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AN INDEPENDENT SUPPLEMENT BY MIA MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS GROUP TO THE MIAMI HERALD

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 29, 2019

CELEBRATING

O F EXCELLENCE

Special Guide to Exhibits Spanning the African Diaspora

“Bubble Love” by Addonis Parker WINNER OF THE 5TH ANNUAL ART OF BLACK COVER COMPETITION

MIA IS THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF ART OF BLACK


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FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 29, 2019

MIAMI IS I T S OW N WO R K OF ART ArtofBlackMiami.com

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FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 29, 2019

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EDITOR’S NOTE

TABLE OF CONTENTS 4

ART OF BLACK 2019 SCHEDULE

6 DEFINING AFRO-CUBAN ART DEPENDS ON THE VIEW FROM YOUR LENS By Dr. Keshia N. Abraham

8

COVER STORY Art of Black Cover Contest Winner Addonis Parker Follows Childhood Dream By Josie Gulliksen

10 P  OINT COMFORT ART SHOW FEATURES COLLECTION FROM SPELMAN COLLEGE MUSEUM OF FINE ART By Christopher Norwood

12 AARP ENCOURAGES PEOPLE OVER 50 TO EXPLORE, LEARN AT ART OF BLACK By MIA Staff

ART AFRICA COMMEMORATES SOCIAL JUSTICE THROUGH DIASPORIC ARTS By KeChi Okpala

13 URBAN CENTER OFFERS BRIGHTER FUTURE FOR AT-RISK CHILDREN, THANKS TO THE ARTS By Russell Motley

14 ALL ACCESS Art of Black Kick-off Event

SUPPORT OUR ADVERTISERS

This year’s response to the Art of Black Cover Contest was overwhelming. More than 70 pieces of original artwork were submitted for the chance to win a $5,000 grand prize thanks to the Greater Miami

Convention & Visitors Bureau, MIA Media Group, and AARP. We are proud to present top honors to “Bubble Love” by Miami artist Addonis Parker. Admittedly, even as an art collector, I struggled to piece together the imagery in Parker’s mysterious painting. So I went straight to the source. Parker, 47, offered that the young black woman depicted in his piece, amid the floating bubbles and red roses, has a lot weighing on her heart. The plot thickens when I learn the woman is holding the pain of her personal mistakes and that her mother has recently passed away. This is what I love about Art of Black Miami — the opportunity to explore, analyze, discuss, and simply

enjoy the best offerings of AfricanAmerican artists. Many are popular like Marcus Blake, who won last year’s cover contest with his signature triangular patterns. Others, like Parker, who started sketching at age 6 when his mother first bought him a drawing pad, are hoping to finally become widely known in the industry. It’s important to remember to celebrate these talented artists not just during Art of Black Miami but all year long. Russell Motley MIA Editor-in-Chief rm@miamediagrp.com

GREETINGS FROM GMCVB

The Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau is excited to celebrate Art of Black Miami activities during the winter art season in Miami Dade. The collaboration is organized by the Multicultural Tourism & Development Department and focuses on promoting the art, culture and diversity that resides in greater Miami and to shine a spotlight on local, national and international art and artists representing the African diaspora. The AOB Miami collaborative has a strong presence each year during Art Basel but continues year-round to celebrate the abundant artistic diversity found within Miami’s

mosaic neighborhoods. We encourage residents and visitors to venture out to the communities in Miami-Dade and experience some of the unique exhibits and programming throughout the entire city. The dedicated web page www.ArtofBlackMiami.com provides the most current updates and more information about events and programs available to visit and attend in December and year round. For social media purposes when making posts, please use our hashtags #ArtofBlackMiami #FoundinMiami It is my hope that you venture out and visit some of our artistic and cultural treasures found in Multicultural Miami. Yours Truly, Connie W. Kinnard Vice President, Multicultural Tourism & Development Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau

Art of Black Miami

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Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau

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#BeInformed #BeInfluential #BlackHistoryMonth CREDO OF THE BLACK PRESS

Dexter A. Bridgeman CEO & Founder Russell Motley Editor-in-Chief Yanela G. McLeod Copy Editor Shannel Escoffery Vice President Sabrina Moss-Solomon Graphic Designer

“The Black Press believes that America can best lead the world away from racial and national antagonisms when it accords to every one regardless of race, color or creed, full human and legal rights. Hating no person, fearing no person, the Black Press strives to help every person in the firm belief that all hurt as long as anyone is held back.”


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FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 29, 2019

12/1/19 – 12/8/19 MIAMI ART BASEL WEEK 2019 VENUES & EVENTS LISTINGS MIAMI BEACH

DESIGN DISTRICT Haiti A La Mode: Contemporary 12/4/19 – 12/6/19 Haitian Heritage Museum 4141 NE 2nd Ave., Suite 105C 12/4/19 Opening Exhibition 6:30 – 9:30 p.m. 12/5/19 Pop Up Shop 6:30 – 9:30 p.m. HaitianHeritageMuseum.org

DOWNTOWN MIAMI The Adventures of Bibi & Friends 20 Years of Miami Beach Comic History 12/3/19-12/9/19 Downtown Miami Macy’s 22 East Flagler Street, 2nd Floor Open daily 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Theadventuresofbibiandfriends.com Teresita Fernandez: Elemental Through 2/9/20 Pérez Art Museum Miami 1103 Biscayne Blvd. 12/3/19 Art Talk: Teresita Fernandez, Franklin Sirmans, Maria Elena Ortiz and Amada Cruz 1/16/20 New Members Celebration: Art Talk featuring Teresita Fernandez and Aruna D’Souza PAMM.org/Elemental Prizm Art Fair 2019* 12/2/19 – 12/8/19 Alfred I. Dupont Building 169 E. Flagler St. Open daily 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Free and ticketed events PrizmArtFair.com The Muses Experience 12/6/19 – 12/7/19 Seafair Miami 100 Chopin Plaza Open daily Noon – Midnight TheMusesExperience.com

LIBERTY CITY 3rd Annual Art, Blues, Soul & BBQ Festivals 12/7/19 The African Heritage Cultural Arts Center 6161 NW 22nd Ave. AHCACmiami.org

LITTLE HAITI MUCE ARTS & Culture Festival* (Ode To Hip Hop) 12/1/19 – 12/15/19 MUCE Makers Campus 246 NW 54th St. 12/1/19 Opening Reception 1 – 4 p.m. MUCE305.org *Art Fairs 

Art Beat Miami Art Fair* 12/4/19 – 12/8/19 Caribbean Marketplace 5925 NE 2nd Ave. Open daily Noon – 8 p.m. 12/4/19 Opening Reception & Preview Party 12/5/19 Sip & Paint 6 – 8 p.m. 12/6/19 Spice it Up! Miami 7 – 10 p.m. 12/7/19 Sew Artsy 5 – 7 p.m. Poetic Lakay 8 – 10 p.m. Free and ticketed events ArtBeatMiami.com Melanin Rendezvous 12/5/19 – 12/8/19 Little Haiti Cultural Center 212 NE 59th Terrace Open daily 11 a.m. – 11 p.m. MelaninRendezvous.com The Kingdom of This World, Reimagined 12/6/19 – 1/20/20 Little Haiti Cultural Center Satellite Gallery 301 NE 61st St. Open daily 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. 12/6/19 Vernissage Opening Reception 10 a.m. – 1p.m. HaitianCulturalArtsAlliance.org The Visual Life of Social Affliction 12/6/19 – 2/29/20 Little Haiti 212-260 NE 59th Terrace 12/6/19 Vernissage Opening Reception 10 a.m. – 1p.m. HaitianCulturalArtsAlliance.org

MUSE Art Fair* 12/3/19 – 12/8/19 Gates Hotel South Beach 2360 Collins Ave. Open daily 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. 12/3/19 VIP Preview 4 – 6 p.m. VIP Vernissage 6 – 10 p.m. MUSEArtFair.com Contemporary Art & Collectibles at the Breakwater – Miami 12/5/19 – 12/8/19 The Breakwater 940 Ocean Drive Dec. 5-7 from 11a.m. – 8 p.m. Dec. 8 from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. AtTheBreakwater.com AFRIKIN® 2019: Art of Conversation – Love is the Way Forward 12/6/19 New World Center 500 17th St. Open 6 – 11 p.m. Afrikin.org/art-of-conversation

NORTH MIAMI 10th Annual Art Basel Panel Discussion on African Diaspora Art 12/8/19 Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami 770 NE 125th St. Open Noon – 3 p.m. CADA.us

CORAL GABLES

We Are Who We Are 12/6/19 – 12/8/19 Griot’s Gallery & Academy 8260 NE 2nd Ave. Open daily Noon – 7 p.m. 12/8/19 Closing Reception 3 – 7 p.m. WeAreWhoWeAre.eventbrite.com

Diago: The Pasts of This Afro Cuban Present Through 1/19/20 University of Miami Lowe Art Museum 1301 Stanford Drive Open daily 5 – 9 p.m. 12/1/19 Art Conversation: Hosted by Miami Museum of Contemporary Art of the African Diaspora and Lowe Museum 5 – 9 p.m. RSVP@eventbrite.com Lowe.Miami.edu

LITTLE HAVANA

WYNWOOD

Umbrellas of Little Havana 12/6/19 – 12/8/19 Futurama Art Galleries 1637 SW 8th St. Open daily 10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. PatiVargasEnt.com

JAH MEK IT 12/5/19 Dukunoo Jamaican Kitchen 316 NW 24th St. 7 p.m. – 2 a.m. MCameronArt.com

Afrofuturism: Art & Tech Exhibition 12/2/19 – 12/6/19 Presented by the Blacktech Week/Code Fever Miami 937 NW 3rd Ave. Open 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. BlackTechWeek.com Glamour Shots by Bunny Yeager, Overtown to Ocho Rios: 1958-1973 12/2/19 – 12/8/19 Copper Door Bed & Breakfast 439 NW 4th Ave. Curator: Michael Sellinger of Cottelston Advisors 12/7/19 Bunny Yeager: Art Talk 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. CopperDoorBnB.com/events THE FIRST FIVE: Pioneers in Community Policing Colored-Negro District 12/3/19 – 12/7/19 Black Police Precinct & Courthouse Museum 480 NW 11th St. Open daily 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. BlackPoliceFirstFive.eventbrite.com 9th Annual Art Africa Miami Arts Fair 2019* 12/3/19 – 12/8/19 Presented by the Urban Collective/ Art Africa Miami Arts Fair 919 NW 2nd Ave. 12/3/19 VIP First Look Champagne Brunch 11:30 a.m. – 2p.m. 12/4/19 ART + FASHION THE BLACK PARTY 8 p.m. – Midnight 12/5/19 ART + COMMUNITY 6 p.m. The Annual Art + Community Talk by Art Africa Director, Neil Hall 12/6/19 ART + YOUTH 4 – 6 p.m. Art Africa Youth Art Insiders presents Expressive Arts for Social Justice ArtAfricaMiamiFair.com Overtown Typology: Shotgun Houses, Goodbread Alley, Colorful People 12/3/19 – 12/8/19 Northwest 3rd Avenue and 9th Street Open Space Open daily Noon – 9 p.m. MarvinWeeks.com Dunns-Josephine Hotel Tour & Wine Tasting 12/4/19 Dunns-Josephine Hotel 1028 NW 3rd Ave. Open 5 – 9 p.m. RSVP@eventbrite.com Dunns-JosephineHotel.com

Hampton Art Lovers Presents Point Comfort Art Fair + Show* 12/4/19 – 12/9/19 Historic Ward Rooming House 249 NW 9th St. Open daily 11 a.m.-– 8 p.m. 12/4/19 Press Review 4 – 8 p.m. 12/5/19 Opening Reception 12/6/19 Indaba Art Conversations with Dr. Michael Eric Dyson 6 – 8 p.m. 12/7/19 Indaba Art Conversations with Bisa Butler 6 – 8 p.m. Indaba After Party 10 p.m. – 2 a.m. HamptonArtLovers.com Our Voice Matters – Gallery Reception & Talk Back 12/5/19 Presented by Urgent, Inc. Venture Cafe Miami 1951 NW 7th Ave. 4 – 7 p.m. 12/7/19 Community Arts Day 480 NW 11th St. Noon – 3 p.m. Events are free and open to the public with RSVP 786/581-7821 UrgentInc.org ICONS Fine Art Exhibit presented by Art by Golden/Golden Galleries in Partnership with The Black Archives Historic Lyric Theater 12/5/19 – 12/10/19 The Black Archives Historic Lyric Theater 819 NW 2nd Ave. Open daily Noon – 8 p.m. 12/7/19 Lecture series with Dr. David C. Driskell and Professor Curlee R. Holton 2:30 p.m. 12/8/19 Lecture on the art of collecting fine art 2:30 p.m. BAHLT.org ArtByGolden.com Folklife Friday Open Air Market 12/6/19 9th Street Pedestrian Mall NW 9th Street & 2nd Avenue (Adjacent to the Black Archives Historic Lyric Theater) 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. Art of Conversation Soul of Basel 12/6/19 Presented by Miami City Commission Chairman Keon Hardemon & The Southeast Overtown / Park West CRA Programmed by: Headliner Market Group The Black Archives Historic Lyric Theater 819 NW 2nd Ave. Open 7 p.m. – Midnight ArtofConversation2019.eventbrite.com

Urban Soul Experience Creative Affirmations 12/6/19 – 12/8/19 Presented by Eye Urban TV, Urbengineers, Wynter Media Group, China Travels, The Cranky Coach, Eise Promos and SheBeEverywhere 1121 NW 3rd Ave. Open daily 6 p.m. – Midnight 786/720-5575 The Urban Experience 12/6/19 – 12/8/19 The Urban 1000 NW 2nd Ave. 305/424-8741 Open daily 10 a.m. – 2 a.m. 12/8/1 Art Xpressions: A Craft Culinary Soul Experience Noon – 8 p.m. TheUrban.Miami Buy Melanin Black Business Expo Miami 12/7/19 Powered by Cantu Beauty, JuiceDefined, and Brand 2 Brand Marketing Overtown Performing Arts Center 1074 NW 3rd Ave. Open 1 – 5 p.m. BuyMelaninExpo.com Soul Basel Sip n Vibes 12/8/19 Partnered with Brand 2 Brand Marketing and Nemo’s Uoowow Overtown Performing Arts Center 1074 NW 3rd Ave. 1 – 5 p.m. ExperienceOvertown.com/soulbasel


FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 29, 2019

AN INDEPENDENT SUPPLEMENT BY MIA MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS GROUP TO THE MIAMI HERALD

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FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 29, 2019

Defining Afro-Cuban Art Depends on the View from Your Lens

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BY DR. KESHIA N. ABRAHAM

rom nuanced Hip Hop to stylized jazz, from paintings in the streets to lining the gallery walls, from the folkloric to the sacred, from hairstyles to footwear, from the sounds of drums to arroz con pollo, Africa is everywhere in Cuba. What Afro-Cuban art is, however, depends on where you are situated, where you are looking and the lenses through which you read what you see. There is Afro-Cuban art in many different spaces throughout Miami and there is Afro-Cuban art all over Cuba and these “arts” are not in and of the same worlds. Afro-Cuban art can be Black but is differently Black than say African- American art. Black and Cuba are only synonymous if you are not from Miami, if you have actually been to Cuba, or if your work actively involves the African Diaspora. When we speak of African-American art we are usually addressing Juan Roberto Diago art created by African Sin Titulo (Untitled), 2011 Mixed media on canvas Americans and what x 39.5 inches defines the Afro in Afro- 50.5 © Juan Roberto Diago Cuban art is its content and context not necessarily the background of the artist. It is possible to be “not-Black” and make Afro-Cuban art that is appreciated for its Africanity in a way that has not been the case throughout the rest of the African diaspora. The African presence in Cuba is undeniable,

incredibly strong and visible but because of the practice of whitening in the U.S., it is possible to shed, deny, or simply omit one’s blackness

have several distinctions – art that pays homage to African heritage and culture, art by Black Cubans, and art that makes reference to Afro-Cuban culture. None of these are mutually exclusive. As a “movement,” Afro-Cuban Art involves bringing what is Black about Cuba to the forefront and an important linking with Black Diaspora arts as a much larger field or landscape. It is one in which Black/Afro-Cuban lives matter. For every art medium you can think of, there are extraordinary Afro-Cuban examples in Miami – from music, to dance, sculpture, painting, photography, to textile. Since the very first time seeing the work of Jose Bedia, who captures the true essence of what we seem to mean when we say “Afro-Cuban,” I have been fascinated with the power of the African presence from this nation and its diaspora. Afro-Cuban art has given the world, and the African Diaspora in particular, a symbolic language with which to speak to and about African spiritual systems, specifically with regard to the orishas. The iconography of spiritual African systems from many nations – Yoruba, Fon, Dahomey, Congo, Ketu, Ijesha, Egbado, Oyo, Nago, Jeje are all a part of what has become Afro-Cuban art. Here, there are so many points of reference that people from throughout the African Diaspora will feel and see a “familiar” energy in a variety of artistic mediums in Cuba and the Cuban diaspora. n

DIAGO: THE PASTS OF THIS AFRO CUBAN PRESENT Through Jan. 19, 2020 University of Miami Lowe Art Museum 1301 Stanford Drive, Coral Gables, FL Open daily 5 p.m. – 9 p.m.

in order to melt into the dominant, acceptable identity group in Miami. Here, it is both possible and common to refer to being Cuban and refer to one’s self as “white” while showing pictures of generations of family that include a Black abuelo or abuelita. So when we talk of Afro-Cuban art, we

ART CONVERSATION: HOSTED BY MIAMI MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART OF THE AFRICAN DIASPORA AND LOWE MUSEUM Dec. 1, 2019 5 p.m. – 9 p.m. RSVP@eventbrite.com Lowe.Miami.edu


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FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 29, 2019

COVER STORY

Art of Black Cover Contest Winner Addonis Parker Follows Childhood Dream

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BY JOSIE GULLIKSEN

rt of Black Cover Contest winner Addonis Parker said his first-place painting titled “Bubble Love” was inspired by a testimony he heard from a woman about a mistake she made in life and how she felt lost after her mother died. “The story stayed in my head, so the symbolism of that is evident throughout my piece,” explained Parker, who took top honors for the contest. It’s all part of the Art of Black initiative sponsored by the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau during Art Basel, an annual international art fair that showcases contemporary artwork by established and newly emerging artists. Parker secured the $5,000 grand prize provided by AARP, the title contest sponsor. “The bubbles are symbolic of her mother’s memory and the wisdom her mother left her while the rose falling through her hands is her spirit,” he said. “The thorns are the wisdom to protect her while the dark background represents that even in her darkest hour, she’s still beautiful.” Parker’s love of art dates back to his childhood. Growing up in Ohio, at age six Parker’s mother purchased him a drawing pad. He said that even at such a young age, he watched cartoons for more than just entertainment. He was interested in the engineering and dynamics behind the storyboard and how the animated figures moved. “My mind was already operating like this as a kid,” he said. “I would tell my mom that I noticed Woody Woodpecker had passed the same tree several times in a particular cartoon. This was 2ND PLACE: “Black Love” by Olivier A. Ganthier an early indication of how I was breaking things being well spoken as not masculine,” he shared. down in my head and taking them apart. I dissected That began to change one Valentine’s Day each element and I still do that to this day.” when Parker drew a rose for a female student who Parker continued his artistic process in middle later began bringing him more construction paper to school when he moved to Central Florida at age 12. duplicate the roses. “They called me ‘too white’ and they considered my “By lunchtime, I was getting paid to do more roses

WINNER: “Bubble Love” by Addonis Parker

for other guys for their girlfriends,” he said. Ultimately, his artistic ability and articulation led others to appreciate his way with words, including one student who thanked him for his well-expressed message on the card she received from her boyfriend. “She figured out I’d written it on his behalf,” he explained. “She thanked me and that inspired me. This happened in the eighth grade,” he said. In high school he moved on to creating designs on jeans. He also joined the student newspaper as the illustrator at the two high schools he attended. This continued in college where he pursued his art until he eventually moved back to Florida in 2001. After stints at a few non-profits as an art teacher, and with Arts for Learning, he started his own businesses. He operates Art Forever, Inc., a non-profit where he works with at-risk youth, and AfroTech, a for-profit business that produces graphic designs. Parker said winning the magazine cover contest is an absolute thrill. “I’m so happy to receive this award,” Parker said. “The individuals that run it are wonderful people.” n


FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 29, 2019

AN INDEPENDENT SUPPLEMENT BY MIA MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS GROUP TO THE MIAMI HERALD

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FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 29, 2019

Point Comfort Art Show Features Collection from Spelman College Museum of Fine Art

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BY CHRISTOPHER NORWOOD

nce again it’s that time of year when art aficionados descend upon Miami. This year’s edition of Miami Art Week will showcase a mature Black Art aesthetic, and Hampton Art Lovers is part of this movement. There are many others championing the cause of Black Art in Miami including N’Namdi Contemporary’s amazing debut of its new space in Little River/Little Haiti, Prizm Art Fair’s continued growth, and the burgeoning Miami MoCAAD movement for a unifying museum of African Diaspora Art. HAL was created in 2017 to inspire the appreciation of African-American Fine Art all year round. HAL honors the heart and soul of fine artists and makes their work discoverable by anyone who craves a connection to it. This past year, exhibitions included: Elizabeth Catlett and Hampton Arts Tradition (Art Basel); Ernie Barnes: Eyes Closed (Art Basel); Ebony Broadsides: Celebration of the Masters; Art of a Caged Bird Singing: Personal Collection of Maya Angelou; and Awakening: Sculptures and Drawings of Basil Watson. HAL operates the Historic Ward Rooming House Gallery in Overtown and works in partnership with the S.E. Overtown/Park West Joel Gresham CRA, City of Miami, the International Review of African-American Art, Art of Black Miami, and the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau, among others. This year, HAL presents a curated panoramic experience at Miami Art Week/ Art Basel/Soul Basel, sponsored by Hennessy. The experience is titled “Point Comfort” after the landmark in Virginia where the first Africans “Three Houses.” Beverly Buchanan

came ashore in North America. Point Comfort will include three connected activities: Point Comfort Art Show features selections from the Spelman College Museum of Fine Art. Works will be shown in a curated collection that includes: “Home: The Beverly Buchanan Collection,” and “Barrington Watson: The Spelman Years.” Buchanan created drawings, sculptures, prints, video, and land art and is best known for her exploration of the vernacular architecture of the American South. Watson made his original mark in Jamaica as a football player turned artist. Watson has exhibited throughout Jamaica and internationally while serving as a visiting professor at Spelman College. Point Comfort Art Fair highlights the works of contemporary and appreciated artists such as: Ernie Barnes, Basil Watson, BUCK!, Krystal Hart, Phil Shung, Gil Ashby, Joel Gresham and Musa Hixson. These will be on sale in a temperature-controlled tent attached to the Historic Ward Rooming House. Indaba Artist Conversations and Events: Dr. Michael Eric Dyson is our cultural ambassador and we are hosting his book signing for “Jay Z: Made in America.” The Art Fair will also host music and cultural nightlife events. Visit us at the Historic Ward Rooming House, 249 N.W. 9th St., Miami, Florida. n

TICKETS: www.hamptonartlovers.eventbrite.com INFORMATION: www.pointcomfortartfair.com, www.hamptonartlovers.com GENERAL SCHEDULE: December 5-8, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.


FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 29, 2019

AN INDEPENDENT SUPPLEMENT BY MIA MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS GROUP TO THE MIAMI HERALD

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FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 29, 2019

AARP Encourages People Over 50 to Explore, Learn at Art of Black

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BY MIA STAFF

ome folks claim that 50 is the new 30. However, AARP maintains that 50 is — well, 50. The nation’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering Americans 50 and over encourages its members to embrace their age and live their best life in creative spaces such as Art of Black. “From 1 to 50 is when we’re learning, and 50 on up is when we’re living,” said Dionne Polite, AARP’s director for state operations for Florida. “With that sort of mindset, we know, especially in a place like South Florida, when you reach 50 and above that’s really when you can expand to do the things you want to do, not the things you have to do.” AARP is a proud sponsor of the

AARP’s Dionne Polite

Art of Black Cover Contest, designed to support and nurture the careers of up-and-coming African-American artists. Polite said the nonpartisan

organization is happy to be a first-time partner of the fifth annual contest with the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Our focus is on surprising and delighting, not only our members but the community at large,” Polite said. “This is a way to show up in an unexpected place.” One major issue AARP wants people, particularly the elderly, to be aware of is loneliness and social isolation. Polite said events like Art of Black and other exhibits during Art Basel week are great opportunities for people to get out of the house and socialize. “It gives them an opportunity to explore, to interact, to be more social, to celebrate their culture, to be able to enjoy the richness of Art of Black,” Polite said. “Social isolation is as

detrimental to someone’s health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.” AARP’s Disrupt Age movement is an initiative designed to challenge outdated beliefs about aging. Polite suggests that AARP members should not let their age define how they live their life. “We’re bringing sexy back. Don’t be defined by the number,” Polite said. You can become an AARP member once you reach the age of 50 and, for many people, they see that as the beginning of their demise, while at AARP we see it as the beginning of living.”

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Art Africa Commemorates Social Justice through Diasporic Arts

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BY KECHI OKPALA

he Miami art scene has exploded into a tourism mecca since the influx of major art fairs, exhibitions, and historical landmarks. Art Africa founder Neil Hall talked to MIA magazine about his perspective on Black Art and the role he’s playing to promote Art Africa Miami Arts Fair. Visionary, architect, artist are a few words to describe Hall. Born to Jamaican parents who were artisans, his love for art started at a very young age. “My father was an artisan and my mother was a fashion designer,” Hall said. “So art has always been apart of my life.” In 2010, an art show featuring local artists Bayunga Kialeuka in the first design store in Midtown birthed the idea of an arts fair that pushes local black artists. “Before the art fairs and exhibitions, local Black artists would show their work in the basement of churches and storefronts,” Hall said. In 2011, Hall founded AAMAF,

Neil Hall

a narrative and space for art, culture, and community to set a precedent as the largest showcase of contemporary artists from the African Diaspora during Art Basel. “Initially no one cared or was curious about what we were doing,” Hall said. “Our first art fair was in a 5,000-square-foot tent in a parking lot

in Overtown. I must give it Dr. Dorothy Jenkins Fields for her continued support and encouragement especially during the early years.” Fast forward eight years. The 2019 AAMAF titled “Retrospective” commemorates nine years of social justice through diasporic arts and pays homage to the artists who have been

with the fair since its inception. Those artists include Alan Laird, Anthony Burks, Byran McFarlane, Carl Craig, Doba Afolabi, Emilio Martinez, Gene Dinizulu Tinnie, Najee Dorsey, Phillipe Dodard, Solomon Adufah, Tugo Bastien, George Endozie, Chri Edmon, and Tierra Armstrong. “We invite you to this year’s exhibition to revisit and reassess the works that have been a part of the transformation of art not only in Overtown but also in Miami,” Hall said. “Overtown, the ‘Harlem of the South’ and ‘heartbeat of Miami,’ is in the midst of a renaissance. Through the work of Art Africa, Soul Basel, and Art of Black, there is now an understanding that art plays a significant role in shaping our community.” This year, AAMAF moves to a new commercial space that will also serve as a creative hub and community for artists in residence. The location: Plaza at the Lyric, 919 N.W. 2nd Ave., Miami.

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FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 29, 2019

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Urban Center Offers Brighter Future for At-Risk Children, Thanks to the Arts

I

BY RUSSELL MOTLEY

t’s 7:20 p.m. on a Monday inside the Motivational Edge, a lively storefront space situated literally at the edge of where Allapattah meets Liberty City. Close your eyes, while here, and you’ll hear the beat of bongos penetrating the walls of the 22,000-square-foot facility. You’ll hear the rhythm of neighborhood teenagers pouring out their souls while spitting bars of spoken word. Now open your eyes and you’ll see the faces of black and brown children who’ve had a challenging start at life, according to the staff. Some have had Art instructor Nancy Soriano assists students at the Motivational Edge with drawing shapes and an unfortunate brush with the juvenile characters. justice system, while shapes to begin drawing characters on others are living off-white paper. Their instructor, Nancy in foster care or, Soriano, said she was their age when worse, are homeless she started drawing. She knows how on the street. (For much her mentorship will help identify these reasons, we their talents and ultimately shape their are not identifying lives. the children in “I have seen a lot of kids this program.) But with talent and some of them are right now, inside still blossoming,” said Soriano, a this safe, nurturing visual arts and drama instructor at haven, these children the Motivational Edge. “They get are laying the frustrated, but they still want to learn.” groundwork for a In another section of the campus, promising future. a group of teenagers take turns reciting “We use the original poetry, occasionally glancing arts as a tool to at their smart phones for the next verse. engage, educate, Their chilling words mirror their lives, Ramis Mercaeo, director of community engagement for the Motivational and empower young Edge, performs spoken word to a group of neighborhood teenagers at the as one young African-American male Allapattah center. minds,” said Ramis in the program performed: Mercaeo, director Mercaeo said the program serves of community engagement for the children as young as 6 and adults as old Young kid only 17, looking like nonprofit organization. “Basically, he’s grown as 23, a critical age as they transition we’ll take a program like Lyrical It’s a lot of stuff he has to deal with to independently support themselves. Expression, which is one of our on his own There is no cost to participate, thanks flagship programs, and we infuse life Mother’s always working and father’s to funding from the Children’s Trust, skills, job readiness—the skills young the City of Miami, and other public and always gone people need to be successful in life.” So now he’s gotta deal with all this private donations. Over the last year, enrollment pain on his own. at the Motivational Edge has nearly Children develop their talents at doubled from 40 students in a nearby Tovonnia Lewis is one of the an early age 500-square-foot facility to more than Edge’s leading instructors as well as In one well-lit area of the campus, 70 students in its larger new home on an author and award-winning spokenas it’s known, two girls and a boy 1550 N.W. 36th St. in the Allapattah around 7 years old use pencils to sketch word artist. She provides guidance, neighborhood. discipline, support, and consistency to

a population of children who, for now, may have unstable lives. “Any tips that I give them for a performance is always drawn back to becoming better people overall because that’s what has helped me,” Lewis said. “Poetry has helped me become a better person — how to express myself, how to hold myself up with confidence. So I teach the kids the same thing.” Program helps students become entrepreneurs

What’s more, students are taught how to monetize their creative expressions. For example, they’re instructed about how to design t-shirts using a heated printing press. They sell their shirts for a profit, only returning the cost of the materials to the program. The entrepreneurship program also teaches them how to design fliers and market their products. “They can be making fliers on their phones and making an income. But a lot of them don’t have people in their lives that can guide them in that direction,” Mercaeo said. “It’s really about being a product of your exposure and not your environment. If you’re not exposed to new things and new ideas, of course, by default, you will be a product of your environment because that is all you’re exposed to.” According to Mercaeo, the program’s goal is to ultimately improve their students’ grades and increase graduation rates while limiting any chance of them ending up in trouble. Clearly, the benefits of the Edge are reciprocal to everyone involved. “Honestly, it’s a very humbling experience and as much as you come to teach, you end up being the student,” said Lewis, who has taught at the program for several years. “You learn from the children. You learn their amazing stories that inspire you to keep going. You think that your situation is so rough. You get a chance to empower them but ultimately it empowers you to keep being that role model and keep being that light for them.” n


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FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 29, 2019

ALL ACCESS

Art of Black Miami Kick-Off, Nov. 19, 2019, Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, FL

George Gadson, featured artist for Art of Black Miami kickoff and 1995, 1999, Super Bowl commissioned sculptor; Woodie Lesesne of Lesesne Overtown Artist Marvin Weeks with Art of Black Miami Cover Competition Eric Knowles, president and CEO, Miami-Dade Chamber of Commerce Media Group Entertainment, Andrew Goldberg, consultant. 2nd place winner Olivier A. Ganthier. with Michelle Benoit.

Petra Brennan, Tourism Business Enhancement director, GMCVB Multicultural Tourism & Development; Carole Ann Taylor, GMCVB Multicultural chair; Dexter Bridgeman, founder and CEO of MIA Media Group; contest 2nd winner Olivier A. Ganthier; Connie Kinnard, VP GMCVB Multicultural Tourism & Development; William D. Talbert III, GMCVB president & CEO.

William D. Talbert III, GMCVB president & CEO; Petra Brennan, Tourism Business Enhancement director, GMCVB Multicultural Tourism & Development; Alvin L. West, CFO and senior vice president GMCVB.

GMCVB team with George Gadson, featured artist for Art of Black Miami kickoff and 1995, 1999 Super Bowl commissioned sculptor.

William D. Talbert III, GMCVB president & CEO, Greater MIAMI Convention & Visitors Bureau with Nat Moore, senior vice president, Special Projects, Alumni Relations.

William D. Talbert III, GMCVB president & CEO; Carole Ann Taylor, GMCVB Multicultural chair; Dexter Bridgeman, founder & CEO MIA Media Group.

Mayor Oliver Gilbert, City of Miami Gardens; Nat Moore, senior vice president, Special George Gadson, featured artist for Art of Black Miami Projects, Alumni Relations and adviser to CEO; Jason Jenkins, Miami Dolphins, senior kickoff and 1995, 1999, Super Bowl commissioned sculptor. vice president of Community Affairs.

Connie Kinnard, vice president, Multicultural Tourism & Development, Greater Miami Convention & Visitor’s Bureau.

Connie Kinnard, vice president, Multicultural Tourism & Development, Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau welcomes guests with entertainment by live performance artists.


FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 29, 2019

AN INDEPENDENT SUPPLEMENT BY MIA MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS GROUP TO THE MIAMI HERALD

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Find your inner soul. Immerse yourself in our cultural gems. Learn more at MiamiTemptations.com #MiamiTemptations

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Art of Black - 2019  

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