Vox Student Blog

Luzmariana Iacono: ASC See Miami Fall 2020

The NSU Art Museum in Fort Lauderdale


Luzmariana Iacono in Doral, Florida, 2020

Luzmariana Iacono is a driven individual in her junior year at the honors College in Florida International University. She is double majoring in Marketing and International Business and is passionate about the entrepreneurial aspect of business. Artistic by nature, Luzmariana recently started her own career in the beauty industry as a professional Makeup Artist with a specialization in Editorial and Avant-Garde makeup.


The NSU Art Museum is located in South Florida Art Coast (1 E Las Olas Blvd, Fort Lauderdale) right next to the amazing Las Olas Boulevard, which is characteristic for its shops, galleries, and al fresco dining options. Thanks to a cultural partnership with other museums, performing arts centers, and music entertainment, the Riverwalk Arts & Entertainment Consortium brings joy and a fun experience both by day or by night by allowing people to walk around along the New River in downtown Fort Lauderdale to enjoy different activities and shops. There are different parking options around the area including public parking, city park garage, parking meters, and handicapped/disabled parking is FREE for up to 4 hours.


Luzmariana Iacono at NSU Art Museum, Fort Lauderdale, December 2020. Photo Taken by Alfonso Montero

The NSU Art Museum was founded in 1958 and since then it has become the perfect destination for viewing exhibitions that come from all around the world – which fits perfectly with the multicultural reality that is Miami. The museum’s permanent collection was established with acquisitions of American and European paintings and sculpture, Pre-Columbian, African, and Native American art. It holds the largest collection of Cobra art and several strong collections of works by Latin American and Cuban artists. However, the museum was not always this successful, as it suffered a fire incident in 1967 that destroyed valuable artworks by George Inness, Rufino Tamayo and Diego Rivera, which meant relocating the museum. After struggling to find a home base, in 1984 it finally found the perfect place and in 2008 the museum began a partnership with Nova Southeastern University.


From the NSU Art Museum Website: 

“The mission of NSU Art Museum is to provide exceptional opportunities to access, learn from and be inspired by the highest level of visual artistic expression throughout time and from around the world, and to engage a wide audience by offering diverse and innovative exhibitions, dynamic education and public programs, and by developing an exceptional collection, and fostering original research and intellectual inquiry.”

What this mission strives to communicate is that the NSU Art Museum is committed to bringing art from all around the world and of different times. Given the variety of art exhibitions and collections, guests receive a full dynamic and innovative experience upon entering the museum. It fosters original research and offers public programs and education to enrich the curious mind.


Coronavirus Update: the museum reopened to the public on Tuesday, September 15. Meanwhile the opening times will respect the schedule, the capacity of the museum is reduced (at 25%) for the safety of all visitors, staff, and volunteers. There are also new health and safety procedures and guidelines, including social distancing, face coverings, enhanced cleaning and disinfection protocols. In-person tours are currently limited to smaller groups and upon inquiry; live tours are available by contacting the group sales office or through email.

Museum Hours: The museum is open Tuesday – Saturday from 11 a.m – 5 p.m. Sunday hours are from 12 p.m to 5 pm, Monday is the only day closed. 

“Sunny Days”: Free Admission the first Thursday of every month 11 a.m – 5 p.m; initiative presented by AutoNation. 

General Admission Ticket Fees: 

Adults: $12

Seniors and Military: $8 

Students (13-17) and college students (with a valid ID): $5

FREE for NSU Art Museum Members, NSU students, faculty and staff, and children 12 and under. 

Membership Levels and Benefits: 

Student ($25 with valid student ID)

100% Charitable Contribution 

  • Includes Individual Member benefits  

Educator ($55 with valid educator ID

100% Charitable Contribution 

  • Includes Individual Member benefits  

NSU Alumni Membership ($55) 

100% Charitable Contribution 

  • Includes Individual Member benefits  

Individual Membership ($80): 

100% Charitable Contribution 

  • Free, unlimited general admission
  • Free or discounted admission to Museum programs
  • 10% discount at the Museum Store & Cafe 
  • Opportunity to join Docents, Beaux Arts, Friends Auxiliary groups

Museum Enthusiast/ Family ($160) 

  • $10 Value of Goods & Services 
  • Includes Individual level benefits 
  • Membership benefits for a family ( 2 adults and children 13-18 years old) 
  • Two complementary Museum guest passes
  • Free admission and select member benefits to cultural institutions within NARM

Patron ($525) 

  • $50 Value of Goods & Services 
  • Includes Enthusiast/Family level benefits 
  • Select Miami Art Week perks
  • 10 complimentary Museum guest passes

Benefactor ($1,075) 

  • $50 Value of Goods & Services
  • Includes Patron level benefits 
  • Special annual donor reception
  • Priority notice for lectures and performances
  • Membership in the NSU President’s Associates 
  • 15 complimentary Museum guest passes

Collectors Circle ($5,000) 

  • $225 Value of Goods & Services
  • Includes Benefactor level benefits
  • Private, guided tours of select exhibitions, collections or galleries with Museum Director and Chief Curator
  • Opportunity to vote on new Museum Acquisitions 
  • Recognition on Annual Donor Wall in Museum lobby 
  • 25 complimentary Museum guest passes

Cobra Circle (By-Invitation only $525) 

  • $50 Value of Goods & Services 
  • Includes Patron level benefits 
  • Members play a leadership role in the Museum’s future, and the events and programs hosted provide educational and social opportunities.
    • Exclusive invitations to those events and tours of private collections

One East Society Individual ($150) / Dual ($250) 

  • $10 Value of Goods & Services
  • Includes Museum Enthusiast/Family level benefits 
  • Exclusive invitation to One East Society events and other customized programming for art enthusiasts (ages 21 – 40) 


NSU Art Museum has an extensive collection of more than 7,500 works, and it has recently received a generous gift of 100 works from the contemporary art collection of David Horvitz and Francie Bishop Good. The permanent collection embraces culture in all of its shapes and forms (works of Latin-American and Cuban modern contemporary art), and it values the work of several women artists.

Andy Warhol, Mao Tse-tung, 1972 . Photo taken by Luzmariana Iacono

Andy Warhol was considered part of the Pop Art movement and was known for using imagery from popular culture and mass media. He began working on this series of portraits of Mao Zedong after President Richard M. Nixon visited China in 1972. This turning point gave the opportunity to discuss diplomatic relations between Communist China and the U.S. 

Teresita Fernandez, Dew,  2003. Photo Taken by Luzmariana Iacono

This wall assemblage formed by small acrylic cubes in different shades to represent evaporating dew can leave the viewer perplexed. It is beautiful, but what does it mean? The author aims to explain that touch is a more reliable sense than sight and it has always been the way that infants first approach the world. Starting from the psychological explanation that perception is relative and sight is unreliable, touch seems to be a more exciting and curious way to interact with art and the world around us. 

Glenn Ligon, Untitled (I live on my shadow), 2009. Photo taken by Luzmariana Iacono  

Glenn Ligon gained recognition in 1989 for his paintings that consisted of text coming from literature and other sources. He explores American history, literature, and socio-economic circumstances through conceptual art and paintings. What I love the most about this neon sign is that the initial reaction to it was “this person is an introvert, mysterious” but in reality it refers to abolitionist Sojourner Truth’s carte de visite (1864). Truth was a former slave who would sell his photographs to tell his story, in fact, shadow refers to photography and he was living on that truth. It was an empowering move for him, and Glenn Ligon wanted to tell that story through these neon signs. 


I Paint my Reality: Surrealism in Latin America

One of the displays featured in the second floor, dedicated to Latin American Surrealism. Photo taken by Luzmariana Iacono

Among the different exhibitions that will be on view until 2021, this one mostly caught my attention for its unique title and exceptional work as in the avant-garde Surrealist style. This exhibition follows the features works by Leonora Carrington, Frida Kahlo, Wifredo Lam, Roberto Matta, Carlos Merida, Amelia Pelaez among others. It is significant to the museum because it examines the Surrealist movement in Latin America in the 1930s and its continued impact today. The amount of imagery showcased in the different artworks is mesmerizing, as they also focus on topics such as dreams, mythologies, magical cultures, and indigenous cultures. 

Pablo Cano, Lady Liberty and St. Catherine, 2001. Photo taken by Luzmariana Iacono

Pablo Cano is known for utilizing marionettes, constructs, and stages them in elaborate performances to represent connections with mythical goddesses, or to symbolize political, religious, and visual significance as it is the case with Lady Liberty  and St. Catherine.

Cesar Menendez, La Fiesta del Disfraz, 1992. Photo Taken by Luzmariana Iacono

Cesar Menendez expresses through art various aspects of his culture by including religious processions of priests and other religious figures and costumes. This artwork might make the viewer feel uneasy and wonder what the meaning behind such figures is. These are aspects of Surrealism and Magical Realism.

Transitions and Transformations 

Transitions and Transformations transforms Remember to React, which was a previous installation in the museum. This exhibition will continue to change over the year as new works are added and removed. They all follow the same topic though: time and its changes.

Genevieve Gaignard, Nothing Can Dim The Light That Shines From Within, 2018. Photo Taken bu Luzmariana Iacono

One beautiful lady, with flowers protruding from her head. One interpretation could be growth, new ideas, and the representation of femininity. However, what the artist aims to explore is also issues of race, class, and the feeling of not fitting in. As a daughter of a mixed-racial couple she could identify with anxieties of intersectional identity. 


The NSU Art Museum offers: 

  • “Sunny Days” – Free Admission the first Thursday of every month 11 a.m – 5 p.m
  • Group tours
  • Virtual tours
  • At-Home art activities 
  • Art talks and events
  • Creativity exploration (offering prompts to inspire creative ideas and promote self-discovery).
  • Education resources 


Alfonso Montero, Miami Resident and FIU student 

Is it the first time that you visit this museum? What brought you here today?

  • I found it interesting when researching different museums around the area, and I thought I could check it out. 

What was your favorite part of the museum?

  • I really liked the modern art exhibits, the Surrealism section showing all the different viewpoints they had. I was not much of a fan of the drawings section but a lot of the pieces were interesting and diverse. The charcoal piece by Nathalie Alfonso was an amazing abstract art and it was a good way to bring some permanent fixtures that can seamlessly blend into any sort of exhibit they decide to put there. 

What have you learned from this museum? 

  • Some of the backstories of the artists were interesting. I remembered some of the pieces from the Mexican artist from the 1930’s and 1940’s were interesting because I was able to see the mentality of people based on the era they lived and where they lived in. 


Cathy Iglesias, Front Desk Assistant at the NSU Art Museum 

How long have you been working here? And what has attracted you to this museum in particular? 

  • I have been working here for a year and a few months. This museum is closer to my home and my other job, it is very flexible with my school schedule and they are very accommodating. 

Are you studying anything relating to art? Why is this museum special in its own way?

  • Not at the moment, but I did art for 4 years in high school and enjoyed it. I feel like this museum is very diverse because we have the Latin American Surrealism, for example, and we have the new art South Florida which allows local artists from 3 counties (West Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami) to have exhibits here now as well. 

Given the current situation with the pandemic right now, how many visitors do you receive on a daily basis?

  • It could be as low as 10 people to 50 or 60 on average. The weekends are more packed, but at the moment we do not host any in-person events, just online, in order to maintain social distance. 

Out of all the exhibitions there are, which one would you say is your personal favorite? Why? 

  • As a Latino myself, it would be the Latin American Surrealism because it represents all of us and tells our story through art. 


The NSU Art Museum is captivating to the eye of young adults for its vibrant building and “Happy Clouds” that most people post on their social media representing the museum. It is a type of museum that allows people to enjoy their time admiring beautiful paintings, an impactful section dedicated to Constructivism exhibits, and upstairs several art installations capture the eyes of visitors. Beyond such beauty there is a sense of unity through a diverse culture as several artists are represented and each given the appropriate value and importance –  Latin American, African, Native American, and an emphasis on women artists. Moreover, time can be felt through these exhibitions as they all come from different eras and showcase their importance in history, including the effect of the current pandemic; in fact, one of the art installations is a live camera that records life during COVID-19, facing a park where people usually play but now it is empty or with a few people covered by masks. This museum is inspiring and it allows you to connect to your inner self and, as an immigrant, you feel understood in the Surrealism section found on the second floor. As a museum lover, I appreciate the fact that there is a balance between colorful, joyful, and light-hearted type of art with history and deep meaning behind each artwork. 


Goethals, Kelley, et al. “About the Museum.” NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale, Kelley Goethals Https://Nsuartmuseum.org/Wp-Content/Uploads/2015/07/Nsu-Art-Museum-Logo-Blk-v2.Png, 23 June 2020, nsuartmuseum.org/museum/about-the-museum/. 

Valys, Phillip. “A Brief History of the NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale.” SouthFlorida, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 5 Apr. 2019, http://www.sun-sentinel.com/entertainment/theater-and-arts/sf-nsu-art-museum-fort-lauderdale-timeline-history-20170706-story.html. 

Sydielim Chong: ICA Miami 2020

Institute of Contemporary Art

Student Biography
Picture of Sydielim taken by Mileidys Chong, 2018 (CC by 4.0)

Sydielim Chong is a passionate 19-year-old student at Florida International University. Sydielim is on a pre-law track majoring in criminal justice while also applying a minor in statistics. Sydielim is a full-time tutor for Bright and Brainy Tutoring. Sydielim also enjoys watching movies, especially thrillers, and loves going out on adventures in hopes of exploring new things all over the world. As a part of Art Society Conflict, she hopes to learn more of the valuable history behind Miami and the artistic culture rooted in the city.

Photo of the front of the Institute of Contemporary Art taken by Sydielim Chong. (CC by 4.0)

The Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) is located in the Miami Design District right next to Wynwood. This is an area previously defined by low median income and hence, an area characterized by gentrification many years later. Although this may hold negative connotation at first, I feel that with one of ICA’s initiatives being that it holds art done by local and upcoming artists, the institution serves as a beacon of advancement for the people currently and previously living in this area instead of one that symbolizes the country’s growing wage gap. The institution serves as a bridge between the people of the community and its own, home-grown artistic expression. 

Additionally, by being located near Downtown Miami, the site of Art Basel Miami, the institution positions itself to aptly accommodate the outpour of art enthusiasts from the annual convention thereby furthering the platform it is to further the work of upcoming artists.


The Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) first opened in 1996 under the Museum of Contemporary Art in a building designed by Charles Gwathmey. Funded by Norman Braman and his wife, the ICA is dedicated to providing a platform for local, emerging, and under-recognized artists. The ICA most values advancing art and it being connected to our modern-day reality.

In 2014, due to municipal concerns, the board of the museum filed a lawsuit against the city for the right to relocate, leading to the development of the Institute of Contemporary Art in 2017 at the current location in the Design District of Miami. The ICA currently resides in the Miami Design District which is fitting considering the fact that this area of Miami highly appreciates artwork and underground artists which goes hand-in-hand with the ICA’s goal.


The mission of the ICA is solely to get under-recognized artists more recognition in order for them to continue their journeys. The ICA is composed of dozens of exhibitions of artists one has probably never heard of, and that is the exact point of the museum; to get visitors to discover new, local, and underrated artists.

The ICA also promotes the advancements of experimentation in contemporary art through promoting the sharing of art and concepts throughout the city of Miami and worldwide. This is done by a dynamic year-round schedule in which exhibitions, works, and collections are presented and rotated allowing for a multitude of artists and their works to be showcased. By having a rapidly shifting collection visitors are encouraged to come multiple times a year thereby maximizing the exposure given to emerging artists.


Admission to the Institute of Contemporary Art is free of charge as their mission is to get local and up and coming artists the recognition they deserve. Though admission is free, the ICA does require that visitors reserve their tickets in advance, thus making it easier to admit visitors in by simply scanning their reserved ticket upon entry.

One-day admission is free, though they do have a membership which costs $50 annually. This membership includes a personalized membership card, invitations to VIP events such as opening receptions for new exhibitions, exclusive networking events, 20% discount at ICA shop. Reserved seating at all ICA public programs, free parking, exclusive discounts in the Miami Design District, and much more. With proof, artists, students, educators, seniors, and military personnel are eligible for this membership at $20 off, making it only a $30 annual fee.  


The ICA has over 100 permanent artworks, most of which are donated to them by other museums or by artists themselves. Despite having so many artworks in their hands, they aren’t all on display. The institute makes it a point to consistently rotate around art, this way, their mission of getting under-recognized artists more attention is always prioritized. Though they do re-exhibit the artworks they own, it is a very small percentage of permanent artworks that are on display. When I visited the museum, there were about 7-8 artworks from their collection on display. 

I Want a President” by Zoe Leonard

Photo taken by Sydielim Chong of letter by Zoe Leonard. (CC by 4.0)

One of the permanent works at The ICA is Zoe Leonard’s, “I want a president”. The text work is a poem in which Leonard longs for a president characterized by the experiences of a populace instead of that of the elite. The poem was written in 1992 alongside poet Eileen Myles’s campaign for U.S. president against opponents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton. Leonard writes of numerous longings for a president candidate including, “I want a president with no airconditioning, a president who has stood on line at the clinic, at the dmv, at the welfare office and has been unemployed and layed off and sexually harrassed and gaybashed and deported.” 

The work highlights the divide between U.S. government officials and the governed and serves to bring attention to the growing divide between a people and its political representatives and leaders. Written at a time when political awareness was at a peak due to the AIDS epidemic, the work served as a call to action to the people to hold elected officials accountable. Interestingly enough, the work is still cited in today’s political climate and even contains wording relevant to the recent 2020 election with “I want a president who isn’t the lesser of two evils.” The work expresses the sentiment held by the common people today and serves to bring attention to the notion that our elected officials are removed from our experiences by a growing margin everyday. Personally, I feel the work is very fitting as a part of The ICA’s permanent collection being that the institute aims to further under appreciated artists in the same manner that this work speaks for those that are underrepresented. 

“March For Our Lives” by Keith Mayerson

Photo of artwork “March for Our Lives” taken by Sydielim Chong. (CC by 4.0)

The ICA also features the work of Keith Mayerson. Particularly that of “March For Our Lives” and “Rome”. Mayerson’s work is characterized by pieces that aim to immortalize important and polarizing moments and figures from U.S. history. The work “March For Our Lives” depicts the 2018 Marjory Stoneman Douglas School shooting survivor Emma Gonzalez in her speech at the March For Our Lives demonstration of March 2018. Particularly, the work aims to capture Gonzalez during the six minutes and twenty seconds of silence, the same amount of time in which the shooting took place, she held in honor of her fallen classmates.

“LeRage” by Arthur Jafa

Photo of “LeRage” taken by Sydielim Chong. (CC by 4.0)

Arthur Jafa is a filmmaker and artist that seeks to depict and orchestrate through his art the connection between visual arts and blackness. As per the words of Jafa, he aims to “make black cinema with the power, beauty, and alienation of black music”. The work depicted above, LeRage, is a life size print of the Marvel Comics character The Hulk. Typically a creature characterized by a vivid green skin, Jafa’s iteration features a much darkened skin tone to serve as commentary on cultural perception and blackness. This work, strongly drawing on Jafa’s interest in science fiction, illustrates for its viewer the intricacies associated with black representation and the black experience in society through the vehicle of The Hulk character.


At the time of my visit to the ICA, two temporary exhibitions were being presented.

Tomás Esson: The GOAT

Dates on display: July 8th, 2020 – May 2nd, 2021

This exhibition was actually the first solo museum exhibition of Cuban painter Tomás Esson featuring works spanning across the artist’s 30 year career. It is also interesting to note that his earlier works were also presented via reinterpretation at the exhibition. 

Esson’s works feature an almost chaotic energy starring mythological creatures, political commentary, and sexual representation. It is for that reason, and for his eagerness to call out hypocrisy within Cuban society, that his first exhibition in Havana, Cuba in 1988 was prematurely shut down by government officials. 

Although a large percentage of Esson’s influence was derived from his living in Havana starting with his birth in 1963 and subsequent study at Instituto Superior de Arte, the works spanning across his celebrated career feature influences from Miami and Paris as well, both of which were homes for Esson at one point or another after his departure from Cuba in 1990.

Photo of “Patria o Muerte” taken by Sydielim Chong. (CC by 4.0)

As depicted above, the works displayed featured mythical creatures in sexual embrace along with the repeating motif of a silver talisman composed of glistening flesh. After his departure from Cuba to New York in 1990, Esson continued the general theme in which he previously composed his works coming up with new and innovative ways to express his common themes. His works from this period also demonstrate his development as an artist and are often able to be easily identified in regards to the timeline of his career. His moving to Miami in 2015 saw a shift in depicting the flora of the city with the sexual themes he so often explored.

Allan McCollum: Works since 1969

Dates on display: March 26th, 2020 – January 17, 2021

Interestingly enough, this exhibition, like that of Esson’s, was also a first for Allan McCollum as it was the first museum retrospective held in the United States for the artist. The exhibition at the ICA at the time of my visit featured works from all across the artist’s five decade long career.

Photo taken by Sydielim Chong of artwork by Allan McCollum. (CC by 4.0)

McCollum, in his works, explores the relation between his subject and its uniqueness, context, and value in society as a parallelism to the museum it may be presented in being that the artwork is also a part of the museum’s collection. McCollum focuses on the notion of a collection as a vehicle by which we may come to understand how we collect and value various material possessions, often times obsessively. His most early works in the collection feature large, repetitive presentations of common consumer goods such as dye and bleach in order to create a reiterated piece of art as a whole. This is done to reflect on the collections that common people may collect such as that of sports memorabilia or family photos. In works such as that of The Dog from Pompei (1991), McCollum explores the relation between copies and originals by way of displaying numerous casts of the famous fossil from the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in the year AD 79.

Special Programs

The ICA has four public events completely free to the public. These events and programs are a way to build art within Miami and bring artists and the community together.  The signature public programs of ICA Miami both facilitate the diversity of information and promote creative development. ICA has a variety of programs which are all free to the public and consist of bringing people together in the world of free expression, creativity, and art as a whole. Below you will find just a couple of the many other special programs ICA offers.

ICA’s Family Day:

One of ICA’s most popular programs is ‘family day.’ Family day, currently, is held on the third Sunday of October through December. During family day, the museum digitally showcases a variety of animated films.

ICA Ideas:

ICA’s Ideas program is dedicated to arising discussion within the community based on artists and their artworks. This program is known for inviting acclaimed artists to speak with the visitors about their artworks.

Young Artists Initiative:

Another one of their many programs which caught my attention was their young artists initiative program. This is a program in which students in high school with an interest in art can explore a practice in which they get to meet artists, participate in exhibitions, and even create artworks to expand their portfolios.


Interview with visitor, Huzaifa Bin-Rahman, 20, Miami resident.

Have you been to this museum before? If so, what brings you back to this museum?

I’ve been to this museum once before, this is my second visit here. I haven’t been to too many other museums, but I’d say this is definitely one of my favorites. It’s in the design district near Wynwood so it’s definitely in the right spot for the type of art it presents. The feel and vibe of this place is definitely one of modernity which I can most definitely appreciate. Both times I’ve come here I’ve felt welcomed and encouraged even to look around as opposed to being in some sort of high-brow environment. I respect and support local artists and creators for their drive and passion for what they do and I feel that ICA really does provide a platform for their work to be displayed. There’s always new pieces so that definitely has me coming back and I can see myself coming back here a lot more in the future.

Are you an artist? If not, what interests you most about art? 

I, myself, am not an artist but I do appreciate art whether its from the Byzantine Empire or if its from an artist located right here in Wynwood. I hold them to be in the same regard and I appreciate the creativity, design, and messages that every type of work seeks to hold.

In your own words, how would you define art?

I think art is self defined. I think art can be a picture that you took from your iPhone that you really like the aesthetic of or it can be the Sistine Chapel. I feel art is the vehicle for  the expression and description of a society no matter the scale at which it’s done. I definitely appreciate all types of art not necessarily just because of the way it looks but due to knowing the meaning, message, and goal behind it alongside knowing the effort that an artist put in to precisely capture and convey the emotions they felt.

Would you say this museum is trying to convey a certain message? If so, what?

I think that by positioning itself as a platform for emerging and upcoming artists as well as by being in the Design District near Wynwood in Miami the museum presents and defines itself as a vehicle for showcasing talent in Miami that may not necessarily be very well-known. By being a more interactive space as well I think the space becomes inter dimensional by encouraging its visitors to interact with the works which presents a message that art is not only what is presented as high brow or “art” in a more noble sense but rather what the viewer makes of it by interacting with it and viewing the art in a deeper sense. This allows for a message that art is more accessible to the masses than previously deemed by presenting art that is for the people, by the people.


Interview with Senior Gallery Associate, Grace Almanza

How long have you worked at ICA?

I’ve been with ICA Miami for a little over two years now. This past Miami Art Week would be my third with the museum. 

What is your favorite collection or art piece and why?

My favorite art piece on view is Unspecified Promise by Allora and Calzadilla. While it is not part of our permanent collection, it is a semi-permanent fixture in our Sculpture Garden. Allora and Calzadilla are an amazing conceptual artist duo. I love this piece because it is very personal to the artists themselves, conveying a general sense of loss and hope, while also speaking on how the United States in particular has greatly impacted the political, economic, and social realities of countries like Puerto Rico. The sculpture itself is made up of a construction loader that has been cut in half to be attached to thirty tons of black granite.

Would you say COVID-19 is negatively affecting the mission of the museum?

ICA Miami’s mission is to always foster the exchange of art and ideas throughout the Miami region. We strive to promote continuous experimentation and new perspectives within contemporary art. COVID-19 has not directly affected our mission, but we are very much committed to making the museum experience as safe and healthy as possible for all of our staff, guests, and artists. 

How has working here changed your views on art and life as a whole?

The art has definitely changed my overall perspective on life. ICA Miami exhibits such a unique and eye-opening batch of artists. Every artist that comes through, from Eric Paul Riege to Judy Chicago to Paolo Nazareth, always teaches you something new. 


Overall, I found my visit to The ICA to be very informative as well as eye-opening in the sense that I was able to gain a feel for art that is not quite often recognized nor appreciated. I laid my eyes upon works that were the first of many for numerous talented individuals and I can very much appreciate the artistry and mission statement behind the ICA and the individuals it seeks to forward within the art world. I also very much appreciated the location it was in being that it represented a sense of new horizons for the city of Miami and a sense of the upcoming innovation and ingenuity offered by generations yet to come. Further, I found the employees and staff of the museum to be quite passionate about their line of work as well encouraging of others to forward themselves within the work to truly gain a sense of understanding of the artistry being presented. The only nuisance that I can possibly think of is that I wish the museum’s permanent collection and facility was larger in order to maximize the mission statement that the ICA holds.n However, overall, I find that the museum is one to be most definitely recommended and one that I can see myself coming to for years to come.


Programs. icamiami.org/programs/.

“Visit.” Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami, icamiami.org/visit/.

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.


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.


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.


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



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.

Skyler Hayman: ASC See Miami Fall 2020

Photo taken by Skyler Hayman in 2020 at the Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum at FIU

Student Bio

Hello reader. My name is Skyler Hayman, but everyone calls me Sky. I identify as a non-binary queer human being who was born and raised in Miami, FL and birthed from two immigrant parents who are originally from Nicaragua. All pronouns are welcomed and so are your comments. I am a junior at Florida International University double majoring in International Business and Marketing. Art has always and will always hold a special spot in my heart as it is a way to connect with other human beings through time and space. In the future, I hope to become a product/project manager, but my goal in life is to gain as many memories and experiences as I can.


The Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum at FIU is located inside the university campus with Florida International University. Their address reads as 10975 SW 17th St, Miami, FL 33199. Those who choose to visit this museum have the opportunity to see sculptures sitting right outside the museum. Because this art institution sits on campus, it shares a space with its neighboring buildings that are the Hebert and Nicole Wertheim Performing Arts Center and the Blue parking garage, and the Management & Advanced Research building. The visitors of this building can also enjoy a wide variety of dining option on campus depending on the hour. There is also a variety of dining options off campus as well that are nearby.


The Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum at FIU actually first began as “a small space in FIU’s Primera Casa building in 1978”. The small space’s collection began to grow along with the programming, the university finally decided that they needed a museum space on campus. This museum is called the Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum at FIU and resides in a 46,000 square foot building which was actually designed by Yann Weymouth. The museum officially opened its doors to the public 2008.


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.” In other words, they want for the art that they display to connect us all. From students, to faculty, to other visitors they want us all to relate to the art and to each other regardless of time and space.


ADMISSION TO THE MUSEUM IS ALWAYS FREE! Due to Covid-19, they updated their hours and how those who are not part of the FIU community can access the museum. Sunday through Tuesday the museum is closed, Wednesday & Thursday the museum is open to the FIU community ONLY, and Friday & Saturday the museum is open to everyone, but those whose who are not part of the FIU community are permitted by appointment only. Those who visit have a maximum visitation limit of 1 hour. If visiting within the last hour, it will be shorter since they have to begin closing up the museum soon. Parking is available for the FIU community within the nearby parking garages, and their is visitor/metered parking that is open to the public in designated areas on campus. The museum is within a 1o min walk or less within the whole campus.


“The museum presents an exhibition schedule as diverse as Miami’s population. We showcase artists from around the world and across cultures, disciplines, and genres. In addition, the museum also showcases emerging and established local artists in select exhibitions throughout the year.” The whole museum displayed the works of students and other exhibitions that have been there since the beginning of December of 2020.

On the first floor, there was one art work from the “Master’s of Art Education Exhibition 2020” that really stood out to me. This piece is from Grace Cox titled “Natalie, 2020” and it’s a part of a series of hers that contains an important message. Cox was “inspired by what the presence of women in the world of skateboarding means to me” and she wanted to showcase how women these women are “surpassing cultural norms in a non traditional way through skateboarding”, but making sure that the series is “demanding respect without sacrificing authenticity.” I chose to talk about this first piece because it really spoke to me. Am I woman in the skateboarding world? No, but I am an individual who was not taken seriously or even disrespected when I was/am partaking in certain activities that don’t correspond with the gender norms society is trying to force onto me. I see these woman the same way I see myself when I am being me without any care on what the world thinks.

Photos taken by Skyler Hayman in 2020 at the Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum at FIU

I love women. I am a fan of everything they do and how far they have come and how much effort they are pushing for equality. On the second floor, the exhibition of “House to House: Women, Politics, and Place” was not only a collection of art, but a yell that these artist were roaring saying “I am a woman and you will hear me!”. With the iconic song “I’m Every Woman” by Whitney Houston echoing throughout the whole floor, I was able to submerge myself in the history of women and was able to gain an awareness of things of how unfair it still is for women even the “advanced” art world. Out of the whole floor, this piece spoke VOLUMES to me. “Oliver in a Tutu” by Catherine Opie was a true reflection of my own past and my future to be. Growing up, I was an explorer that did not stay within the gender norms. This type of behavior was not encouraged in my household, but this image reminds me that when I have a child I will allow them to be who they are without limitation.

The third floor was an exhibition titled “Tesoro: Pepe Mar’s Love Letter to the Frost“. Tesoro translated means treasure. This whole floor was curated by Pepe Mar who is “an artist who marries a broad range of visual references and personal obsessions spanning art, fashion, queer history, and Mexican culture”. This was clearly seen in every step I took within the exhibition. At first glance, it does seem like a random collage of weird artwork that was painted, designed, and put together by someone on acid. But once you take a breath and begin to take in each piece, the artwork just flows from the eyes the brain and it makes sense. I don’t know why, but the recurring voice I heard in my head while walking through the exhibit was “No, mucho color“. This was my mother repeating her conservative agenda whenever I chose to make/wear something that contained too many colors. All I could do was take in the beauty of the artwork and smile.

special programming

Due to the current pandemic, the museum is not holding any events at the moment rathe than just opening of new exhibitions.


Jessica, Visitor, 21

Was this your first time visiting the museum? Yes

What was your favorite piece within the whole museum today? The series on the first floor from Grace Cox of the women skateboarding and knowing that they’re FIU students is a plus

Rate each floor on a scale from 1-10. First floor, 9/10. Second floor, 7/10. Third floor 10/10.

Do you think that this is a good spot for the museum? I like it, I think it’s nice. Although a lot of people don’t know its here. It’s kinda hidden since no one really comes to this side of campus so maybe they just need more advertisement.


Jasmine, Front Desk Concierge, 19

How long have you been working here at the museum? 2 months.

What is your favorite piece that is currently in the museum? The three-headed peacock in the Tesoro exhibit, that one’s my favorite.

Rate each floor on a scale of 1-10. The first floor, I’d give it a solid 7/10. The second floor overall a 9/10. The third floor also a 9/10.

As an employee, do you get a first look before they get displayed? No, I can sometimes see them putting them up for display though.

Was it a busy day today? It wasn’t not busy, well we’re not really busy at all to be honest.

Do you think that this is a good spot for the museum? I like it here I just wish they offered free parking. Definitely needs to be advertised more.


The Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum at FIU is such a wonderful place and an unknown valuable asset to the FIU community. It provides a unique educational experience that unfortunately many do not take advantage of.

The museum’s constant change of exhibitions is a great thing since the people who go love to see new artwork and can get tired easily. The way each exhibition is displayed is beyond brilliant. It’s all about getting the audience to submerge in the exhibits and that is exactly what they do. From the audio aids located in the exhibitions to the color of the walls to the placement of each piece. They all come together tastefully to ooze out art.

The only improvement that I would make for the museum fall within advertisement. LET MORE PEOPLE KNOW! The students who attend Florida International University don’t even know where the museum is and even the most important part that admission is FREE! This also goes with the public. This can also be beneficial for FIU in general to gather more people on campus to this museum. The public needs to know that they have access to this museum and by having more of the public come, it can attract attention to FIU and put us at a more competitive level with the other state universities.

Overall, the Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum at FIU is an institution I will be talking about for a while and highly recommending those that can come to take the time and gain a new experience.


Florida International University – Digital Communications. (n.d.). About. Retrieved December 14, 2020, from https://frost.fiu.edu/about/index.html

Florida International University – Digital Communications. (n.d.). Visit. Retrieved December 14, 2020, from https://frost.fiu.edu/visit/index.html

Florida International University – Digital Communications. (n.d.). Events. Retrieved December 14, 2020, from https://frost.fiu.edu/exhibitions-events/events/index.html

Yumpu.com. (n.d.). Master’s of Art Education 2020 Exhibition. Retrieved December 14, 2020, from https://www.yumpu.com/en/document/read/65060125/masters-of-art-education-2020-exhibition

Luis Gutierrez: Miami Service 2020

The Deering Estate

Student Bio

Luis moments before meeting his prom date, 2019

Luis Gutierrez is currently a sophomore studying English at Florida International University. He loves to watch movies, listen to old music, and play beach volleyball with his friends. He also enjoys writing and collecting vinyl records.


I was lucky enough to volunteer at the Deering Estate. This institution is a historical site that is a common destination for tourists and locals for a variety of events, classes, and tours year-round. Their estate contains two historical buildings that were built by Charles Deering and the Richmond family in the early 1900’s. It also contains hiking trails that are open to the public and transport you into what Miami looked like in the past. Whether you are interested in their history or the scenery, the Deering Estate is a great place to visit and volunteer at.

Entrance of Deering Estate, photo taken by Luis Gutierrez


         I selected this particular volunteer opportunity because I had a great experience in our first in person class with Professor Bailey. The actual estate is beautiful and the people that work the grounds seemed like genuine employees that care about the estate and its significance. It doesn’t relate to my major exactly, with my major being English, but it did provide an opportunity that was quite exciting and fun to be a part of. I had reached out to them first but was scared they wouldn’t accept my volunteer request, so I reached out to other establishments as well. When I heard back from them super-fast, I was both relieved and excited to be a part of the activity I signed up for.


         I connected with this opportunity through their website. I saw that there were many volunteer options that I knew I had to email them directly for more information. Once I emailed them, I heard back from them the following day about all their opportunities with more information regarding them along a few papers I needed to sign. After sending back the papers I signed and the acceptance of one of the volunteer opportunities, I heard back from them that they were pleased to have me on board immediately.

Where & What

         I was assigned to check people in and physically keep track of how many people were walking through the gates. I was given two clickers on December 4 and was told click one if the person was 4 and younger and to click the other if they were older than 4 but younger that 16. I did this activity while standing and greeting the people who were entering for 5 hours. After all the people were checked in and began to leave, I was instructed to pass out a flyer that promoted the Deering Estate and its events for the upcoming year to the leaving guests. Before I was assigned at this post, I was told I could walk around the estate and go through the houses before the people began to walk in. This allowed me to see everything that was decorated and prepared for the people entering.

            On December 12, I was assigned the same task but instead of having two clickers, I had three. The other clicker was to count people who were older than 16. I was also instructed to tell the people coming in to follow the main path and check in into the booth at the front. I did this also for 5 hours, even when it began to pour with rain for 2 of the hours.

Christmas decorations in one of the rooms, 2020



Overall, I am really thankful for both of these opportunities to volunteer and help out with the Deering Estate. I had a lot of fun which was surprising because I thought it wasn’t going to be much but it ended up being something really grand. I also had some great company the whole time standing and helping out so that was a great plus. I met a lot of genuine people such as Vanessa and Emily that really care about all of the guests, the employees, and the volunteers.  

Even though the task was more of a repetitive one rather than one I would learn from, I still very much enjoyed doing it. Both of these opportunities also were Christmas themed and that really put me into the holiday spirit.

More Christmas decorations in one of the rooms, 2020

This volunteer opportunity also made me realize how much society thrives off of human interactions and tradition. This tradition of meeting Santa and siting on his lap is something that happens every year to children. Even though COVID is still around and is still a threat, families around Miami still are pushing to keep tradition and make sure that their children are having a childhood that they would remember and cherish when they look back. The human interaction and coming together for the holidays is one that shouldn’t be frowned upon even through the times that we are living in currently. Though I mentioned earlier that this task didn’t really have a learning opportunity and was rather a busy task, I realize that there was a time for reflection and acknowledgment that this time of the season should be recognized and encouraged no matter what. It makes me smile knowing that institutions such as Deering Estate are following regulations and still pushing the envelope on making these events happen for both children and adults. Seeing the children walk in super happy and energetic and excited to meet the real Santa made me realize that the holiday spirit can be crushed by a disease. As long as people are coming together and having a good time with friends and family, there is nothing that can bring down the holiday spirit. This realization made me jump up in joy and blast Christmas music on the way home after volunteering with the Deering Estate. The volunteer opportunity brought me into the Christmas spirit and raised some big ideas without me even knowing when I initially emailed them about my interest. I thoroughly enjoyed volunteering here and I would volunteer here again in a heartbeat.

Luis Gutierrez: ASC See Miami Fall 2020

Museum of Art and Design at Miami Dade College

Student Bio

Luis moments before meeting his prom date, 2019

Luis Gutierrez is currently a sophomore studying English at Florida International University. He loves to watch movies, listen to old music, and play beach volleyball with his friends. He also enjoys writing and collecting vinyl records.


The Museum of Art and Design at Miami Dade College is located at 600 Biscayne Boulevard, Miami, Florida. It contributes to the many institutions and other places in the heart of Downtown Miami. Two blocks from its doors is the bay and with that comes the famous Bayside Marketplace and its Observation Ferris Wheel. The parking is extremely slim and is hard to find around the actual building but instead it is found in nearby lots and garages that charge by the hour, and in my case 5$ an hour. The actual building can be seen from a mile away and easily stands out from its surrounding buildings with its culmination of different architectural designs and overall height.


One of the displays showcasing the history of the building, photo taken by Luis Gutierrez

The history of this building and museum goes all the way back to 1925, the year it was initially constructed for the Miami Daily News. Shortly after, it was leased by the U.S. government and became known as the Freedom Tower which served as a reception center for Cuban refugees in the early 60’s and 70’s. It became a monument and a “lighthouse” for refugees that were leaving the communist rule of dictator Fidel Castro. Similar to New York’s Ellis Island, the Freedom Tower became home to many Cubans and to this day still serves as a representation of that story of a Cuban exodus.

“El Refugio” or “The Refuge” became a common nickname made for the building and it fits very well. Cubans that were seeking refuge here found healthcare, education, housing, and so much more. The Freedom Tower became a “one stop” for these refuges but when the government found out that there were a lot more Cubans walking in than they had expected, they knew the building needed some advancements. This is when the different number of floors expanded and became other necessities such as a dental clinic and a record center.

Another image displaying the Cuban refugees in the Freedom Tower

In 1974, the United States government decided to close the Freedom Tower and two years later was purchased by a lawyer from New York. The ownership for the next two decades is transferred through many people and companies but in 2004, it is sold to the Pedro Martin Family. This family brought back this significant building back up with donations and repairs and four years later receives the long-awaited designation of “National historic Landmark”. Miami Dade College then establishes an exhibition space on the second floor and hosts many operations tied with the Miami International Film Festival and the Live Arts. Shortly after, it opens the Cuban Diaspora Cultural Legacy Gallery and the Cuban Exile Experience in 2014. Today, it still represents the struggle the Cubans went through in the 60’s and 70’s and how this building served as a beacon for them in their time of need through its current exhibits.


On their website it displays that their mission “is to provide open, critical, and collaborative frameworks for artistic experimentation and interdisciplinary risk-taking that explores the intersections of art, design, and other art forms with cultural action. MOAD advances Miami Dade College’s core values, contributing to the intellectual life of the college, engaging students and audiences from the community and the world beyond”.

This mission statement describes how the MOAD focuses on the importance and variety of elements that comes with all forms of art and design. It then ties its own college into producing fundamental and significant values that necessary for both their students and appreciators of the arts.


The museum is open from 1-6 p.m. Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sunday. It is also open 1-8 p.m. on Thursdays.

For Admission:

-$12 general

-$8 senior and military

-$5 students

-Free for children under 12, MDC students, faculty, and staff


The Kislak Center: Jai and his Devotion to the History and Cultures of the Early Americas

Entrance to the gallery of the Kislak Center

One of the two permanent exhibits in the Museum of Art and Design is the Kislak Center. This exhibit explorers the different perspectives, processes, and expansions that our country went through and the artifacts that came with it. This exhibit goes hand in hand with the other Kislak exhibit in Washington, D.C. that also explores these same ideas.

Treasures of the Kislak Center

Throughout the exhibit, there are many artifacts that symbolize different cultural points and religious beliefs. In the picture above, we are shown a handful of the treasures that are tied with the history of Mayan mythology. The plate, bowl, and vase all have drawings on them that represent stories, cultural personalities, and other items that the Mayans thought were significant such as their crops. The small figurine in the middle, my favorite of the four treasures, were typically found in tombs of people that had a higher social class. Its hunchback symbolizes a ties with the supernatural rheum because in their culture, someone who has a hunchback has spiritual powers.

Cuban Cultural Legacy Gallery: Josefina and Her Photos of a Transforming Miami

Entrance to the Cuban Cultural Legacy Gallery

In this gallery, Josefina explores the history of Miami around the same time the Freedom Tower became a refuge for Cuban immigrants escaping Fidel Castro regime. She was a documentarian in Cuba in the 1940’s and later when she was exiled in the 1970’s, Josefina grew to continue exploring the life and impact Cubans have in Miami through photography. In this small room, there are many different framed photographs of different locations around Miami. Some locations are well known and renowned while others are just a typical neighborhood or store that you would see in that time period. These photos bring into light the impact Cubans had in Miami and how quickly they would transform this city forever with their amazing culture.

Photo of La Carreta in 1976, taken by Josefina

This photo is my favorite of the gallery and showcases the famous Cuban restaurant of La Carreta on 8th street in 1976. Though there are other restaurants highlighted in this gallery as well, this one in particular resonates with me due to how many times I have been to that restaurant with my grandparents who were Cuban immigrants. This photo highlights the Cuban culture’s expansion in Miami and the speed at which it expanded.


The Body Electric

Entrance to the Body Electric exhibit

The only current exhibit that is being showcased in The Body Electric which presents different forms of artwork, media, and technology to express controversial topics in our society and ultimately our understanding of them. Through the wide variety of art in this exhibit, people are shown a new lens into how technology is changing our identity, body, and everyday life, whether we like it or not.

Photo of “Corrections” by Vito Acconci

One of the art pieces displayed in the exhibit is “Corrections” by Vito Acconci. It displays a man brushing a lit match around the back of his neck and upper back. The video continues on a loop until the man shakes the lit match, extinguishing it. Vito’s artwork in the 70’s typically involved body-based performances such as this one that were vastly open to interpretation by its audience.

Special Programs

Free Day & Free Family Program

This sponsored event happens every last Sunday of every month and includes free admission for everyone. It involves hours of fun activities that push you and your friends and family to create your very own art works.

Critical Conversations

This program involves discussing important topics that dwell in visual and art design. They offer a mailing list that invites individuals to these conversation circles.


Amanda Linares, Miami Resident and Miami Dade College Student

What made you come to the museum today? Have you been here before?

  • I was recommended to come to this museum through a friend because she knows I love history and art. Overall, I enjoy visiting establishments and museums that are similar to this one. I have not been to this museum before but I am enjoying it thus far.

What has been your favorite piece of artwork here in the museum?

  • My favorite is the “Constructing Roberta Breitmore” in the exhibit on the second floor. I read about it afterwards and it talks about how a performance artist adapted this role for four years and then created this artwork in the 70’s. I love the story behind it but I really love the actual art of it.

Would you consider yourself an art person?

  • I would indeed consider myself an art person because I really love exploring all forms of art and I am an art major at Miami Dade College, so it really consumes my life with no problem.

If you were to alter something about anything in the museum, what would you alter?

  • I would include more exhibits and maybe make it more people friendly so that people aren’t confused on where to go in this exhibit in particular.

Would you come back to this museum again?

  • Yes! Absolutely! I love seeing the exhibition and I heard there are different ones every couple of months so I’m looking forward to the next one!


David Carl, Gallery Assistant at the Museum of Art and Design at Miami Dade College

What made you start working here? How long have you been working here?

  • I have been working here for 3 years and I was on a work study here before COVID. When they opened back up in October, I applied as a gallery assistant because I love this museum and I got it. 3 years ago, I was looking for a job because it was my first semester in Miami Dade and I found this opportunity and I knew it was for me because of how easy and relaxing it is.

What is your favorite thing about the museum?

  •  My favorite thing about the museum is probably the people. My other coworkers are like my second family and they always have my back for anything. Also, the people that walk into the museum are always polite and sometimes have really cool stories relating to the exhibits and galleries.

What is your favorite artwork in the museum?

  • There was an exhibit here before that was called the City of People and it talked about how our society functions as a whole. It also talked about transportation and how it evolved over time which I thought was really cool.

Has there been any changes to the museum due to COVID?

  • Yeah, so there is now plexi glass in the front when you walk in to check in and obviously there are hand sanitizer stations, social distancing, and other basic regulations that we have to follow now. The amount of people has pretty much stayed the same even with COVID; its hard to tell because our numbers are pretty random for the days.

What is your least favorite part about working here?

  • I ultimately have no dislike or least favorite parts about working here to be honest. I plan on staying here as long as I can because I love everything about my job thankfully.


The Museum of Art and Design at Miami Dade College is truly something extraordinary. The history tied to the actual building is expressed beautifully through a walkthrough of the timeline on the first floor. The Cuban Cultural Legacy Gallery is simple yet so effective with its assortment of photographs that transport you to that era of transformation for Miami. The Kislak Center also transports the audience to a point in time that gives us a point of view in life back then. The culture, religion, and way of life in the early Americas are displayed through an assortment of presentations, art, and treasures.

On the second floor is the The Body Electric exhibit that showcases how technology is reshaping the human condition and everything that comes along with being a human. The art work that is displayed here is really different from anything I have seen and is ultimately quite disturbing. I feel like the disturbing factor goes hand in hand with what the exhibit’s message is and really tells the public what is happening to us through raw and unsettling images.

Overall, I really enjoyed visiting the museum and I loved reading about the history of it. I am a Cuban American and my parents had to leave the communist country of Cuba to find a better life here in Miami. Looking at all the images and historically significant photos really resonated with me and made me look back at how much my parents sacrificed to live here. I didn’t find anything in the museum that I did not like or would change so I highly recommend this establishment to any museum goer, Cuban American, or lover of history and the arts.


The Museum of Art and Design at Miami Dade College Website


Esmeralda Iyescas: Miami Service Project 2020


My name is Esmeralda Iyescas and I in pursuit of a bachelor’s degree in Information technology from Florida International university. Aside from technology, some of my other interests include gardening, paining, volunteering, swimming, and reading.


For my service learning community service hours, I volunteered at various beaches and parks located in south Florida. The first location I volunteered at was Pinetree Park in Miami Beach for Clean Miami Beach, which is a nonprofit organization that is committed to cleaning up the environment to make life more sustainable. Next, I volunteered at Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park located in Key Biscayne, Florida. Following this was another clean up at Chicken Key where my Honors class and I helped pick up trash. Professor John Bailly kindly took the initiative to organize the cleanup for his entire Miami in Miami class. Lastly, I volunteered at the Bakehouse Art Complex in Wynwood, which was also organized by Professor John Bailly for his Honors class.


Since I was a little girl, my mother always emphasized the value of volunteering and how my contribution to my community is very important. This mentality was instilled at a very young age, so I have had the pleasure of volunteering at countless different events throughout my lifetime. That being said, none of the places where I volunteered pertained to my major, instead pertained to a subject that I care deeply about. I often find myself looking for volunteer opportunities that will positively impact the environment because it is a topic that is of great interest to me. In addition, many of the volunteer opportunities in the south Miami/ south Florida area are often on the environmental spectrum because we are greatly impacted by the pollution crisis.


Pinetree Park:

I saw there was various openings for Miami Beach cleanups, but due to the corona virus pandemic, the spots were extra limited and filled up rather quickly. I took the initiate to contact Sophie Ringel, the founder and executive director of Clean Miami Beach. The fantastic woman that she is found an opening for me. I was able to participate and join their cleanup for 2 hours at Pinetree Park in Miami Beach, Florida.  On September 26th, 2020, I drove up to the park and collaborated with other volunteers to clean up the park that had not been clean for several months due to the pandemic.

Bill Baggs Cape Florida Park:

The next volunteer opportunity was a cleanup at at Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park. Pre-pandemic, I would visit the park often with friends and family because I enjoyed spending time outdoors and by the local lighthouse. I had contacted Shane Zigler, Park Specialist and Volunteer Coordinator, multiple times about volunteering at the park, but unfortunately Covid made it very difficult for me to find an opening. Luckily, Shane Zigler never forgot about me and reached out when a couple spots opened.  On October 10th, I seized the opportunity and spent my Saturday morning cleaning up trash from the Biscayne coast. For two hours, I walked up and down the coast and around the park cleaning up the area and enjoying the beautiful outdoors.

Chicken Key:

On October 14th, 2020, Professor John Bailly organized a cleanup for our Miami in Miami Honors class. We all met up at the Deering Estate Park and prepared for our adventure to Chicken Key Island. We teamed up in groups of two and paddled out of the Deering Estate in our rented canoes.

Bakehouse Art Complex:

On October 28th, 2020, Professor John Bailly had us meet him and the rest of the class at the Bakehouse Art Complex in Wynwood, Florida for another volunteer opportunity. At the Art Complex, we helped assist a young artist, Lauren Shapiro, on her art endeavor. We would spend our class time learning about the purpose of her project and ways we can aid her.


Pinetree Park:
Photo taken by Esmeralda Iyescas at Pinetree Park/ CC BY 4.0

On Saturday September 26th, 2020, I arrived to Pinetree Park and signed in with the volunteer coordinator to get my shirt and a bucket for the event. The founder of Clean Miami Beach, Sophie Ringel, explained to us the kind of trash that is typically found on the particular coast and the importance of trying to remove as much as week could during out allotted time.

While I was picking up trash during my 2 hours, I was taken back by the amount of trash that covered the area. I picked up microplastics, bottles, nets, and even tires from the park. The volunteer coordinators were keeping track and weighing the trash that everyone was brining in order to be compared at the end. I went to dump out my bucket several times and by the end of the 2 hours, I had picked up about 50 pounds of trash. All the volunteers collectively collected 600 pounds of trash. I was in absolute awe when I saw how much trash had be collected after the two hours. That experienced allowed me to see the reality we are living in and how the amount of trash that is found on our coastal waters is destroying our environment.

Bill Baggs Cape Florida Park:

On Saturday October 10th, 2020, I had the privilege of volunteering at Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park and met a very nice gentleman by the same of Shane Zigler. He is a state park ranger who is also in charge of coordinating all the volunteer services for Bill Baggs. He gave me a bucked to collect my trash and I began by the lighthouse and worked way down the beach. The people who pollute the area really disgusted me because I had to pick up several bottled of urine, dirty pampers, used and dirty underwear, and syringes. As I was working my way down the beach, I could not believe that the trash kept going, it truly felt endless. I decided to work my way up once I almost reached the end of the beach and some visitors really broke my heart. They were sitting by the beach and discarding their trash behind them or hiding it under the sand. Upon viewing that, I felt utterly repulsed how a family could be so carless about the earth and teaching this to their children. I respectfully asked them if they would give me their trash instead of littering, but seeing that really had me lose a bit of faith in my community.

After I had completed my service, I asked him a series of questions about the cleanup and how our contributions impacted the park. Zigler went on to mention how the pandemic had been a blessing in disguise for the park because they needed to shut down for a couple months and that helped bring the ecosystem back to healthier standard while also improving the quality of life to the animals and plants. Since there were no visitors, there was a significant reduction in trash and pollution along the coast. On the other hand, since there were visitors allowed, that meant volunteers were also not allowed to come either. And even though there was no direct pollution happening, Zigler mentioned that there was still a large amount of trash in the ocean and would end up along the shore. This meant the rangers had to pick up trash on their own and it was a lot of work for such a small group of employees. Upon learning this, I realized how important and valued our contributions were to the environment and to the employees.

Chicken Key:

On Wednesday October 14th, 2020, Professor John Bailly had us meet at the Deering Estate to pickup trash from Chicken Key. We got into groups of two and paddled on our rented canoes out to the Chicken Key island. Once we arrived to the island, we secured our canoes and began filling up our bags with the trash that covered the area. For such a small piece of land, there was an impressive amount of trash. We very quickly filled up all our trash bags and our canoes, with a ton of trash still remaining on the island. The problem we face with pollution and littering is when it gets discarded incorrectly, it will make its way into the environment and destroys the natural habitats. I saw examples of this with the hermit carbs, pieces of plastic would be buried in their holes or they would get stuck in plastic bottles. Fortunately, I did not see many dead fish but in other parts of Miami, wildlife is constantly dying from the pollution.

Bakehouse Art Complex:
Photo taken by Esmeralda Iyescas at the Bakehouse Art Complex/ CC BY 4.0

On Wednesday October 28th, 2020, we met Professor John Bailly at the Bakehouse Art Complex to help out a local artist, Lauren Shapiro, with her art project. Upon arrival, we were welcomed into her studio and she began by introducing herself and the purpose of her project. The medium she was working with was clay and great amounts of it.

Lauren showed us how to make the clay molds and how to apply it onto her wooden blocks. What I did appreciate about her art endeavor was that she allowed us to place it however and get creative with the project. Her idea of a community project really took life and allowed her project to really blossom. I enjoyed the collaborative efforts I made with my classmates to help Ms. Shapiro complete her project.


Screenshot of the hours completed and approved from the MyHonors website


Most of my community service hours consist of beach and parks clean ups around Miami because I care deeply about the environment and my community.

Frankly, I found all the experiences to be really humbling because I realized the notable impact each volunteer has on our pollution crisis. I also noted how easy most people dismiss the current environmental issue that we are all faced with. In addition, I noticed that there is a small group of people who are willing to dedicate a couple of hours of their time to volunteering in their community.

These experiences and opportunities have allowed me to learn and grow, and I will help inform and educate other people on the environmental crisis. I will make it my duty to keep volunteering and aiding my community in anyway possible because I really care and love my city and this earth. We had a common responsibility to maintain this earth clean and healthy, if we work together we can accomplish our environmental goals.

Leonella Santillan: Coral Gables 2020

Student Bio

Hello my name is Leonella Santillan, I am an international student about to finish my bachelor’s at Florida International University. My main dream is to become a lawyer, and therefore, I am always determined to learn more to attain my dream. I am from Ecuador and came to the United States when I was 14 years of age.  This study will focus on Coral Gables, which is one of the cities in Miami. 


Humans have created homes in several diverse ecosystems and grouped them into towns, states, regions, and nations, each of which has its interest. The shift in patterns in human migration patterns has contributed to a radically different human geography from that of centuries ago. Coral Gables is found in South-East, Florida, in Miami-Dade County (Sheskin, 19). It was from a nucleus of 65 hectares (160 acres) of citrus and farming lands in his family that Georges Merrick built the property, calling it the coral-rock house and gables. It is a well-planned residential city, renowned for its stunning square, streets, and exclusive villages of the Mediterranean theme. 

      Source: http://www.city-data.com/city/Coral-Gables-Florida.html

The Biscayne Bay and outside waterways are six miles (10 km), can be navigated on small vessels. Coral Gables is the headquarters of the University of Miami that makes a significant contribution to the economy of Miami, tourism is important as well, and the City is a regional center. Area highlights include the tropical Fairchild Garden and Merrick’s museum boyhood home. 


In 1925, Coral Gables had a distinct view of the City and its founder, George Merrick. After the home he grew up, Merrick named Coral Gables, a calcareous exterior and roof-fitted. The houses and buildings establish a seamless and unprecedented esthetic around the City with its textured walls and tiled roofs since it was one of the early planned cities of Florida(Rodulfo et al.,76). Since 1998, in Coral Gables’ historic Biltmore Hotel, Gable Stage is producing quality theater performances covering themes and concepts important to the ethnic culture of South Florida. In addition, Gable Stage won the Ruth Forman Award for big advances on the South Florida stage, a coveted theater award for South Florida with over 200 nominations. In January 2016, Joseph Adler, Production Artistic Director of the local arts funding organization People Engaged in Arts, was considered Champion of the Arts.

Many pilots and technicians of the Navy were trained and housed at Coral Gables during the Second World War. Coral Gables is also known as South Florida’s Fine Dining Capital. The town of Coral Gables has eleven resources listed in the National Historic Places Register, one of which is sometimes referred to as National Historic Places (Patricios et al., 13). The building was built using the native political calcareous stone in what was known as the Mediterranean Revival. When George Merrick started to design and build Coral Gables, he saw it as a Mediterranean-inspired unified town. The City Hall style is a good example of the time in which elements of Spanish, Moorish, and Italian architecture are mixed and have been in line with the Mediterranean values of Merrick. 


  1. Population 

Coral Gables is Florida’s 59th largest City and the 768th largest in the United States and has a population of 51,503. Currently, Coral Gables has grown by 0,49% each year and has increased by 10.10% since its previous census recorded 46,780 in 2020 as a city. With a density of 3,984 inhabitants per square mile, the field of Coral Gables stretches to more than 37 miles Daly (8). Coral Gables averages $168,659 in family earnings, a poverty rate of 7.5%. The median cost of renting is 1,583 dollars a month; the median valuation of the house is 795,600 dollars in recent years. Coral Gables is a middle-age with 39.8, 38.2, and 41 for men and women. 94.1 males are present for every 100 females.

Coral Gables residents have a median age of 39.8 years. Hispanic (55.8 percent), led by White (38.3 percent), and Schwarze are the major racial and cultural coral gables (4.1 percent). The Coral Gables residents had a net household income of $100,000 in 2018 (Choi 43). Slightly more than the households of Horizon West ($99,823) and Waukeenah ($98,125) did Coral Gables. Yet 7.5% of the people of Coral Gables remain in poverty.

Interview of Auriks Wong

Leonella: Hello Auriks, can you introduce yourself and mention what kind of work you do?

Auriks: “Hello, my name is Auriks and I am a Artist. I have lived in Coral Gables for 5 years.”

Leonella: Why did you choose to live in Coral Gables?

Auriks: “I chose to live in Coral Gables because it is quiet and is a safe area for me and my family.”

Leonella: How would you describe Coral Gables residents?

Auriks: “I describe them very quiet, respectful and clean”

Leonella: What is your favorite aspect of Coral Gables?

Auriks: “The houses and the historical landmarks”

Leonella: If someone you knew were to come to Coral Gables, where would you take them?

Auriks: “I would take them to the Coral Gables Museum since it celebrates the civic arts of architecture, urban design and planning, sustainable development and preservation of the      architectural, cultural and environmental.”

Leonella: If there was something you could change about Coral Gables, what would it be?

Auriks: “Honestly nothing, every time I wake up, I feel so lucky to live in a neighborhood like this”


I. Historical landmarks 

Alhambra Plaza at Coral Gables (121 Alhambra Cir, Coral Gables, FL 33134)

Several historical landmarks, such as Coral Gables Alhambra, have been located in Coral Gables. Merrick required a variety of portals to access the City when George Merrick designed Coral Gables. They remembered medieval gates in Europe and were supposed to illustrate that Coral Gables were different from the City around them. It’s at the door to the Alhambra. They are built of local stone and are equipped with benches.

Denman Fink designed all the Mediterranean style portals to Coral Gables. Denman Fink was an illustrator in painting and magazine. The Venetian swimming pool and the Alhambra Water Tower were planned, and the doors (Lin 130). Merrick worked for the City of Coral Gables as an artistic advisor. I have looked at the gate closely, and after cutting some weeds, I can see the seal attached to a D and a G. It was so awesome to see his label on the door. Since he was not a trained architect, the final sign off is made by the architects Phineas Paist and Walter De Garmo. The door is so lovely as  I liked to look at all the nuanced details. The bougainvillea is partially protected. It is easy to picture a princess in the Medieval period perched on her primeur’s seat.

II. Museums 

Coral Gables Museum at Coral Gables (285 Aragon Ave, Coral Gables, FL 33134)

In a historical coral stone house in the heart of Coral Gables, you can visit the Coral Gables Museum. It commemorates the City’s arts, urban planning, architectural, environmental and cultural growth and conservation. Exhibits, Saturday morning tours, special activities, and programs complement the Museum’s services, weekly bike, and Sunday morning Lin 134). The Coral Gables Merrick House in Coral Gables, Florida, is a historic house situated on 907 Coral Way. Designed initially as George E. Merrick’s childhood home, he is the founder of Coral Gables. It was added to the Register of Heritage Places, and since then, the City of Coral Gables has regained its appearance in 1925 and is open for visits twice a week to the public

III. Monuments

 Segovia Traffic Circles at Coral Gables (2401 Segovia St, Coral Gables, FL 33134)

There is also a famous public art and architectural building with Segovia Traffic Circles Sculptures. Coral Gables is famous for its various 1920s squares, doors, and springs. This is why I find it so fascinating to see the inclusion of new works of art. All modern must harmonize with George Merrick’s stunning features in constructing the City. Two traffic circles along Segovia Street were approved for construction by the City in 2014. The artists and sculptor Alice Aycock from New York designed them Lin 137). The first works of public art since George Merrick’s life were added to the two installations. The works are created from over 4,000 metal objects and influenced by the flowers. There are two separate sculptures. The Biltmore sculpture is smaller and has two styles for flowers. The sculpture Coral Way is built to illustrate a flower that floats in the wind. More than 180 entrants were reviewed before Aycock’s concept was chosen by a jury.

Mixed reviews of the flowers have been received from the visitors visiting the City. Most claim that contemporary architecture does not complement the City’s appearance. Several residents have attempted to withdraw the sculptured but have not obtained enough ballots. Any criticisms are that the sculptures are not Mediterranean and that since the sculptures were placed in place, collisions have risen in traffic circles Hadlow ET AL., (167). Others lament that they do not even pick their buildings’ color, but without consultation, the City has changed away from the City’s Mediterranean look. Despite the complaints of those residents who do not care for contemporary art in the Mediterranean arrival in the 1920s, the City has agreed to preserve the sculptures.


Coral Gables Wayside Park at Coral Gables (5710 Sw 35TH St, Miami, Fl 33155)

Coral Gables Parks and Recreation focuses on offering recreation facilities and resources to Coral Gables residents and visitors, encouraging development, socialization, healthy involvement, and family participation. The aim is to provide outstanding service and tailored programming, extraordinary parks, and projects, which serve community needs. The City consists of various parks, which makes the City be a more habitable place in Miami. Ingraham Park, Coral Gables Wayside Park, and Matheson Hammock Park consist of the major parks located in the City 

 The park creates a well-established recreational environment for the visitors and, therefore, attracts most of the people on weekends and holidays. Urban parks offer numerous ecological services that are of benefit to city-dwellers’ well-being and are often seen as a natural way to solve many urban environmental concerns Chaulagain et al., (5). However, for each type of park flora, the type and volume of ecological resources differ even throughout the park. The park offers various services such as well-designed benches, bicycle racks and thus creates a good environment to recreate the visitors. Besides, the park also offers a drinking fountain, fitness equipment, thus creating a memorable experience for the visitors. The other services that the park offers consist of picnic tables, walking paths, and water features.  


 Transport is a vital aspect of sustainable growth. The Coral Gables Sustainability Division plays a vital role in providing safe roads for cars, bikes, pedestrians, and bus drivers. The primary areas serving the entire metropolitan area of Coral Gables include heavy rail rapid transportation, shuttle, electronic guides, roads, two major airport areas, and Fort Lauderdale International Airport and seaports. The three-county bus networks serve the entire urbanized area, including Miami-Dade Metrobus and Broward County Transit, and Palm transport Rodulfo et al.., (77). Census and statistics on ridership indicate that Miami is the most commonly used to transport any city in Florida, as nearly 17 percent of Coral Gables routinely use public transport compared to some 4 percent of commuters in the metropolitan area of South Florida. Miami-Dade Metro, currently the main mass transport system in Florida, runs most public transports in Coral Gables. The reality that as regards planning, Coral Gables is a big challenge for urban planning and efficient mass transport, with most of the lowly contrasted medium-density growth scattered across the City, is one of the most stretched and car-dependent metropolitan areas in the United States.


Swine Southern Table & Bar at Coral Gables (2415 Ponce de Leon, Coral Gables, FL 33134)

In Coral Gables exist several areas that provide world-class eateries. While the City Beautiful saw a boom in fine dining choices recently, the Coral Gables restaurant scene remains consistent. The famous Swine restaurant is now gone in the Southern style, but it has a rather popular AdLib restaurant, which has the preferences of chef Norman Van Aken and pastry whiz Hedy Goldsmith. Coral Gables, once a power lunch destination and a food bite in the best pools of Miam after a flurry, is now just as popular with boozy brunches as its dynamic, happy hour scene (Choi, 21869). There are several options for group dining and degustation menus in the Coral Gables restaurants and some of the finest food in the area. Eating house is a restaurant, for example, where conventional dishes become healthy and enjoyable food to enjoy. Some cuisine, like kiddie’s typical dirt cup, is playful, while others like mushroom tartare and pasta carbonara, are serious and exquisite. Almost six years after the food scene became famous, Eating House demonstrates that it remains powerful. Bookings are also difficult, and tables are rarely vacant.


Biltmore Hotel at Coral Gables (1200 Anastasia Ave, Coral gables, FL 33134)

More than 150,000 new companies in Coral Gables open their doors each year. Launching a company is an exciting undertaking that requires careful planning. The location is one of the first and foremost factors. The Coral Gables economy involves domestic and foreign firms but is unusual in other areas of Florida because seasonal changes do not affect them. Town civic facilities, extraordinarily high quality of living, natural and architectural elegance, easy access, responsible development, and a diversified economy are perfect areas to invest domestically and globally. Biltmore Hotel and Venice’s swimming pool are big regional sights Patricios et al., 919). It is to the south of the National Park Biscayne and the west of Everglades National Park. The hotel business has been noted to do well due to the best amenities that are located in the City, thus attracting more tourists. For instance, most of the tourists spend their holidays in this City. The transport business is also a favorable business that does well in the City. This is mainly due to the high population level, which ensures that the transport sector is well represented in the City. 


The study found out that Coral Gables is a diverse neighborhood that has well-represented geography. The existence of unique landmarks also ensures that the City is more attractive among the tourist. Besides, the City has a well-established transport system that ensures proper transportation services among the people. Besides, the existence of a better business environment ensures that the economic productivity of the City is well established. This favors the high diversity level among the city members in the City. However, low agricultural practices are carried out in this region, which may affect the expected food security. 


Chaulagain, Suja, Jessica Wiitala, and Xiaoxiao Fu. “The impact of country image and destination image on US tourists’ travel intention.” Journal of Destination Marketing & Management 12 (2019): 1-11.

Choi, Phil M., et al. “Social, demographic, and economic correlates of food and chemical consumption measured by wastewater-based epidemiology.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 116.43 (2019): 21864-21873.

Daly, Nicholas. The demographic imagination and nineteenth-century City. No. 97. Cambridge University Press, 2015.

Hadlow, Richard Bryce. “The City Of Coral Gables v. Wood, 305 So. 2d 261 (Fla. 3d Dist. Ct. App. 1974).” Florida State University Law Review 4.1 (1976): 163-170.

Lin, Jan. “HERITAGE, ART, AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT IN MIAMI’S OVERTOWN AND LITTLE HAVANA.” The Power of Urban Ethnic Places. Routledge, 2010. 127-184..

Patricios, Nicholas. “Phineas Paist and the Architecture of Coral Gables, Florida.” Tequesta 64 (2004): 2-26.

Rodulfo, Raimundo. “Smart City Case Study: the City of Coral Gables Leverages the Internet of Things to Improve Quality of Life.” IEEE Internet of Things Magazine 3.2 (2020): 74-81.

Rodulfo, Raimundo. “Smart City Case Study: the City of Coral Gables Leverages the Internet of Things to Improve Quality of Life.” IEEE Internet of Things Magazine 3.2 (2020): 74-81.

Sheskin, Ira M. “Coral Gables, Florida 33 124.” Geographical Dimensions of Energy 5 (2012): 19.

Trent Martino: Miami Service 2020

Self Bio

Hello, my name is Trent Martino. I am a junior at Florida International University, studying Electrical Engineering. I am also in the Honors College, and this semester I am taking Professor John Bailly’s class: Art Society Conflict. For this class, Professor Bailly asked us to volunteer with an art institution, and I chose to volunteer with the Deering Estate.

Where and Why

The Deering Estate is home to one of the oldest civilizations in South Florida. This is true whether you are talking about the original indigenous tribes of the Tequesta people, or if you are talking about one of the first major settlements in the area when Charles Deering decided to build his estate here in the early 1900’s. When the State of Florida acquired the Deering Estate in the 1980’s, the began a mission to preserve both aspects of this historical landmark.

The Deering Estate is also a great place for platforming artists in the community. When I was in middle school, I went to Southwood Middle School, which is down the street from the Deering Estate, and I was in the orchestra magnet program. They would hold recitals that students of all ages could participate in or come watch. Not only that, they actually hire and support local artists. Professor Bailly is one of the resident artists at the Deering Estate, where he has an art studio, and is given access to the property to help inspire him in his work.

All of these reasons gave me a grand amount of respect for what the Deering Estate does in their goals and their mission. It’s a nice mixture of preservation and innovation. Because of this, I wanted to help them out in any way possible. So, I reached out to some volunteering coordinators there to ask them if there were any opportunities for me to help them out. They sent me a list of events that they were hosting where they needed volunteers, and I chose to participate in their Historic Holiday Evening Strolls event on December 4th. The Historic Holiday Strolls is a yearly event that this organization holds where they decorate the property with holiday-themed decorations, and guests can come and walk around the property to see how they transformed it for the holiday event.

The event that I volunteered for is called the Historic Holiday Strolls. This is an event where organizers and staff decorate the entire residential part of the property (where the houses and cottage is located) with holiday decorations. the place is really transformed for this and similar events! If you are a fan of the aesthetic of Christmastime, this is a must see, whenever you can.

What I did

This event was hosted by the Deering Estate for their members and the community at large (however, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the spots were limited and guests had to register beforehand). The entire property was decorated with winter holiday decorations (mainly Christmas, but there were some Hanukah decorations thrown in as well). They really transformed everything into a beautiful landscape, and it feels like you’re walking through a South Florida version of the North Pole, with all of the lights and trees put up. For this event, I acted as a greeter. I sat a table at the entrance to the event, and along with another volunteer, we would help direct the guests to the many events on the property that night. We would also pass out fliers that had other events that the Deering Estate was holding throughout the first quarter of 2021. There were many people who were interested in what they Deering Estate had to offer, which was very exciting and encouraging. I was also asked to help families take pictures as they walked in.

Towards the end of the event, I was re-stationed to the exit of the event, where I was asked to pass out more of the fliers of the Deering Estate’s future events.

I hope that the organization has good turnouts throughout these events, even with the pandemic going on, because I would like to see their operations expand and for their to do more projects. In the future I would consider participating in more events that they host and become a regular over there.

Key Takeaways

By participating in this event, I think that I got a good behind-the-scenes look at what the Deering Estate does to earn extra funding. This event was very grandiose, and it looked as though they had a large turnout. Overall, i wold say that these events work in their favor. They are giving people the opportunity to come into the prestigious property and get a unique experience – seeing a historical house decorated for the holidays in a very grandiose fashion.

Overall, I feel like the people responsible for running the event did an excellent job of setting it up and giving people the needed information. However, many people from the community, including “members” came to the front confused about the ticket limit that was imposed on the event due to the pandemic. While this is something that the organizers made obvious on their website, I suppose that there could have been more efforts made to ensure that other members of the community were aware of the changes.

In the future I hope to get the opportunity to help the Deering Estate with more of their endeavors. I would love to help with more of the art projects that they have on the property as apart of the organization. Even though I am a STEM major, I think that the art world is extremely interesting and important, and I believe that the Deering Estate is doing an excellent job of supporting this fantastic part of our culture.

Confirmation for my volunteer hours on MyHonors.

Kathalinna Zuniga: Golden Beach 2020

Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science, 2019. Photo by Pamela Zuniga.

Hello everyone, welcome to my blog! My name is Kathalinna Zuniga, I was born and raised in Bogotá, Colombia, and I moved to Florida almost five years ago.  I am a persistent and committed honors student, double majoring in International Relations and Political Science at Florida International University. Before moving to Florida, I lived in Ottawa, Canada, for about a year. Canada’s demographic diversity awakened my passion for different cultures, languages, religions, and customs, reason why I decided to explore and learn more about South Florida.


Golden Beach is a small town with 1.8 square miles, and approximately 364 homes. It has the Atlantic Ocean on the east, the Intracoastal Waterway on the west, the city of Sunny Isles on the south and the city of Hallandale Beach on the north. Thus, it is located 18 miles from Miami International Airport and 15 miles from Ft. Lauderdale International Airport (Golden Beach, 2020). Moreover, Golden Beach is one of the most desirable places to live as it characterizes for being a small, exclusive, private and quiet community. Additionally, the town is protected from commercial activity and prohibits the construction of high-rise condominiums. 

Photo by Kathalinna Zuniga/CC BY 4.0
Golden Beach, Google Maps location.

The Town of Golden Beach is divided in three small residential islands, North, Central and South. 


R.W. and Henry G. Ralston were two brothers who founded what is now known as Golden Beach. Their plan was to build a small, intimate community next to the ocean. Therefore, almost 90 years ago this two brothers changed the mangroves and sand dunes space into exclusive single-family homes, and they spent millions of dollars in the process (Golden Beach, 2020). 

At the beginning, the streets of Golden Beach were given Italian names such as Massini Avenue, Verona, Palermo, Venice and Ravenna. Additionally, the Beach Pavilion, built in 1924, was once called Florentine Loggia because it had a strong Mediterranean Revival influenced. Indeed, many houses still have Italian designed spaces.  

On the other hand, the Town of Golden Beach was incorporated by a special act of the State of Florida in May 1929. Currently, the town holds the vision that once the Ralston brothers had, while evolving, expanding and becoming one of the most exclusive and expensive places to live in Miami Dade County. 

Moreover, I wanted to mention an article that I read about gentrification in Golden Beach (Blaskey, 2020).  Nonetheless, the definition of gentrification is different here, because the rich are being pushed out by the richer in this Town. Many long-term residents have been forced to leave Golden Beach because they cannot afford their homes anymore. Thus, many argued that it has become a different community, with many Brazilians, Russians and even wealthy Venezuelans pushing old residents out of the Town. Not only that,  but the town manager and the council have made it hard to stay in the area. Hence, I guess we are seeing a different type of gentrification, if you may even call it that way…

Photo taken from Golden Beach official site.

Photo by Kathalinna Zuniga/CC BY 4.0


Golden Beach has a total population of approximately 1,023, with males representing the 50.44% and females the 49.56% of the population. Additionally, the median age is 44. Moreover, Golden Beach is one of the most educated communities if the state with approximately 73.11% of its residents having an Associate’s degree or higher, and 34.27% having a Graduate degree or higher. The median yearly income is $128,408, meaning that residents earn 146% more than the county, 127% more than the state, and 102% more than the nation. In fact,  household expenditures are approximately, $111,168 per year (Beacon Council, 2020). 

However, Golden Beach is a popular vacation destination. In other words, its population is seasonal, thus, during the vacation season there is a larger influx of people who rent or come to their second home residences. Therefore, after the season is over the population drops and the community is quieter and smaller as it is for the most part of the year. 

Finally, the town of Golden Beach is very ethnically diverse. Indeed, the greatest number of homeowners are White, followed by Asian. In addition, the Hispanic population represents 30.67%, and ancestries of people include Russian, Polish, Italian, and German. Not only that, but 47.63% of the residents were born outside of the United States.

Photo by Jorge Milano/CC BY 4.0


As Golden Beach is characterized for being a small, residential town it does not count with many places open to the public. However, some of the most iconic locations include the private beach, which is limited to property owners and monuments that are located among the parks, and have been dedicated to mayors of the town and its police department. 

The town of Golden beach currently has 9 parks were residents can enjoy open spaces and a private access to the beach. Some of the parks are: 

  1. The Town of Golden Beach Strand Park and Marine Patrol Dock 
Photo by Kathalinna Zuniga/CC BY 4.0
Photo by Kathalinna Zuniga/CC BY 4.0

The Marine Patrol covers special events happening in the town and controls the three miles of intra-coastal waterways that Golden Beach has. In fact, the town has its own Police Department which includes a community patrol division, K-9 division, detective bureau and of course, the marine patrol unit. 

2. Singe Park

Photo by Kathalinna Zuniga/CC BY 4.0

This park was named after Mayor Glenn Singer, who helped the town while improving the residents quality of life. In fact, he purchased many vacant lots so that Golden Beach would be able to have green spaces. 

3. Loggia Beach Park: private beach park and pavilion.

Loggia Beach Park, Google Maps location.

4. Dog parks and parks open to the public: 

Photo by Kathalinna Zuniga/CC BY 4.0
Photo by Kathalinna Zuniga/CC BY 4.0


Unfortunately, or luckily, depending on the perspective from which you are looking at it, Golden Beach prohibits any type of commercial activity. Thus, you will not find any nightclubs, restaurants or shopping centers in the town. Indeed, residents enjoy the tranquility of life far from all the craziness of bigger cities. 

However, not too far from the town, homeowners can enjoy casual and exclusive dining places such as the Soya Noddle Bar, Te Amo Café, Jupiter on the Water among many others. In addition, they can find shopping malls such as Aventura, Intracoastal mall, The Shopper at the Waterways, and The Village at Gulfstream Park. 

Finally, the industry that has being benefited the most is the real state industry. Golden Beach has properties that could cost $2,000,000 to $25,000,000 and rent could vary from $14,000 to $90,000 per month. 

Photo by Kathalinna Zuniga/CC BY 4.0

Photo by Kathalinna Zuniga/CC BY 4.0


Most of Golden Beach residents use their cars to drive around the area. Additionally, residents spend an average of 25 minute to get to work with the Interstate at only 2 miles away from the town. Not only that, but within 50 miles of the town there are 11 airports. Additionally, buses could also work as a transportation mode, but they are barely or not at all used. 


Golden Beach is a small, unique, quiet and exclusive town that has definitely keep the vision of the founders. The town’s incredible houses and organization are nothing but fascinating, indeed, many foreigners are attracted to this beautiful neighborhood. However, all this wealth and power makes you think about the inequalities of Miami Dade County. While many families during the pandemic were struggling to pay for groceries and had no option but to work and put their lives at risks, others were paying almost $90,000 per month for rent and had their town banned visitors from entering the area. 


About Golden Beach. (n.d.). Retrieved December 14, 2020, from https://www.goldenbeach.us/about/

History of Golden Beach. (n.d.). Retrieved December 14, 2020, from https://www.goldenbeach.us/history-of-golden-beach/

Blaskey, S. (n.d.). Gentrification 2.0? The rich are being pushed out by the richer in this Miami-area city. Retrieved December 14, 2020, from https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/article214756520.html

Golden Beach. (2018, March 20). Retrieved December 14, 2020, from https://www.beaconcouncil.com/why-miami-dade/cities/golden-beach/

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