“Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.” Henry Ford
The Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum at Florida International University is reaching its branches into the community with new programs to envelope educational needs of our collective population. Art programs are often able to address a plethora of difficult issues affecting emotional, physical and mental setbacks of all stripes.
I was impressed with myriad ideas bubbling up on the Florida International University campus and new projects already in the works. Partnering with various groups, FIU and the Frost Art Museum is taking on a responsible approach to nurturing of the community it inhabits.
During a Saturday event on campus on April 6, I met with a diverse quartet of capable women, working diligently in this city to accomplish goals with verve and ability, equipped with the academic chops to pull off what they tackle. Recently appointed Director of the Patricia and Philip Frost Art Museum at FIU, Dr. Jordana Pomeroy is an important cog in this new direction, adding a positive spark to the tinder of Miami-Dade citizenry. Francine Anderson, Chief of Arts Education Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs was in attendance overseeing this particular Family Fun Day event with Zot’s Artz under the umbrella of the Cultural Affair’s “All Kids Included” program (Accessible Arts Experiences for Kids).
Miriam Machado is the Curator of Education at FIU guiding the many program ideas, and Dana Penzoldt, Cultural Project Administrator of Children’s Art Programs is drawing on the creative aspects to provide healing arts for the Youth Arts Enrichment Program created as a joint initiative of the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and The Children’s Trust. I was delighted to meet with such an impressive group working tirelessly and inventively.
Dr. Pomeroy is focusing on “going into communities and introducing the idea of coming to museums....to get them to seek you out” She wants to change the attitude of museum-going, expand the audience and stay relevant. “The kinds of programming we will create is ancillary to the exhibitions to bring in different audiences.” They will be “changing cultural perception of what a museum is, what it does and who it serves. We have diverse exhibition offerings.”
Curator of Education, Miriam Machado has a long list of 2015 programs available to the public. “Many of the ideas and programs would not be possible without the collaboration and partnerships of many other organizations, like the two right here. I am very fortunate to have a good working relationship with many individuals in the community that allow us to put forth and use this wonderful institution and provide spaces and programming for the community.”
Dr. Pomeroy and curator Machado are on the same page with the type and breadth of programming they anticipate. “I have always wanted to take on this direction," says Machado. “We have the same vision and mission and come together as a greater force."
They obviously love what they’re doing and the energy is palpable.
The April 6 Family Fun Day with Zot Artz centered on children with disabilities. Dwayne Szot, the inventor, utilizes giant bubble machines and huge paint stamps; he tosses down huge sheets of paper canvas for the children to open their minds with paint and stamps. This was the first time they have had Szot and his Zot Artz, working with children to produce large art pieces. The program was open to all abilities allowing brothers, sisters, parents and friends to participate with the disabled, providing a warm and supportive art activity for the family group.
Storytelling for the deaf is also among the yearly selections at the university. “It’s trial right now to see the positive responses; structuring and expanding the audience,” informs Machado. Their ideas are limitless. Arts in the Parks has come to them as a venue for events. The latest program, Pablove Shutterbugs, is a partnership between Pablove Foundation, the ALura Tobi Art Shack at Doral and supported by a grant through the LiveStrong Foundation. It’s bringing students undergoing chemotherapy, along with their parents who are indirectly receiving support, into a creative environment where they will be using cameras for expression. From April 11 through June 6, the children are meeting each Saturday. Pablove provides a camera, and the program culminates in a photography exhibition on June 6.
Much of the programming comes from exhibitions. The next Frost Museum exhibition is by artist Lorna Otero, focusing on families, the definition and what defines a family. There is a call out to the community to provide photos as part of the exhibition.
Contemporary Families in Miami: A Photo Album May 6 to Aug. 30. Click here for info on submitting your own family photos.
“Possibilities are endless,” says Pomeroy expresses. “I’m impressed, as a newcomer to Miami, how much support I’ve seen in the community; and the reaction is really quick and positive....a lot of desire among different entities in Miami from the government to the mayors office, Department of Cultural Affairs, to see this kind of experimentation and possibly Miami will be put on the map for these kind of inclusive innovative partnerships.”
For complete information on future and current events along with life expanding workshops both weekday evenings and weekends for adults and our entire citizenry: thefrost.fiu.edu/event.htm
Some of the highlights that await:
- All year long: Seniors Program, Guided Visits.
- Summer Camp activities for visitors, STEM/STEAM learning , download app available to navigate the park.
- AARP Intergenerational Workshop – Designing video games with 50+ and 10-18 year olds.
- May: Mommy and Me Duo, Art and Music for pre-schoolers and Mommies (Inside the Kenan-Flagler Family Discovery Gallery).
Links for further Information
- All Kids Included: www.miamidadearts.org/education-outreach-access/all-kids-included-accessible-arts-experiences-kids-aki.
- Other great AKI programs: Saturday Youth Arts in the Park, instruction of visual arts and creative movement. The experiences for kids of all abilities is now in three locations(see website). Summer program; 4 weeks summer camp for children with and without disabilities. Sensory processing programs for kids with autism. Guides to introduce children with autism to the experiences of museum and show going in print form and on line. Plus a community of experts meeting every month to identify gaps in services for the disabled.
- Miami-Dade County Dept of Cultural Affairs: miamidadearts.org.
- The Youth Arts Enrichment Grants Program: www.miamidadearts.org/youth-arts-enrichment-yep-grants-program.
- LiveStrong Foundation: www.livestrong.org
- The Art Shack at Doral: theartshackmiami.com/?tag=doral
- Pablove’s Shutterbugs: www.pablove.org/shutterbugs/