"Reading books, visiting museums, or simply stopping short before the vast, gold umbrella of some chestnut tree in mid-autumn, aren't we always, in a sense looking for ourselves? — Michael Hettich from "Artifacts of Silence: Bones, Circles and Stones," about the Miami Circle.
Architectural and historical spaces allow residents to discover clues their past. On a popular coastal spit of land by the Miami River, for instance, there is evidence of an ancient Native American civilization: a perfect 38-foot circle etched in limestone bedrock with twenty-four basins along its circumference remains preserved among the luxury high-rises in Miami’s financial district. Discovered in 1998, the archaeological site contained many artifacts including shell-tools and human teeth dating thousands of years. Now a U.S. National Historic Landmark known as the Miami Circle, the site is a popular venue for various cultural events. (Only in Miami!)
"Man without teeth without bones cave full of its own darkness full of its own breath in and out of the grass which was here. The same birds were here. But more of them breathing The people who lived here a thousand years ago and what about the stones?" — Michael Hettich from "Artifacts of Silence: Bones, Circles and Stones," about the Miami Circle.
Preserving such landmarks is essential to conserving the history and culture of a city. Yet, perpetuating what was here before us isn’t always a simple task, especially when development skyrockets, threateming to destroy any remnants of the past. Luckily many organizations have fought to preserve such historical places.
One of these groups is The Villagers, Inc. Founded in 1966 with the goal of preserving the Douglas Entrance in Coral Gables, the group has helped to conserve other Miami landmarks including the Biltmore, Vizcaya, Fairchild Tropical Gardens, and the Kampong. Now, they are helping preserve twelve Downtown Miami architectural and historical landmarks, and thus the culture of the city, by funding the current art and literature exhibition at the Miami Dade College Museum of Art + Design (MOA + D).
"We used to call it the old rock house. Tell me something why you care about this place? A place that's been here long before you were born? Keeping it around all this time when you've got all these tall buildings put together with machines." —Nadege Green from "Been Here All This Time," about the Plantation Slave Quarters.
Presented in collaboration with Word + Image Lab (WAIL), Downtown Miami: The Ground Beneath Our Feet, presents a unique art book by twenty-four South Florida writers and artists; twelve writer and artist teams each created a page of visual art and writing focused on one of the following sites: the Miami Circle Archaeological Site, Plantation Slave Quarters, City of Miami Cemetery, D. A. Dorsey House, First Federal Courthouse and Post Office, Scottish Rite Temple, Brickell Mausoleum, Huntington Building, Freedom Tower, Olympia Theater, U.S. Post Office and Courthouse and the Alfred I DuPont Building.
Together, the artists and writers resurrect dormant buildings and historical landmarks through creativity and art, awakening spirits from the past through creative words and images.
Writers participating in the book are Jaswinder Bolina, Adrian Castro, John Dufresne, Denise Duhamel, Luis Eligio D Omni, Andrea Gollin, Lori Colleen Kelly, Molly Mcgreevy, Nadege Green, Michael Hettich, Jessica Machado and Susan Weiner. Participating visual artists are Jenny Brillhart, Rosemarie Chiarlone, Felice Grodin, Gary Moore, Lea Nickless, Ernesto Oroza, Brian Reedy, Onajide Shabaka, Sara Stites, Carol Todaro, Tom Virgin and Michele Weinberg
- Date: Through August 16, 2015 "WAIL Lab, 2nd Floor"
- Opening Reception & Panel Discussion: Sunday, June 7, 2015 from 1 to 3 p.m.
- Admission Information: Free and open to the public
- Event Hours: Sunday, June 7, 2015, 1 to 3 p.m.
- Museum Hours: Wednesday through Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. /Third Saturdays of the month, noon to 8 pm
- Location Information: Freedom Tower, 600 Biscayne Blvd.; Miami, FL 33132
- Contact Information: MDC Museum of Art + Design. (305) 237-7700