TGIF: Life Decoded at South Beach 


Celebrating the ease with which I found a parking space at the Miami Beach garage, I was hopeful for a great day. Tourists laughing and chattering against a backdrop of palm trees, were signs of good things to come. This is the South Beach that advertisers promote. Life at its best. But having lived there for 4 years I knew there was a darker side. Skyrocketing homelessness and rampart crime. But just for today, I held those thoughts at bay. 


On the way from the garage, I found myself spellbound by H&Ms window display: Denim Decoded. Using a few bare essentials of clothing they had put together an astonishing look. How clever I thought. If only my life could be so genuine and simple. Life Decoded. Stripped away of all the complexities with only the bare necessities remaining. Simplicity at its best. 


As I stepped into H&M a transformation took place. I was no longer weighed down by the troubles of this world but carefree. Leaving the store my purse was $30 dollars lighter. But it was worth the investment in this new way of being. 


With a new sense of calm and joy, I strolled along a walkway beside the beach. Tents for the wine and food festival blocked the view. But it didn’t matter I knew a few minutes later the ocean would appear. 


At the Bass, I laughed and marveled at the exhibits. The sculptures of “Vocabulary of Solitude” by the Ugo Rondinone brought back to mind my fascination with mannequins on display at H&M. How could these lifeless characters inspire me and an artist? Like Michelangelo releasing the soul of his sculptures from stone, Rondinone had endeavored to do this with polystyrene foam. While at the museum, I met with a friend and asked about the expanded education center. I was excited to hear how the community had embraced the new programs and exhibits.


After I left the museum I headed to the Art Deco District. I was hoping to find a building I had once drawn. No luck. So I decided to sketched the Royal Palm Hotel. 

Now it was time to leave. I placed an order at Pizza Rustica and braced myself for the drive home. Surrounded by a sea of cars I withdrew to a reservoir from my peaceful day. When traffic became a parking lot, my serenity began to dissipate. A few minutes later I got a call about the sudden death of my cousin. Saddened, I thought about my day and all the things I relished. I was glad God had given me a day to enjoy the simple things in my life: art, friends, shopping, dining and the beach. Life decoded. 

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Art Deco Weekend fun for kids of all ages


Grab your sunshades and imagination for Art Deco Weekend, Jan. 12-15. 

Deco Kids Club
Stop by Caricatures for Tots at my Splash and Color booth Saturday and Sunda. Buy a limited edition signed copy of my Miami Beach Art Deco coloring book. 

Lively costumed characters, free art activities, kids marketplace, carnival, free kids Art Deco tours and more await children. 

Jazz Age at Art Deco VIP 
Experience the mystique and glamour of the prohibition era. Pay $55 for live jazz and an evening soirée. Listen to Michael Arenella, his Dreamland Orchestra and other jazzy musicians the entire weekend. 

Entertainment 
Miami Beach’s longest running festival has it all. Don’t miss these exciting events: 

Antique Car Show, Bark Deco Dog Show, Guided Tours, Antique and Design Promenade, Films, Classic Car Show and more. 

Visit over 100 pop up shops on Ocean Drive with tantalizing cuisine and unique items while enjoying free street entertainment. 
For more information visit, http://artdecoweekend.com/events/#event-films

The Bass: Talk of the Town

 

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Before renovation, The Bass displays Public Art during Art Basel. 

The Bass solidifies its position as an art leader in Miami by bringing a fresh way of seeing and experiencing art. The grand reopening of The Bass heralds a new age.

After being closed for 2 1/2 years, The Bass opens with much fanfare and anticipation on Sunday. Before its temporary closure, the museum had transformed itself to a hotspot for contemporary art.

Now it artfully and skillfully showcases its old masterpieces alongside contemporary art. Botticelli, Rubens, El Greco and Van Dyke take center near contemporary art and challenges visitors to rethink their perceptions about art.

Instead of discarding the past, The Bass preserves it in a fresh and exciting way. The Art Deco building that houses the Bass is revitalized with new exhibition spaces, expanded lobby and education center, and grand staircase.

Designed by Russell Pancoast in the 1930s, it is one of the oldest buildings in Miami Beach. With the new expansion, the old and new form a fascinating dialogue.

As William Murtugh states “…at its best, preservation engages the past in a conversation with the present with a mutual concern for the future.”

The Bass has done that in a bold and brash way.

South Beach Finally Gets It After Raucous Behavior


Splash and Color: Art Deco Coloring Book for Kids of All Ages. A coloring book to engage families with Art Deco. I thought it was a good idea a few years ago.

When I pitched my idea about reaching the family market in South Beach a few years ago, I was met with disdain. My plea fell on deaf ears when I approached the Miami Design Preservation League, Delano and the hotels on Ocean Drive about my coloring book and a Coloring Contest to reach the family market in South Beach. I wasn’t surprised by the lack of enthusiasm or vision. Artists have a tendency to be ahead of the curve.

After years of bad publicity and overly aggressive police behavior to control “raucous” behavior Mayor Levine and the City of Miami Beach are endeavoring to change the Art Deco District’s image. They want to make Ocean Drive better for residents and families. The recent Air and Sea Show is a good start. I hope the business community supports the initiatives to make Ocean Drive a safer and better place for residents and families.
http://splashandcolor.com

Hey Mr Trump Art is Business

Art Basel bring tens of thousands of cultural travelers to Miami each year.

As a savy businessman and leader of the free world, I would think you would appreciate that Art is Big Bucks.  I read that in February you visited the National Museum of African American Museum (NMAAHC). I am sure you didn’t have to stand in line like most Americans to visit the museum. I had to get up early three months in a row to get timed tickets online. It took me more than one hour to go through an online que to finally get the tickets.

The point I’m making is that the African American Museum is driving people to Washington, DC. Probably people like me who only decided to revisit DC because of the Museum. According to Skit.com the “African American Museum sets a new standard in Museums as Destination. The large number of visitors in February forced the Museum to offer timed tickets.”
The Alliance of Museums reports that museums “directly contribute $21 billion to the US economy each year and billions more through indirect spending by visitors.” In addition, “There are approximately 850 million visits each year to American museums, more than the attendance of all major league sports events and theme parks combined (483 million in 2011).

Back to the Big Bucks theory. According to the Travel Industry of America “Thirty percent or 35.3 million adults say that a specific arts, cultural or heritage event or activity influenced their choice of destination. In fact, many travelers will extend their stay because of an arts, cultural or heritage event or activity. That mean cultural tourists spend more than the average tourist. This translates to jobs. Hey, I thought you were all about bringing jobs home.

And I know you’re all about business. So is defunding the National Endowment for the Arts a good business decision? 

http://www.elainemarieartist.com

TGIF: No means yes in South Beach

A picture of the museum

The Jewish Museum Florida FIU was designed by Henry Hohauser who attended Pratt Institute.

South Beach is a place of defiance. I once heard someone say, people come to South Beach to do every “God forsaken” thing they wouldn’t do anywhere else! No means yes in South Beach.

It should come as no surprise that the Jewish community in South Beach has often defied the status quo.

Art Deco weekend.

Thousands of people come to Art Deco Weekend each year.

Barbara Capitman was a Jewish woman who defied the establishment. Capitman fought city officials “tooth and nail” to preserve the historical buildings that light up Miami Beach and make it the second most popular place in Florida. If not for her vision and perseverance, there would not be an Art Deco District. The over 800 Art Deco buildings that remain are testaments to Capitman’s defiance. The Art Deco District was the first 20th century neighborhood placed on the National Register of Historic Places much to her efforts. The Miami Design Preservation League continues Capitman’s legacy.

Poster

Miami Design Preservation League poster rallying the community.

What’s more, Henry Hohauser, an architect who was Jewish, built over 300 Art Deco buildings. Hohauser lived in an era when signs “Gentiles Only” and “No Jews Allowed” were commonplace in South Beach. Jews were not even allowed to live beyond 5th Street.

An Art Deco chandelier and displays inside the Jews

An Art Deco chandler and displays inside the Jewish Museum.

Visit one of Hohauser’s buildings and experience first hand the story of Jewish culture in Florida. Hohauser’s building, once a synagogue, is now the home of the Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU. Eighty stained glass windows, a copper dome, and chandeliers are reminders of the days when Hohauser and others worshipped in the synagogue. Taste and see the Jewish experience during the Jewish Food Tour that leaves from the Museum. Learn how the Jewish community thrived despite many obstacles.

Falafel and Israeli salad.

Enjoy Falafel and Israeli salad on the Jewish Food Tour.

Facing off with those who thought South Beach should be known only as a place for “fun in the sun,” Holocaust survivors garnered public support for the building of the Holocaust Memorial. A memorial garden and a sobering sculpture recall those who died and remind all who visit: “we shall NEVER forget.”

Sculpture at the Holocaust memorial

A bronze sculpture by Ellsworth Kelly at the Holocaust Memorial.

The impact of Jewish culture permeates every aspect of the city. Mount Sinai Hospital was built because Jewish doctors weren’t given staff privileges at area hospitals. The Bass Museum scheduled to reopen in the fall, is named in honor of John and Johanna Bass, Jewish immigrants who bequeathed over 500 works of art to the City of Miami Beach.

The Bass Museum in Miami Beach.

The Bass Museum in Miami Beach during Art Basel.

It is said that obstacles are opportunities. Fighting bias and opposition, the Jewish community realized that no means yes in South Beach.

http://splashandcolor.com

https://jmof.fiu.edu

http://holocaustmemorialmiamibeach.org

Color Your World

Adult coloring Book display at Michaels.

Adult coloring Book display at Michaels.

Two thousand fifteen was the year of adult coloring books. Not sure what cause this craze among Millennials but I think the Great Recession and high student college debt may have played a role.

The coloring book phenomenon reminded me of the Japanese culture’s fascination with Anime and Manga. Perhaps that’s the next American adult trend.

Life can be pretty tough and perhaps the Millennials got caught up in the “Change You Can Believe In” talk. I’m sure they were dismayed when it didn’t immediately translate into more jobs. Unemployment was at an all time for Millennials graduating from college during the Great Recession .

Now with lower gas prices, more jobs and lower employment, there are some things to be thankful for.

Gratitude is good for the soul and a lot less costly than a coloring book and more rewarding. One author says you should write a letter expressing gratitude to someone everyday. This increases your gratitude quotient.

Gratitude makes for better health and longevity. There is no replacement for gratitude.

Art Deco Coloring book

Copy of my Art Deco Coloring book.

Yet I can’t be too hard on coloring book illustrators. I happen to be one!