Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Interview with Rosa de la Cruz of the De la Cruz Collection

December 1, 2010
By Alexandra Figueredo

An interview with collector Rosa de la Cruz reveals the inspiration for this year’s exhibits, the schedule of events and her thoughts on Art Basel –Miami Beach.

Q: What new Collection/Exhibits will you be featuring during Art Basel?

A: The inspiration for this year's installation is a portrait by Salvador Dali of Carlos' mother -- Dolores Suero Falla -- from 1955. I thought it would be interesting to install works from our late 20th and 21st century art collection around this great historical and at the same visionary work. Dali was a futurist. His multiple subjectivities as a painter and film director no doubt reflect the art of the 21st century. Many artists today are more interested in process than in the final product. Like Dali, they are interested in film, music, theater and different mediums. Today art is about multiple definitions.

We are presently installing works from more than 60 artists -- Ugo Rondinone, Salvador Dali, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Ana Mendieta, Rudolf Stingel, Aaron Curry, Sterling Ruby, Elad Lassry, Simon Starling, Nick Lobo, Damian Ortega, Mark Handforth, Arturo Herrera, Alex Hubbard, Kelley Walker, Wade Guyton, Christy Gast, Sarah Braman and others.

Q: Are there any special events you would like to highlight during Art Basel?

A: The space in the Design District will be open during Basel [starting] Tuesday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. We will be serving coffee and pastries. No need to make reservations for the space.

Our home in Key Biscayne will be open for breakfast, Thursday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., by appointment only. Reservations can be made by email.
We have no plans to open in the evening.

Q: What are your general feelings about this Art Basel season?

A: The wonderful thing about the Basel season is that you get to see so many people from the art world in Miami. This is a time of the year when Miami becomes a destination place. You should see the emails that we are getting from all over the world of persons that are interested in viewing the collection. There are many European collectors coming this year.

The De la Cruz Collection Contemporary Art Space is located at 23 NE 41st Street, Design District, Miami, Florida. For more information on the collection, visit

*This article was published on News, to see the article: Link
© 2010, Alexandra Figueredo
To contact the writer, please email her at

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Art of Giving

There is life outside of our circle. There are needs that go beyond our own and those of our family and acquaintances. Part of being a global citizen is understanding this concept and helping to improve the lives of others less fortunate. That will in turn improve our own lives.

One of the missions of is to promote the arts and provide exposure to artists. I'm very proud to say that we are also in the process of forming a Foundation which will support arts therapy and education for young people, including sick children.

I was so pleased when I read this article, because it parallels much of what we are trying to create with our own Foundation. More details to come!

Please be generous always, starting this holiday season. And remember to think outside of our own circle.

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Spirit of Brickell Gallery Night

So you’ve just finished your meal at Perricone’s and plan to meet some friends at Baru for a drink later. What to do? Grab some gelato and then check out the outdoor art kiosks and participating galleries in the area. Tonight corresponds to Brickell Gallery Night.

Spirit del Art Gallery is one of the participating galleries located in the Shops of Mary Brickell Village. The majority of the work on display is from the principal artist Amparo Garzon. Garzon is from Colombia and specializes in a style which Director Tatiana Gomez refers to as magical realism.

The other artists represented at the gallery include Carla Fache, Natalia Preciado and Carmen Gusmao.

Spirit del Art Gallery
Where: 900 South Miami Ave. , Shops at Mary Brickell Village
When: Oct. 29, 2010, 7 – 10 pm

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Viernes Culturales adds a spooky twist

By Alexandra Figueredo

October 28, 2010

Little Havana’s popular arts and culture festival Viernes Culturales is bringing several treats to visitors on Friday, October 29. The lineup of performances includes poetry, ethnic dancers, break dance, live painting and more.

The new CoraZona, in the heart of the festival space, encompasses SW 8th Street from 14th to 16th Avenues. Beginning this month, the main stage will include 45 minutes of poetry and storytelling both in Spanish and English, based on a particular theme. Appropriately the theme will be Halloween this month and Miami Herald writer Enrique Fernandez, among others, will be sharing one of his pieces about a werewolf.

Local historian Dr. Paul George will lead a free walking tour of Little Havana with special emphasis on spooky tales. The tour starts at 7 pm in front of the Tower Theater. There will even be a pumpkin carving station next to the McDonald's on 8th Street to take the kids.

Viernes Culturales will still bring the usual salsa and bongo playing, local artists and artisans sharing their pieces and a domino competition held in Domino Park. The Tower Theater will be open and screening the last films of the Festival of New Spanish Cinema. And the art galleries will be open and displaying their latest exhibits and collections.

The program for the CoraZona Stage (at the end of Domino Plaza off of SW 8th Street and 15th Ave.):

7:00 pm: Poetry & Storytelling (Theme: Halloween/Spooky)

7:45 pm: Fina Escayola y su Estudiantes de Flamenco (Flamenco dance)

8:15 pm: Rhythm King Warriors (B-Boys break dance & Latin Percussion)

9:00 pm: "Yansan" Afro-Cuban Folkloric Dance by Marisol Blanco & Ire Obini

9:30-11:00 pm: Orquesta America (Salsa)

For more information and a full schedule of Viernes Culturales, visit

Viernes Culturales/Cultural Fridays Arts and Culture Festival
Where: SW 8th Street, from 13th to 17th Avenues
When: Friday, Oct. 29, 2010, 7 – 11 pm
Admission: Free 

© 2010, Alexandra Figueredo
To contact the writer, please email her at

Monday, October 25, 2010

Dream Girls Review - Ain't no Dream

So I love Musicals. No, really… I really love ALL Musicals. My dream is to play Velma Kelly in a full production of Chicago one day and I'm actually writing my own Musical. Really.

I can't say I've ever NOT enjoyed a Musical. And Dream Girls was no exception. Except... 

I was a little disappointed this time. Mind you, I've never watched the movie nor the Musical so I really didn't have anything to compare it to. The only thing I did to prep for the show was read a full synopsis of all the Acts and the background information. 

Oh and I also YouTubed "And I am Telling You" sung by both Jennifer Holliday (the amazing original cast member who played Effie) and Jennifer Hudson (the studio version from the movie), upon advice of a friend. Watching those incredible performances made this version sound amateur-ish, if you can believe that. (Of course I can’t get this song out of my head and keep belting it with the gusto of a gospel singer, just without the gut-so.)

For those of you who are clueless, this is a story about a black all-girl singing group called "The Dreams" that try out for a singing contest at the Apollo Theater in NYC. There they meet both their soon-to-be slime ball manager Curtis Taylor as well as James "Thunder" Early, a popular playboy R&B singster a-la James Brown. The girls sing backup for “Thunder” until they finally get their own solo gig. The full-figured diva Effie White becomes the natural lead singer, followed by the daintier beauties Deena Jones and Lorrell Robinson. The group dynamic takes a turn for the worse when Curtis decides that Deena should become the lead singer because of her softer pop sound over that of meaty soulful Effie, and then Effie gets replaced all together. In the mix, there are jealousies, sour romantic relationships, conspiracies and drama. Lots of drama.  

Moya Angela who plays Effie definitely has a voice and can act, but she was often pitchy and flat on certain higher notes. And I already mentioned my thoughts on "And I am Telling You." I was looking forward to Syesha Mercado playing Deena Jones. Syesha is not only a second runner up on the seventh season of American Idol, but she's also an FIU graduate. I know her voice is supposed to seem purposely inferior to Effie's but I still feel her performance could have generally been stronger. Of the three girl-group members, Lorrell played by Adrienne Warren was the most consistent throughout the performance, keeping a balance between "pretty" and powerful vocals and excellent acting.

The energy of the ensemble was somewhat bipolar, going up and down throughout the show, and the singing was a bit flat at times. True I went on Sunday evening, which was the last night of the tour in Miami. Although I was hoping for a balls to the wall finale, I'll give the cast the benefit of the doubt and say a few long nights out on South Beach is enough to zap anyone's energy by the last day.

Constant scene changes did help the flow. Plus the set design and costumes were magnificent. And of course the show is backed by Award-winning script and music.

The best part of the show was overwhelmingly the character of James "Thunder" Early played by Chester Gregory. His performance was titillating and brought much-needed comic relief and excitement to the show. His electrifying high-pitched screams and “Give me an Oooh Oooh”'s thoroughly entertained the audience!

Overall the show was enjoyable for a lazy Sunday evening. Fortunately I’m no critic. And I really love all Musicals. Have I mentioned that?

Broadway Across America "Dream Girls" Musical at the Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami

Modeling in front of the beautiful architectural structure that is Ziff Ballet Opera House. I love how my Play Bill blends in with my dress.

In our seats. Pretty good ones too.

The cast after they've bowed and are starting to leave the stage.

© 2010, Alexandra Figueredo
To contact the writer, please email her at

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Art exhibit creates interactive DNA sequence

By Alexandra Figueredo

October 20, 2010 

Miami artist Xavier Cortada is never shy about creating a buzz around his artwork.  

“Would you like to give a sample of your DNA in the name of art?”  

That’s what students donning lab coats and clip boards asked visitors at the opening night of Cortada’s “Sequentia” exhibit at The Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum. 

The “Sequentia” exhibit explores the sequence of events that make up life, beginning at the molecular level. The title of the exhibit also references the series of steps the artist will take to create a genetic sequence from a participatory art project at the Museum. 

“The Four Nucleotides” is a series consisting of four large, colorful paintings depicting each of the four bases of a DNA strand that make up all life: Adenine, Cytosine, Guanine and Thymine.  

In “Genetic Sequence,” Cortada invites up to 400 visitors at the Museum to participate in an interactive installation. Participants randomly select a post card depicting one of “The Four Nucleotides” and place them sequentially in a grid on the wall. This will form a genetic sequence that the artist will use to create a DNA strand.  

The clever interactive project has participants “leave their DNA behind” by touching the post cards they select. “In essence, they are exchanging their DNA for one of the 400 drawings hanging in the exhibit,” said Cortada.

Two weeks into the exhibit, Cortada will partner with Dr. Kalai Mathee from the FIU Department of Molecular Microbiology and Infectious Diseases. They will hold several laboratory sessions to determine if the random sequence created in the participatory installation actually exists in the human genome. The presence of the specific DNA strand will be sequenced and analyzed against other existing DNA sequences. All the results will be exhibited in the museum as they become available.  

“Sequentia” runs through January 2, 2011 at the Frost. For more information on the exhibit, visit:

“Sequentia” Solo Art Exhibit by Xavier Cortada
When: Oct. 13, 2010 through Jan. 2, 2011
Where: The Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum, Florida International University, 10975 SW 17th Street, Miami, FL
Admission: Free 

© 2010, Alexandra Figueredo
To contact the writer, please email her at  

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Frost Museum brings master painter Rubens to collection

By Alexandra Figueredo

October 16, 2010

The Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum at Florida International University is steadily gaining a world-class collection. It recently acquired a Peter Paul Rubens piece in its repertoire.

The oil painting “Adoration of the Magi” is attributed to Rubens (1577-1640) and fellow Flemish artist Jacob Jordaens (1593-1678). Painted between 1618 and 1619, the painting depicts Virgin Mary presenting baby Jesus to the three kings. Religion was a central theme in much of Rubens’ work and this painting was originally an alter piece.

Although the painting is on special loan to the Frost by private collector Natan Saban, it is still an incredible asset for the Museum.

Carol Damian, Director and Chief Curator of The Frost, said, “The Rubens is an outstanding addition to our exhibitions – rare in any part of the world, especially in Florida, where there are only a few great masters on exhibit.” 

The Frost is offering lectures and educational programs to the public during the fall 2010 season for the Rubens and other pieces of the collection.

“To have this in our museum is an extraordinary gift to all of us and an amazing opportunity to teach about painting, history, religion, and the world of the past – still very relevant to the present because of its beauty and significance,” said Damian.

© 2010, Alexandra Figueredo
To contact the writer, please email her at  

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Opening reception of exhibits at the Frost Art Museum

Students, professors, artists, art collectors and patrons alike hobnobbed Wednesday at the opening of four exhibitions at FIU's Frost Art Museum. Hundreds of visitors checked out the exhibition space, packing the Frost Museum's three floors. There was even a lovely choral performance in Spanish, much to the delight of the crowd.

This lovely piece on the wall below is by Xavier Cortada and is one of Four Elements: Water, Air, Earth and Fire. They are changed seasonally and this piece is "Aer" (aka Air).  The scrolls span three floors of the the museum and add fabulous color and texture to the museum. 

Monday, October 11, 2010

Frost’s new exhibitions reflect 500 years of global art history

By Alexandra Figueredo

October 11, 2010

This Wednesday October 13, The Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum at Florida International University (FIU) will be holding its opening reception for four fall exhibitions. The event will continue the Museum’s popular “Target Wednesday After Hours” series held monthly throughout the university’s academic year.

The Museum is featuring four new exhibits this fall: “Embracing Modernity: Venezuelan Geometric Abstraction”; “Florida Artist Series: Selections from Anomie 1492-2006” by Arnold Mesches; Xavier Cortada's “Sequentia”, and “La Habana Moderna” in the Wolfsonian Teaching Gallery at The Frost.

Carol Damian, Director and Chief Curator of The Frost, said the exhibits represent the very mission of FIU and its new Worlds Ahead theme.

“We are international and part of the new world. The exhibits represent Europe, America, Latin America and the Caribbean art histories and span 500 years of artistic production,” said Damian.  

The Frost has partnered with Target to hold the monthly receptions, which complement the Museum's exhibitions. Visitors have the chance to meet and socialize with artists and patrons, learn about the Museum, and experience different forms of art, music, film, dance, and other performances. 

“Target Wednesday After Hours” are free and open to the public and take place from 6 – 9 pm one Wednesday each month. For more information on events at The Frost, visit

Target Wednesday After Hours: Opening Reception for four fall exhibitions
When: Oct. 13, 2010, 6-9 pm
Where: The Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum, Florida International University, 10975 SW 17th St., Miami, FL
Admission: Free

© 2010, Alexandra Figueredo
To contact the writer, please email her at

Sunday, October 10, 2010

FIU emphasizes the Arts as part of its Worlds Ahead theme

By Alexandra Figueredo

October 10, 2010

Florida International University (FIU) has adopted a new theme this year -- Worlds Ahead -- as part of a new communications plan to rebrand the University as innovative and vibrant, community-focused yet global.

The theme is further complemented with the University’s Quality Enhancement Plan: “Global Learning for Global Citizenship.” This initiative stresses global awareness, a global perspective, and an attitude of global engagement for students, faculty, staff and the community.

According to Carol Damian, Director and Chief Curator of The Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum, FIU has made the Arts part of this strategic plan, recognizing its significance in forming a world-class citizen.

FIU is supporting the arts through its robust schedule of arts, design and culture events this season at its two museums The Frost and The Wolfsonian, as well as the College of Architecture + The Arts. The College has even added new Worlds Ahead faculty artists such as renowned flutist Nestor Torres and orchestra conductor Dr. Grzegorz Nowack from the Royal Philharmonic in London.

Global learning is an educational approach, and The Frost is leading the way with its rich selection of lectures and exhibitions.

“As a university museum, we are first and foremost dedicated to education – of our own students and community, and the community of South Florida as well,” said Damian.

For more information on the museums and College and their schedule of events, visit the websites below.

The Frost Art Museum:
The Wolfsonian Museum:
College of Architecture + The Arts:

© 2010, Alexandra Figueredo
To contact the writer, please email her at

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Review of Mosquera Collection Exhibit at Freedom Tower

Friday was the opening night reception of the Mosquera Collection exhibition. What a lovely event! First we were welcomed by a gorgeous glowing florescent pink Freedom Tower that exuded Art Deco flair!

Then the entire event was packed with movers and shakers checking out the extensive Cuban American collection of the Mosqueras. One floor was dedicated solely to paintings, mixed media and installations. Another floor was dedicated to films. The venue was beautiful and the event overflowing with art lovers. Overrall it was a truly magnificent artistic evening!
This is me in front of a Pablo Cano piece, who is known for his puppets and toyish art work and sculptures.

In front of a Soriano, one of the Cuban master artists. His art work exudes an ethereal and dream-like haze, and uses bright bold colors.

Abstract painting by Baruj Salinas. Salinas is one of the living master Cuban artists who is a true asset to Miami Dade College and the community teaching art technique classes.

Punching bags with the faces of major US and foreign political figures? This installation is by Antuan Rodriguez, a Cuban artist whose work has many socio-political undertones. He also had an excellent video in the exhibit also incorporating the punching bags.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Private Collection of Cuban-American art on display at iconic Freedom Tower

By Alexandra Figueredo

October 5, 2010

Miami natives Dr. Arturo and Liza Mosquera have a really expensive hobby -- they’ve been collecting art for more than 20 years.  Their passion has led to one of the most extensive private collections of Cuban and Cuban-American contemporary art in South Florida.

On Friday, October 8, Dr. and Mrs. Mosquera will be presenting the exhibition Ways of Worldmaking: Notes on a Passion for Collecting which highlights several works from their collection, at Miami Dade College’s Freedom Tower in Miami.

Over 85 works from 70 Cuban-American and Cuban artists will be exhibited, including Cesar Trasobares, Pablo Cano, Baruj Salinas, Arturo Cuenca, Liliam Cuenca, Pedro Vizcaino, Gustavo Acosta, Adriano Buergo, Heriberto Mora, Glexis Novoa and Antuan Rodriguez, among others. There are also important works by artists from the early exile group, many who are now deceased, such as Eduardo Michaelsen, Agustín Fernandez, Rafael Soriano, Guido Llinás and Jorge Camacho.

The exhibition recognizes the collectors’ contributions to the arts in South Florida and their support of both established and emerging artists. Over the years they developed relationships with many of these artists, which led to a greater appreciation and understanding of collecting.

Dr. and Mrs. Mosquera began collecting art in 1989. In 2000 they created a quarterly exhibit called “Art @ Work” hosted at Dr. Mosquera’s orthodontic offices, which steadily grew in popularity and reputation. They later opened the Farside Gallery adjacent to the orthodontic practice as an alternative art space to feature additional artists.

Collection pieces range from paintings, sculptures, photographs, video and installations. The exhibition is curated by Cristina and Vivian Nosti, a sister team known as DUO NOSTI for professional purposes.

The opening reception is free and open to the public. The exhibition period will run through November 6, during which there will be a series of panel discussions with the collector and many of the artists featured in the exhibition.

Ways of Worldmaking: Notes on a Passion for Collecting
Exhibition Opening Night
Where: Freedom Tower, 600 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, FL 33132
When: Friday, Oct. 8, 2010, 7 pm - 9 pm
Admission: Free

For a link to the article on Mosquera Collection Exhibit

© 2010, Alexandra Figueredo
To contact the writer, please email her at

Friday, October 1, 2010

Oktoberfest bier, music, food and fun hits Coral Gables

The Deutschland is definitely the place to be this October 2010. That’s because it’s the 200th anniversary of Oktoberfest! What other celebration allows you to dance polka while wearing lederhosen and still maintain your dignity?

If you aren’t fortunate enough to jet across the Atlantic this month, a close alternative is hitting Fritz & Franz Bierhaus in Coral Gables, FL.

The Bierhaus is planning Oktoberfest festivities from October 1 through October 10. That’s 10 days of great bier, music and my personal favorite… the bratwurst sandwich!

The Bierhaus will highlight three typical German biers in their bier garden: a blonde pilsner, a dark lager, and the “Oktoberfest” which is somewhere in the middle.

Although you will catch me practicing my German by ordering “Ein bier, bitte,” I much prefer to accompany my Brat with a glass of Riesling, which can be purchased at an adjacent wine garden.

As I’ve already alluded, Fritz & Franz serves traditional Bavarian/Austrian foods. Bratwurst, wiener schnitzel, sauerkraut, strudel… all the usual Oktoberfest staples to maintain atleast some level of sobriety.

Several bands from Austria and Germany will be performing throughout the festival as well. The catchy polka tunes are just perfect for the “happy” patrons to dance along to. And in usual German style, the bands stop playing every few songs to lead the crowd in a toast (any excuse to drink!).

If you’re brave (or inebriated), you can participate in Jodel and Bratwurst-eating contests. Plus they have a station conveniently located next to the alcoholic beverages selling raffle tickets to raise funds for CHARLEE Homes for Children. Help support the kids!

So bring along your stein (aka liter-sized beer glass), or better yet an enormous glass boot to toast to cooler Miami weather! Prost!

For more information on Fritz & Franz Bierhaus in Coral Gables, visit

Oktoberfest at Fritz & Franz Bierhaus
Where: 60 Merrick Way, Coral Gables, FL
When: Oct. 1 – 10, from 11 am – 12 am midnight
Admission: Free; payment for food and beverages based on tickets paid for in cash

© 2010, Alexandra Figueredo
To contact the writer, please email her at

Thursday, September 30, 2010

New “Art Stroll” every first Saturday in Coconut Grove

By Alexandra Figueredo

September 30, 2010

A new arts district has formally emerged in Coconut Grove. The neighborhood has long hosted the largest yearly arts festival in Miami, and theater and dance performances and art galleries have steadily increased over the years.

Perhaps to keep up with the other arts districts scattered throughout Miami, Coconut Grove has decided to formalize its focus on arts and culture with a monthly arts walk. 

The Coconut Grove Art Stroll will be held every first Saturday of the month, with live performances, street art exhibits and openings of art galleries. The next Art Stroll will occur this Saturday, October 2 at the Promenade of the Shoppes at Mayfair.

Over 40 local and international artists will exhibit their art work in the open promenade, as well as in participating galleries in Mayfair and Cocowalk.

October’s Art Stroll will coincide with the Grand Opening of Artway 66, a bohemian-style artist community set in an artist’s loft at the Mayfair. Artway 66 will host an exhibit “Diversities,” representing nine artists -- all with different styles -- including: Luis Breso, Proman Garcia, Marlenes Gasiba, Nelba Gonzales, Arien Lopez, Kurt Merkel, Haydee Pichardo, Rolando Serra and Johnny Valdes.

There will be live music by Different Faces, a local party band which plays a mix of rock, funk and blues with a Latin flavor, and Serena Stroppa, a pop/folk/rock fusion singer and songwriter. Other performances include street magicians by The House of Flying Cards, ballet show by Coconut Grove Ballet Academy, and a dramatization by Young Christian Artists from the Calvary Chapel of Fort Lauderdale.

For more information on the Art Stroll, visit

Coconut Grove Art Stroll
When: Saturday, Oct. 2, 2010, 7-11 pm
Where: Promenade of the Shoppes at Mayfair, 2911 Grand Avenue
Coconut Grove, FL
Admission: Free

© 2010, Alexandra Figueredo
To contact the writer, please email her at

Monday, September 27, 2010

Master Cuban artist honored at Gables Hispanic Cultural Festival

By Alexandra Figueredo

September 27, 2010

The City of Coral Gables held its first Hispanic Cultural Festival in downtown Coral Gables on September 25, coinciding with Miami Dade County’s Hispanic Heritage month between September 15 and October 15. 

The festival paid homage to late master Cuban artist Cundo Bermudez. To honor a distinguished career in the arts, the artist’s mural  “Madria Tiri” completed in 2005 was on display at Coral Gables City Hall during the festival. The piece shall serve as the official poster for the inaugural festival.

The mural has been held at the artist’s estate and was lent for the use at the festival. Word is that a local bank is paying over $2 million for the mural, but there has been no confirmation as of the publication date.

Bermudez was part of the popular Cuban Vanguard movement along with other well-known Cuban contemporaries in the 30s and 40s. His international career began in 1944 when he took part in the exhibit entitled Cuban Paintings at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. He was one of the first Cuban Modernists to be collected by MOMA, as two of his nine paintings from the exhibition became part of the permanent collection.

His artistic career has spanned over 70 years, in which he has worked and exhibited throughout the U.S., Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean. He is known not only for his paintings, but also his murals and public works.

He lived the last years of his life in Miami until he passed away in 2008. His estate founded the Cundo Bermudez Foundation, which provides scholarships and opportunities to young artists in need.

For more information on the artist and his works, visit the site

© 2010, Alexandra Figueredo
To contact the writer, please email her at

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Viernes Culturales art exhibit pays homage to late Russian abstract painter

By Alexandra Figueredo

September 26, 2010

Among the bands and dancers performing along SW 8th Street at Friday’s Viernes Culturales Arts & Culture Festival, there is a growing art following of the galleries in the Little Havana district of Miami. 

There are 13 art galleries which participate and are open during Viernes Culturales. Although the monthly festival has traditionally been known more as an open-air music and street arts fair, the galleries in Little Havana have gained recognition in the last couple of years for their representation of emerging and well-known Latin American artiststs and quality exhibits.

The Viernes Culturales Art Gallery located at 742 SW 16th Ave.. held its opening reception on Friday for its group exhibit “Miami Abstractions 2010.” Master Cuban painter Baruj Salinas is the curator of the exhibit. The artists represented include Blanca Caraballo, Ina Esteva, Tony Nunez, Celia Reigle and Emilio Hector Rodriguez, all former students of Salinas.

The show pays homage to Russian abstract artist Wassily Kandinsky on the 100-year anniversary of his first abstract painting. Much like Kandinsky’s work in abstraction, all of the pieces use vibrant colors and present an ephereal and dream-like view of reality.

According to Salinas, each artist displays good taste and imagination with the pieces chosen. “It is a different kind of exhibition, and one that deserves the attention of critics and the public,” said Salinas. 

For more information on Viernes Culturales, visit

© 2010, Alexandra Figueredo
To contact the writer, please email her at 

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Miami showers can’t stop live music at open-air cultural festival

By Alexandra Figueredo

September 25, 2010

Once the rain clouds passed on Friday night, there was an unending rhythm of live music playing at Viernes Culturales /Cultural Fridays Arts & Culture Festival along SW 8th Street.

Although earlier performances were canceled, the two last musical acts went on as planned at the stage on 15th Avenue in Domino Plaza.

Headlining the night was Cuban timba group Timbalive, which performed several dance songs from its recently released album “From Miami a La Habana.” The 10-piece band consists of timbales, congas, piano/keyboard, trombone, bass and three vocalists. The sole female band member and vocalist Yezi Gonzalez rocked the plaza with her meaty soulful voice with catchy songs “Como Miami no hay na” and “Un poquito pa despues,” among others. This will be one of the group’s last performances in Miami before they begin touring in November according to the group’s website

A mariachi group El Mariachi Cielito Lindo also performed some of the more popular Mexican ballads, inspiring much sing-along to the usual crowd-pleasers such as El Rey and of course Cielito Lindo.

Several galleries, bars and cigar shops on the strip also showcased their own live Latin jazz, salsa, and bongo playing.

For more information on future musical performances at Cultural Fridays, visit

© 2010, Alexandra Figueredo
To contact the writer, please email her at 

Friday, September 24, 2010

Cultural emersion in Miami’s Latin district every last Friday of the month

By Alexandra Figueredo

September 24, 2010

Today is the last Friday of the month in Miami, and that means the Hispanic cultural district known as “Little Havana” on SW Eighth Street dances to the Latin beat of Viernes Culturales, or Cultural Fridays Arts & Culture Festival. 

And what a cultural experience it is!

Just walk down SW Eighth Street between 14th  and 16th Avenues to get bombarded by arts and craft exhibits, Latin music, street performers, bongo players and lots of visitors dancing along.

The Festival consists of live musical performances on stage at SW 15th Avenue, art exhibited in Domino Plaza and along the sidewalks, exhibits at art galleries and cultural centers, and films and educational programs at the historic Tower Theatre. There is even a free walking tour of Little Havana starting at 7 pm.

Several galleries, bars and cigar shops on the strip also open up to live Latin jazz, salsa, and bongo playing on Cultural Fridays.

Today there will be a performance stage set up on 15th Avenue in Domino Plaza. Latin jazz group Timbalive will be performing, as well as a mariachi group and cirque acts by South Florida Circus Arts School.

As far as the art, there are 13 participating galleries that have established a name for themselves over the last couple of years. The art in Little Havana is quintessentially Latin American, with an overwhelming presence of Cuban-descended artists.

The Viernes Culturales Art Gallery located at 742 SW 16th Ave.. will be holding an opening reception today for its group exhibit “Miami Abstractions 2010.” The exhibit of abstract paintings is curated by master Cuban painter Baruj Salinas. Artists represented in the exhibit include Blanca Caraballo, Ina Esteva, Tony Nunez, Celia Reigle and Emilio Hector Rodriguez.

For more information, visit

Viernes Culturales / Cultural Fridays Arts & Culture Festival
When: Friday, Sept. 24, 2010
Time: 6-11 pm
Where: Little Havana, Miami  - SW Eighth Street between 14th and 17th Avenues
Admission: Free

For a link to the article on Viernes Culturales Preview 

© 2010, Alexandra Figueredo
To contact the writer, please email her at 

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Coral Gables holds inaugural Hispanic heritage street festival

By Alexandra Figueredo

September 23, 2010

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage month running from September 15 to October 15, the City of Coral Gables is holding its first Hispanic Cultural Festival in downtown Coral Gables all day Saturday September 25.

Several blocks of Biltmore Way will be closed off for the festival to pedestrian traffic only. Booths lining the streets are displaying art work and jewelry by local Hispanic artists such as Gilda Sacasas from GDS Fine Art, Leonor Murciano and Annie Maxwell. There are also several restaurants providing an array of culinary tastes and retail stores selling guayaberas and other typical Latin wear.

A main stage will hold a continuous stream of performances throughout the day, including Latin bands, flamenco dance, Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders, and children’s music acts.

One of the highlights of the festival is the VIP area for cigar lovers called the Smokin’ in the Gables VIP Lounge which features 30 cigar manufacturers and open bar by Bacardi. VIP tickets include special entertainment from CigaRobbie Radio Show Live and musical performances by Arias, Jenny Love and other groups.

Proceeds from the festival will benefit in part the Coral Gables Community Foundation, the Cundo Bermudez Foundation which provides scholarships to young artists, Samantha’s Purpose which provides financial assistance for therapy costs for those with special needs, and CCDH, Inc. which supports people with disabilities and their families.

The festival pays tribute to Cundo Bermudez, a master Cuban artist who passed away in 2008. In honor of the life of the artist, his mural entitled “Madria Tiri” is on display at Coral Gables City Hall during the festival.

(Photo posted 9/25/10)

© 2010, Alexandra Figueredo
To contact the writer, please email her at

Friday, September 17, 2010

Uncovering the Miami arts scene

By Alexandra Figueredo

September 17, 2010

Miami has long been the place to visit for its beaches and glitzy nightlife. But the City’s burgeoning arts and culture scene has become a major attraction for both tourists and locals for its many exciting and unique art exhibits and cultural events.

Dennis Scholl, vice president for the arts/Miami program director at the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation said, “Miami is having a true cultural moment. Years ago, it was common to hear Miami called a cultural wasteland. Today, we have one of the country’s top visual arts scene, a world class ballet, a beautiful cultural arts center and much more.”

Much of the success of local arts organizations is due to the Knight Foundation and the many projects and grants that are offered throughout the year.

“The Knight Arts Challenge is adding to that momentum. We’ve funded 51 truly innovative ideas for the arts. Knight Foundation does this because we believe the arts bring this community’s diverse residents together,” said Scholl.

The Patricia and Philip Frost Museum collaborates with several local organizations and has been a recipient of grants from the Knight Foundation over the last few years.

Carol Damian, the Director and Chief Curator at the Frost, said, “There is no doubt that in this cultural climate, we are all struggling and cooperation is the answer.“

“The beauty of the Knight Arts Challenge is that it’s open to anyone – large institutions, small nonprofits, individual artists. We’ve funded the Miami City Ballet to put an orchestra back in the pit to accompany the dancers, and an individual artist to publish local art books. Along the way we’ve received more than 4,200 applications – showing just how creative this community is.”

For video footage of Carol Damian at the Fall for the Arts Festival, visit: Carol Damian @ Fall for the Arts 

© 2010, Alexandra Figueredo
To contact the writer, please email her at 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Fall for the Arts Festival unites the community in the arts

By Alexandra Figueredo

September 15, 2010

Sunday’s Fall for the Arts Festival at the Adrienne Arsht Center brought together over 100 local arts organizations to showcase their events for the upcoming fall season.

The Adrienne Arsht Center estimates that over the course of the entire day approximately 7,000 people attended the festival.

Andrew Goldberg, Vice President of Marketing for the Adrienne Arsht Center said, “The response from the community has been tremendous. From the participating arts organizations, local artists, families and the community at large, we have received phenomenal feedback about how the Fall for the Arts [Festival] united our community, provided a platform for arts organizations to come together and share information, and created a terrific synergy of excitement and energy around Miami’s arts scene.”  

Each of the local arts organizations had its own booth decorated to highlight the events for the season and provide additional information, giveaways and prizes. Two performance stages were also set up for musical acts. The main stage had live music playing by Los Angeles band Ozomatli, and musical groups Jahfe and DJ El G, among others. There was also a separate stage for families to watch musical groups perform in both English and Spanish.

Ethnic dance performances were sprinkled throughout the festival, including the lively Bahamas Junkanoo Revue and a provincial Colombian dance troupe.

 “We feel so fortunate to have been able to collaborate with the community in a meaningful and impactful way, and we are very grateful to all of our partners who joined in this unprecedented effort to provide an opportunity for arts organizations to engage with the community, build new audiences, and hopefully to inspire Miami’s next generation of arts lovers,” said Goldberg.

For a link to the video footage on YouTube check out: ArtistaMundo @ Fall for the Arts 

© 2010, Alexandra Figueredo
To contact the writer, please email her at

Friday, September 10, 2010

Embrace the fall while previewing Miami’s arts scene

By Alexandra Figueredo

September 10, 2010

Although the leaves may not yet be changing in Miami, the fall season is quickly upon us. That means many exciting new art exhibits and cultural events in Miami’s burgeoning arts community.

The Fall for the Arts Festival will preview all that the local arts scene has to offer this Sunday, Sept. 12, along with live musical performances, workshops and gourmet food in one concentrated area.

The Festival, co-hosted by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County, will take place in the open plaza of the Adrienne Arsht Center in Downtown Miami.

Over 100 arts and cultural organizations will showcase their calendar of events and exhibitions this season. These organizations will have staff on hand to discuss their fall offerings, volunteer opportunities and provide giveaways and prizes.

Miami has seen rapid growth of support and excitement for the arts over the years.

Dennis Scholl, vice president for the arts and Miami program director of the Knight Foundation, said “Miami is having a true cultural moment…Today, we have one of the country’s top visual arts scene, a world-class ballet, a beautiful cultural arts center and much more.”

Furthermore, Scholl said that the Knight Foundation believes that the arts bring the community’s diverse residents together. “The Fall for the Arts Festival is a great example too – hundreds of people from a variety of neighborhoods will be enjoying the arts together downtown on Sunday,” he said.

The Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum is one of the local arts organizations that will be represented on Sunday.

The Frost Director and Chief Curator Carol Damian said, “We are very happy to be part of this collaboration and looking forward to Sunday and seeing everyone – and a preview of what will be happening in the cultural community.  I hope it will also help us to plan events that will not conflict with others… if that is possible.”

In addition to giveaways, the Frost will be raffling a family membership to The Museum. 

Two performance stages will feature several musical groups including Ozamatli and Jahfe, and DJ sets by El G (from ZZK Records) and Mr. Pauer. There will also be children’s workshops for acting and breakdance, and several seminars on topics ranging form recruiting volunteers, jobs in the arts and partnering with corporations and business professionals.

For more information, visit:

Fall for the Arts Festival 

When: Sunday, Sept. 12
, 2010
Time: Noon to 6 p.m.
Where: Adrienne Arsht Center, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, FL
Admission: Free

For a link to the article on Fall for the Arts 

© 2010, Alexandra Figueredo
To contact the writer, please email her at