed me how important our reefs are and that they are diminishing more and more every day. These two community service opportunities were both wonderful and because of them I want to do more and convince others to help our planet no matter the cause.

Lukas Stump: South Beach 2020

Photo taken of Lukas Stump in Manhattan New York on October 12, 2020

Student Bio:

Hello, my name is Lukas Stump. I am 19 years old and of those years, 18 of them I spent living a in Panama City, Panama where I grew up. Currently, I am a sophomore at Florida International University honors college studying Internet of Things (IoT). This is my first semester at FIU and unfortunately, because of the ongoing Novel Corona Virus (Covid-19), I have not been able to receive the full FIU college experience it has to offer. Thankfully, I stumbled across this amazing class called Miami in Miami taught by one of my favorite professors so far, John William Bailly. I decided to take this class because of how new and unexperienced I was to Miami. With this class I have been able to expand my knowledge and forget what I think I new about Miami. Of all the neighborhoods throughout Miami South Beach calls my attention the most, that is why for my Ineffable Miami project I am choosing to learn and write more about this neighborhood.

Geography:

South Beach is in Miami Dade County at the southern end of the City of Miami Beach. It stretches from 14th street to 67th street. Across from it lies Fisher Island and Dodge Island. Miami Beach is somewhat of an island so to get to South Beach you need to either take the McArthur causeway, the new Venetian way, or the Intercoastal Waterway. To the left lies Biscayne Bay and to the right is the Atlantic Ocean. Although South Beach is an Island, there are some green parks you can find. At the top of this neighborhood you will find Collins Park and Soundscape Park. At the southern tip you can also enjoy the green outdoors at South Pointe Park. You can also enjoy the outdoors by going to the beach and swimming in the Atlantic Ocean.

History:

Miami Beach began to develop in 1870 when Henry and Charles Lomb ran across it while sailing from Key West. Henry and his son Charles decided to buy the land from the federal government for only 25 cents an acre. Shortly after, they built what would be known to be the first house on the beach. Before South Beach came to be, it was part of a barrier peninsula. It was not until the 1920’s that it became known as an island. On the side that bordered Biscayne Bay there were enormous mangroves. As you ventured towards the interior one would continue to find more mangroves. Unlike today, the interior was concave which resulted in a lot of water being collected, so it was pretty much a swamp. On the Atlantic side was the beach where we currently swim and enjoy the Atlantic Ocean. Today, we can drive, walk, or ride our bikes to get to South Beach, but in the late 19 century Miamians would hop on a fairy boat that would doc at what is known today as Flagler Street. The fairy would depart from there and go through Biscayne Bay and then doc on the bayside of Miami Beach. After getting off the fairy, you would walk through the mangroves on a wooden bridge they built until you got to the beach.

Lomb’s initial idea was to produce, sell, and export coconuts as a business. His idea failed because of the wind and rats that would kill the trees they planted. After being unsuccessful to make profit off their land, he sold it to a pioneer from New Jersey called John Collins. Collins believed that rather than trying to sell coconuts he would plant mangos, tomatoes, and avocados. It was with Collins that the clearing of mangroves and swamps began. To block out the wind he planted Australian Pine Trees, these trees are still found there today. Collins also built a canal known today as the Collins Canal. This made it easier for him to move around his produce and take it to the mainland to export it up north.

As Miami’s South Beach continued to attracted people and grow, everything changed one day when a visionary man found out about the “little paradise”, this man was Carl Fisher. Fisher was an industrialist from Indiana who at an early age (22 to 24 years old) made a fortune off cars. One of his most predominate creations was the Indianapolis Speedway. Fisher new that the automobile was the future, so he decided to build the first road designed for cars that would stretch form New York to San Francisco called the Lincoln Highway. After seeing how successful he was with the road he decided to build a road that would go from the north to southernmost tip of the United States (Miami, Florida) called the Dixie Highway. This highway brought rich investors form the industrial north. This road today is called 2nd Avenue and it lies in the heart and center of Miami.

Roads were beginning to get important in across the United States. John Collins realizes that the best way to really transform Miami Beach into what it is today he needed to build a road bridge for cars that connected with the mainland and stretched over Biscayne Bay to get to the beach. Unfortunately, Collins runs out of money to finish funding the bridge when it was only missing about a half a mile to finish. Luckily, Fisher steps in and finishes it for him for a price. Collins repays Fisher by giving him 200 acres of his land. The Collins bridge opened in 1913 and became the longest wooden bridge in the world, today it is known as the Venetian Bridge.

After the bridge was finished being built, Fisher and Collins, alongside many bankers from Miami, began to plan and make a resort on the island. Collins and Fisher had different ideas but the same goal. Collins thought the best move was to make Miami Beach the new Atlantic City from the south. On the other hand, Fisher believed the best move was create a winter beach retreat for the rich and famous people at the time. It was at this time that the real work began. Fisher brought engineers and workers to begin to clear the land. He dredged the swamps and filled them up, he used bay bottom to fill in the concaved area of the island and made it completely flat.

After flattening the land, the construction began. He made the first hotel called the Flamingo in South Beach. What was iconic about the Flamingo was because it was the first hotel, the wealthy stayed there while they had their mansions built. He also built the first Casino and pool right on Ocean Drive and 22nd street, a golf course, and polo field. He began to promote South Beach in all the papers and even got a billboard in Times Square. People from across the country wanted a piece of this action, South Beach began to flood with people. The federal government even gets involved, they cut a channel right through the beach and made the Port of Miami. From this cut an island was created, Fisher had a brilliant idea of what to do with this island, so he bought it. Today, that island is known as Fisher Island.

Demographics:

South Beach is a diverse neighborhood full of different races, religions, and genders. Miami Beach, which is the city South Beach is in has a population of 91,756. South Beach only carries 3,325 of that total. The population density is around 1,224 per square mile and the Male to Female ratio is around 0.9:1. 75.2% of people are white, 4.1% are black, 1.2% are Asian, and 55.6% are Hispanic Latino. The average income per household is around 240,000 dollars a year.

Interview of Victor Hernandez

Lukas: Hello Victor, can you introduce yourself and mention what kind of work you do?

Victor: Hello, my name is Victor Hernandez and I am a real-estate agent. I have lived in South Beach for many years now. However, most of my work is in other parts of Miami.

Lukas: What is favorite part about South Beach?

Victor: My part of South Beach would have to be Ocean Drive and the people who are here.

Lukas: Where is your favorite place to eat in South Beach?

Victor: My favorite place to eat is at at a restaurant called Puerto Sagua. It is my favorite cuban place to eat. When I first discovered it I could never get enough.

Lukas: How do you get around South Beach?

Victor: I own a car but I only use it when I leave South Beach for work. When I want to get around home I typically use my bicycle, sometimes the electric scooters when I feel like it.

Landmarks:

Holocaust Memorial(1933-1945 Meridian Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139)

Photo of the Holocaust Memorial taken by Lukas Stump

The Holocaust Memorial is one of South Beach’s most popular monument. The Memorial was done by a group of Holocaust survivors in 1984. It is meant to represent the 6 million Jews who perished at the hand of Nazi soldiers. It is also now part of the Jewish Museum.

Flagler Memorial (Island)

Photo of the Flagler Memorial taken by Lukas Stump

The Flagler Memorial is another popular monument found on South Beach. The obelisk sits on a man made island in Biscayne Bay. It was built to commemorate Henry Flagler who passed away in 1913. Flagler is accredited for developing Florida into what it is today, especially South Florida.

Bass Museum (2100 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139)

Photo of the Bass Museum taken by Lukas Stump

The Bass Museum is part of Collins Park. This museum is known to show case the art deco side of Miami. Inside you will find sculptures, artifacts, films, and more. The museum is named after John and Johanna Bass, who donated some of their wealth to establish it.

Green:

Collins Park (2100 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 3314)

Photo of Collins Park taken by Lukas Stump

Collins park is one of the bigger green areas you will find in South Beach. Next to it is the Bass Museum as mentioned previously. This park is meant more for walking your dog or enjoying the outside on the lawn. This park is named after John Collins, who is one of the founders of Miami Beach.

Collins park

Soundscape Park (400 17th St, Miami Beach, FL 33139)

Photo of Soundscape Park taken by Lukas Stump

If you ever find yourself wanting to clear your mind and take a stroll outside one evening, I suggest visiting Soundscape park. This park is amongst my favorite in South Beach. It has an amazing mosaic path and an abundance of palm trees. Everyone gathers in the evening to chill and have a goodtime.

Flamingo Park (1200 Meridian Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139)

Photo of Flamingo Park taken by Lukas Stump

Flamingo park is the go to green space in South Beach if you are looking to work out. Here you will find public exercise equipment, tennis courts, soccer fields, and more. It also has a baseball field that was used as training ground for some big teams back in the day.

Transportation:

At South Beach there are many ways to get around, some are convenient, and some make your life more difficult. The easiest way of getting around is either on bike or by using the electric bird scooters you can find anywhere, just tap and go. Motorcycles are also an efficient and cheap way of getting around. There is public transportation such as cabs and the bus that can get you to place as well. If you feel like showing off your whip you can always drive around the streets but just to warn you, there are streetlights everywhere, pedestrians, and limited expensive parking.

Food:

Tanuki (1080 Alton Rd, Miami Beach, FL 33139)

Photo of Tanuki taken by Lukas Stump

South Beach is full of different kinds of cultures and food. Tanuki is a Pan-Asian sit in dining restaurant. Its rating on google is 4.4 stars, 4 stars on trip advisor, and 4.5 stars for me . The inside is really fancy and feels like you are in an authentic Asian setting. If your wondering what to get, you can not go wrong with their sushi.

CVI.CHE 105 (1245 Lincoln Rd, Miami Beach, FL 33139)

Photo of CVI.CHE taken by Lukas Stump

CVI.CHE 105 is a Peruvian style restaurant. Its menu varies from food from the ocean to food on land. Inside the restaurant it is very modern and fun. On google this restaurant is given 4.7 stars, my rating is a 5. The food is amazing and caters to everyone, if you go you must try one of their ceviches.

Al Basha Grill (1533 Washington Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139)

Al Basha Grill is an amazing whole in the wall Mediterranean restaurant that will blow your mind. Although it is nothing fancy, I have got to admit the food there is as authentic as it can come, Google rates it 4.3 stars and I give it a 4.5. I recommend getting there famous halal burgers, they don’t have a sign outside advertising it for nothing.

Businesses:

Club Madonna

Photo of Club Madonna taken by Lukas Stump

Club Madonna is a local Strip club in South Beach. I chose to write about it because of its reputation and because of the stories that have come from it. When you look this business up the first things you see are negative articles about it and claims of it being “the worst club in Miami.” This club has been there for years and you’d think they should be shut down because of their reviews but really it is a hot spot for tourists. This place has a crazy history and that is why I chose it.

Delano (17th Street Entrance – Poolside Restaurant, 1685 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139)

Photo of the Delano taken by Lukas Stump

The Delano is an iconic hotel in South Beach. I feel that because it is not on Ocean Drive, it doesn’t get enough credit for what it actually is. This place has an extensive history that begins in 1947. The Delano was built by architect Rose Schwartz and was initially used as military housing. This beach club was the tallest building in South Beach in its time and it is part of the art deco theme. In 1994 it was renovated and now it still stands tall and proud on the corner of 17th street.

Cameo (1445 Washington Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139)    

Photo of the Cameo taken by Lukas Stump

The Cameo was an iconic theater back in the day. Over the years it has turned into many things and has hosted many venues over its time. Today, it stands as one of the biggest night clubs in South Beach. The Cameo is a hot spot for the night life of South Beach, all sorts of people and celebrities’ go there to party.

Summary:

In the end, South Beach is more than just the beach, Ocean Drive, and the nightlife. Every place I chose to visit and write about were places I did not know existed. It amazed me how South Beach had everything you would ever need, there is never need to leave the island because of how well it has been developed and organized. The people from this neighborhood are all unique in their special way and make you feel welcome when you visit. Although South Beach takes up a small portion of Miami Beach, it is huge!!! I recommend you go and visit South Beach if you ever find your self in Miami, trust me you will not regret it.

References:

“Miami Beach, Florida Population 2020,” Miami Beach, Florida Population 2020 (Demographics, Maps, Graphs). [Online]. Available: https://worldpopulationreview.com/us-cities/miami-beach-fl-population.

“U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts: Miami Beach city, Florida,” Census Bureau QuickFacts. [Online]. Available: https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/miamibeachcityflorida/POP060210. [Accessed: 13-Dec-2020].

“Holocaust Memorial Miami Beach: History,” The Holocaust Memorial of Miami Beach. [Online]. Available: https://holocaustmemorialmiamibeach.org/about/history/. [Accessed: 13-Dec-2020].

“South Beach, Florida Population 2020,” South Beach, Florida Population 2020 (Demographics, Maps, Graphs). [Online]. Available: https://worldpopulationreview.com/us-cities/south-beach-fl-population. [Accessed: 13-Dec-2020].

T. McCoy, “Club Madonna, Where 13-Year-Old Allegedly Stripped, Is Miami’s Worst Strip Club, Reviewers Say,” Miami New Times, 09-Jan-2019. [Online]. Available: https://www.miaminewtimes.com/news/club-madonna-where-13-year-old-allegedly-stripped-is-miamis-worst-strip-club-reviewers-say-6528261. [Accessed: 13-Dec-2020].

“The Glories of Flamingo Park,” The Miami Mirror. [Online]. Available: http://miamimirror.blogspot.com/2016/09/the-glories-of-flamingo-park.html. [Accessed: 13-Dec-2020].

“CAMEO Miami Nightclub: Venue Rental: South Beach: Hip Hop,” CAMEO Nightclub, 12-Jun-2020. [Online]. Available: https://cameomiami.com/. [Accessed: 13-Dec-2020].

Bing. [Online]. Available: https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=old+miami+beach. [Accessed: 13-Dec-2020].

“WLRN History,” PBS, 14-Jul-2015. [Online]. Available: https://www.pbs.org/video/wlrn-film-shorts-man-who-built-miami-beach/. [Accessed: 13-Dec-2020].

Lukas Stump: Miami as Text 2020

Photo taken by Lukas Stump in New York October 12, 2020

My name is Lukas Stump. I was born in Germany but grew up in Panama City, Panama (Central America) my whole life. I came to the United States to study, and have been in Miami for a year now. I am currently studying computer engineering at FIU. What I plan to do with my major is to help expand Panama technologically and help us to continue progressing as a country. Although we are still developing as a nation we are the most advanced country in Central America.

I chose to take Miami in Miami because since I’ve been here I haven’t really been able to experience much, it pretty much has been work and study. With this class I am hoping to broaden my knowledge and gain experience here in Miami.

Deering as Text

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is deering-estate-mim-2.jpeg
Photo taken by Lukas Stump at the Deering Estate Miami, FL. September 2, 2020

“Untouched Miami”

By Lukas Stump of FIU at the Deering Estate September 2, 2020

A year and a couple days ago I was looking for somewhere to study and I chose Miami because it was the place that reminded me of home the most. As I shuffled through many photos and videos describing life here there was no mention of a place like the Deering Estate. The videos were more about what you could do in the city and at the beach. Thanks to my professor in the Miami in Miami class I was able to get a taste of Miami’s roots. The Deering Estate was the closest I felt to home than I have in a while. It reminded me of many places in Panama City, Panama. The scenery was breathtaking and the environment rich. From tropical forests to pine rocklands and water caves the Deering Estate allowed us to get into touch with mother nature.

Our tour began walking down the original old Cutler road, which led us to a small boat basin where we saw manatees hanging out. Our next adventure began in the tropical forest where the native Tequestas were from. We were able to see first hand what they ate and the tools they made. On the ground we saw a bunch of shells and conchs that were used as tools by them. As we continued our journey we stumbled across a huge oak tree on a mound. The oak tree was surrounded by a family that were buried there. Finally, we ended our excursion through the forest by visiting a plane crash cite that was suspected to have been flown by cocaine drug mules.

Next, we visited a pine rocklands biome. There we walked through crystal clear water and over huge boulders that have been there for years. Over time the water cut through the the rock creating caves off all sizes

For those of you who are interested in learning and experiencing what Miami originally looked like at the turn of the 20th century, I recommend you visit the Deering Estate.

Pro tip: bring water, sunscreen, bug spray, and get ready to walk and get wet.

South Beach as text

Photo taken by Lukas Stump at South Beach Miami, FL. September 16, 2020

“A trip to the past at South Beach”

By Lukas Stump of FIU at South Beach September 16, 2020

Going to South Beach, especially ocean drive was like stepping back into time and living in the 20th century. We started our journey on South Point Peer which stretched over the beautiful crystal blue ocean. It was sunny out and you could not ask for better weather.

I learned how Fischer made what is known today as South Beach. Its history is both incredible, sad, and should never be forgotten. The South Beach we all know and love today was built by the Bohemians. These people were treated unfairly due to the color of their skin and the time in which they lived in. Believe it or not, Fischer Island, which is now very exclusive, used to be the beach were the Afro Americans who built it would swim. After a while Fischer was able to acquire it and send them off t0 another beach.

After the peer, we walked down Ocean Drive. This was the highlight of the trip in my eyes because we were able to all the different type of art-deco buildings that have not been changed for years. There is a law that prohibits the modification of these buildings if they do not follow that style. The key features to this style of building were the colors and the shapes they used in their designs for example, the colors were pastel and every building either had eyelashes, rocket shapes, and boar windows. It is amazing to see how well preserved these buildings are and I hope they remain like this for ever.

Downtown Miami as Text

Photo taken by Lukas Stump, Downtown Miami September 30, 2020

“Culturally Mixed”

By Lukas Stump of FIU at the Downtown Miami September 30, 2020

            Miami is a very culturally mixed city with its population being from across the world. This wasn’t any different before it became the Miami we all know and love today. In a park by the government center sits the oldest house in Miami which belonged to a German man and his bride, a Native American woman. As you go deeper into downtown Miami you can the skyscrapers that sit along the Miami River. In the heart of the city on the mouth of the river, there is a burial site which is believed to be the spot where the Tequestas saw the Spanish conquers coming on their ships.

In the heart of Downtown Miami lies the heart and center of Miami. During my trip there I was able to stand in the middle of Zero Street or Calle Zero. Not to far from there, there was a draw bridge that opened on either side to let large boats go through. This was an immediate flash back for me because back home the canal did the same thing.

Towards the end of my trip to Downtown Miami I was able to see where the Liberty Tower was. This tower was used to process the peter pan kids from Cuba. It also was used to process many Latin’s that wanted to enter the United States through Miami. It now functions as a display museum owned by Miami Dade College. Overall, Downtown Miami was a very beautiful place full of diversity and people form different places.

P.S our very own Miami Heat play in the Triple A arena. Go heat!!!

Chicken Key as Text

Photo taken by John Bailly at Chicken Key, FL. October 14, 2020

“Leave no trace”

By Lukas Stump of FIU at the Chicken Key September 2, 2020

Our trip to chicken key is by far my most memorable experience I have had in Miami. Being able to group up with everyone from the class and help the environment by picking up trash. It was also the first time I have swam in Biscayne Bay. The paddle out was beautiful, and the conditions could not have been more perfect. They ocean was a crystal clear blue and the perfect temperature. It was astonishing how shallow it was 1 mile out from the shore, on the way back it was shin deep.

The amount of trash we found on the island was not a sight for sore eyes. I was disappointed with humans after finding the amount of trash we did. After seeing so much trash, especially plastic, I thought back and realized that I could do so much more to help the environment.

On our way back we all experienced the rough wind and the current of the ocean pulling us away from the Deering Estate marina. It felt as if we were on a treadmill not progressing anywhere. Once we made it back, I was able to see how much trash we really picked up as we threw it into the dumpster. At the end of the day this was an amazing experiencing full of surprises and fun!!   

Bakehouse as text

Photo taken by Lukas Stump at The Bakehouse Art Complex 28 October 2020 cc

“Saving our Reefs”

By Lukas Stump of FIU at Rubell Museum, 22 November 2020

This past Wednesday I was able to help save our reefs by participating in an art project in The Bakehouse art Complex that is trying to raise money and awareness. Before we began to help, we were given a brief explanation on what is going on with our reefs today and how important they are to sustain human life. Reefs are like the cities of the ocean. All sorts of aquatic species gather there and benefit from it, whether its for food, nesting, or living. Without reefs our way of life is at threat. As our professor put it, removing reefs form our oceans is like not having insects to spread pollen. It is hard to believe how molding clay and pasting it to large structures can help save our reefs, it is the little things that help the most­­. The structures spread across the room are meant to represent the reefs around the world. Over time the clay dries and cracks and looses its colors. This is meant to show how reefs look like and it represents how they are dying every day.

In the end, I was truly blessed to be a part of something this great. The work those artists are doing is really inspiring. A couple years from now I can look back and say that I took part in something bigger than myself. Gratefully, I was able to stay longer and help during both class sessions and what I saw was beautiful. We all came together to help save our reefs. Wednesday October 28, 2020 is a day I will never forget.

Rubell as Text

Photo taken by Lukas Stump at the Rubell Museum in Miami, Florida November 22, 2020, Art by Yayoi Kusama

“Thinking the Contemporary way”

By Lukas Stump of FIU at Rubell Museum, 22 November 2020

When it comes to understanding contemporary art, you need to open your mind and just accept the fact that what your looking at is art. In the past I have visited contemporary art exhibits and say to myself “if that’s what they are calling art I should be a millionaire” and things like “wow I could do that.” All of this changed on the 18th of November 2020. My professor took us to the Rubell Museum and showed me that what was on display was in fact art. One of the pieces was a 20th century vacuum in a clear plex glass siting on LED fluorescent lights. At first, I was stubborn an began to think in the closed-minded manor I used to, but after hearing the explanation the professor gave I could not unsee it, it was art!!

The highlight of the day was our first exhibit, the Infinity Mirrored Room by Yayoi Kusama. We owe a special thanks to the manager of the museum Juan for allowing us access to it. What impacted me the most about this piece was when I first stepped in and saw many of my reflections I thought “am I the best version of myself?” This allowed me to reflect on my self and see that some aspects of my life needed changing. Another exhibit I enjoyed was the black family embracing each other. It represented the injustice black citizens face every day in America.

Overall, our trip to the Rubell museum was educational, inspiring, and a whole lot of fun. Not only did we learn to interpret contemporary art but also learned messages from the art itself.