Redevelopment agency awards Perez Art Museum Miami $1 million
Written by John Charles Robbins on August 2, 2016
The Omni Community Redevelopment Agency board has awarded the Pérez Art Museum Miami $1 million for community benefits and programs.
Some of the cash will go to spruce up three lots tucked under I-395 with the goal of activating the space for public uses.
Miami’s five elected city commissioners serve as the CRA board, and freshman Commissioner Ken Russell serves as chairman. They approved the allocation July 29.
Mr. Russell admitted he was initially opposed to the allocation, but added, “I’m a realist.”
He said in the spirit of cooperation, and with a desire to look at the bright side of things, he met with museum officials and they came up with a plan to spend $150,000 of the money to transforms three lots under the freeway.
The vision is to brighten and revitalize these dead zones just west of the museum into people-friendly spaces with Art in Public Spaces programming, said Mr. Russell.
Temporary art installations will be created in these three large lots, he said, under what will ultimately be a new signature bridge from the state, through the heart of the Omni district.
The idea is to “pre-activate” those three areas with murals, surface art and perhaps an herb garden or farmers market, he said.
There is even talk of employing the homeless of the district to help maintain these rejuvenated lots, according to Mr. Russell.
“This is exactly what we’re about… making a difference in people’s lives,” said Franklin Sirmans, museum director.
In the quest to beautify these ignored and blighted urban lots, the museum will work with local artists to bring life to the spaces, he said.
The ultimate goal is to make these lots “a place to gather,” said Mr. Sirmans.
The art work will be activated with outreach programs to engage residents of the surrounding neighborhood.
As part of a written agreement, the museum will work in partnership with the redevelopment agency to promote the programs funded by the $1 million award. Other programs include:
•PAMM in the Neighborhood: A free program to take art activities and supplies to summer camps and community centers throughout the county and city in predominantly low-income areas. PAMM Teaching Artists conduct creative activities and provide follow-up activities for counselors. All materials are provided by PAMM, including a free art kit for each child to continue creating throughout the summer and into the school year. Participating children also come to the museum for admission-free tours.
•Free Admission Days: A monthly program for drop-in visitors, Free Second Saturdays features hands-on activities for children and adults as well as guided tours and occasional guest artist visits. The program emphasizes families making art together. The program is offered in three languages. Also, admission is free every First Thursday, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
•PAMM Third Thursdays: Every third Thursday evening, PAMM brings together artists for a live outdoor music series by the bay, which is open to the public.
•Free Daily Drop-in Tours: PAMM offers free guided tours, with museum admission, led by trained museum docents, Tuesday-Sunday during regular museum hours. Tours last about 45 minutes, are available year-round and are offered in English and Spanish. These tours are available to all PAMM visitors.
•Performance, Film and Video Programs, Talks and Lectures: PAMM will present public programs including film/video, music and dance performances, as well as talks, lectures and symposia. Available to all, these programs extend the dialogues explored in the galleries. PAMM will partner with other institutions and organizations to commission new works and develop programming to mirror the unique diversity of Miami.
•Overtown Afterschool at PAMM: The museum will offer an after-school program for middle school students from nearby communities, including the Omni and Midtown areas, Little Haiti and Little Havana. Students will receive free bus transportation to the museum, where PAMM Teaching Artists will guide them in art projects in painting, drawing, sculpture using found objects and clay, textiles and photography.
•Brick x Brick: An off-site, after-school partnership program for underserved high school students. Brick x Brick uses the museum’s architecture and exhibitions to inspire integrated problem-solving and new skills in architecture, computer graphics, geography, sociology and specific art interventions. Activities are facilitated by artist-mentors specializing in teen workshops. Through the program students become learn video production and editing as well as professional software programs such as Sketch-Up.
•PAMM Teen Arts Council: The Teen Arts Council comprises high school students who meet weekly to create original, digital content in PAMM’s Media Lab.
These programs are important to the museum, Mr. Sirmans said, as it works to encourage community input and involvement.
“It’s about building something together,” he said.