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About

The Library System has a long history of cultural and educational exhibitions, and makes a special call to artists on a rolling basis for temporary exhibitions that correspond to selected annual themes and/or that highlight the library’s special collections and services.

Additionally, the Vasari Project is an archive that documents the development of the visual arts in Miami‑Dade County since 1945.

For more information about the art collection, exhibition programs or the Vasari archive, call 305‑375‑5599 or e‑mail art@mdpls.org.

Art Programming & Happenings

Rumpelstiltskin Meets Mozart

Saturday, December 10, 11 a.m. ‑ noon
Main Library – Auditorium

Join us for this narrated musical fairy tale performance!
Rumpelstiltskin Meets Mozart uses excerpts from Mozart's famous Symphony No. 40 to create a soundtrack for the classic Brothers Grimm fairy tale. This Peter and the Wolf style mashup introduces young listeners to classical music in a fun way, while demonstrating the power of music in guiding your imagination.

Hobuco is a collaboration between violinist Belinda Ho and composer Oscar Bustillo. Based in Miami, the duo are musical architects that pair classical masterpieces with childhood stories in a series called Musical Fairytales. Both Ho and Bustillo are active musicians and advocates for music education in the South Florida community.

Rumpelstiltskin Meets Mozart Artwork

Current Exhibitions

A Utopian Jungle of his Own by Gustavo Novoa

November 12, 2016 – April 1, 2017
Main Library – Lobby Gallery

A Utopian Jungle of his Own, an exhibition at the Miami‑Dade Public Library System’s Main Library in downtown Miami, focuses on artist Gustavo Novoa’s time in Miami during his 40‑year artistic career. Novoa believes the ultimate goal of his art is ecological in nature, and aims at improving our awareness toward the animals he portrays. By infusing them with a soul, by having them imitate us and gently mock us, it might—perhaps—tame the predator within and turn us into the safekeepers that we should be. From the exhibition one will see that Novoa is a keen observer of modern society, its fixations and even its obsessions. Novoa translates what he sees by creating vignettes of expressive and exuberant jungles with curious animals that gaze out at the viewers, always questioning the viewer, society and humanity in general. Many of the works shown seem to catch the animals unaware in private moments, or moments when they are adopting our behaviors and obsessions as seen in Status Zebra (2014. Oil on canvas; 30 x 40 in.) where it becomes blatantly apparent that designer labels often replace one’s natural beauty. Another tradition that Novoa’s animals seem to have adopted is the high school prom mentality—our love of being photographed and the static quality of posing for the camera as seen in The Prom (2011. Oil on canvas; 24 x 30 in.). The animals, though, do not stop at just labels and traditions—or should we say photo ops—but they also incorporate both Hollywood and culture as one can see in works such as Surrender Dorothy (2016. Oil on canvas; 24 x 30 in.). Novoa’s work is interesting when one considers how often animals in “the wild” are photographed, are digitally captured, but here under Novoa’s brush these same animals show how we have forever altered their world and, in truth, how we have altered our world and lives to be just some random moments that others decide when we are and are not valued.

Gustavo Novoa and The DAM have partnered with Canine Assisted Therapy which focuses on helping children develop reading skills with the help of an attentive dog companion. Novoa’s exhibition at the library is the perfect setting to encourage not only his art, but also the importance of reading in today’s often distracted world.
The Directed Art Modern Logo
Reception & Artist Talk

Thursday, December 15, 5:00 - 7:30 p.m.
Main Library – Lobby Gallery

Status Zebra

“Status Zebra” (2014). Oil on canvas; 30 x 40 in.

Connecting Sentences

September 23 - December 31, 2016
Main Library – Lobby

Writing is an agent of change. It begins with a sentence and leads to a connection, a kinship with a reader and the building of a community. It grows into a realization that each of us has a story to tell that emerges from the sum of our best—and worst—moments. This exhibit assembles writings from prison programs in South Florida facilitated by Exchange for Change, a nonprofit organization that believes in the power of written partnerships to promote dialogue and effect social change. Separated by razor wire, this writing exemplifies what unites us rather than what divides us.

Opening Reception

Saturday, September 24, 3‑5 p.m.
Main Library – Lobby

Exchange for Change logo

Pablo Cano To The Eye Behind The Keyhole – 1979 ‑ 2016

September 17, 2016 - January 7, 2017
Main Library – 2nd Floor Gallery

The Miami‑Dade Public Library is happy to showcase a selection of Pablo Cano's marionette sculptures. This retrospective exhibition will feature a range of unique and detailed marionettes from the artist's personal collection. The exhibition will also feature art talks and hands‑on workshops on how to build your own marionettes.

"A quiet, gentle man, Cano comes to life when describing or operating his marionettes. His childlike delight in the exploits of his creations is irresistible. Throughout history, marionettes have been used to communicate points of view that were difficult or dangerous for people to express. Cano likewise uses marionettes to convey concepts about the human experience. The occasionally biting satire of these productions becomes easily digestible when it is performed by a figure made of bric‑a‑brac."

— Bonnie Clearwater, Director and Chief Curator, NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale

Pablo Cano Portrait

Photo by Stephen Savage

Tuscany By Susan Feliciano

September 9 - December 31
Hispanic Branch

A New York native working in Miami, Susan Feliciano was born to Colombian and Puerto Rican parents. Feliciano creates artworks in a range of mediums working in painting, photography, installation, and poetry. Working in a variety of venues she explores psychological and physical spaces. Through metaphor and abstraction Feliciano uses color as the primary emotional force, and plays between the lines of surface and substance capturing unexpectedly the beauty of impermanence.

In the paintings Tuscany Series, her process begins with applying multiple layers of pigment. Like an archaeologist, she excavates the different stratum with metal tools. Unearthing is an act of courage causing upheaval as one gets past the superficial. In this work she collages retazos or remnants from other paintings. In the ever flux of change she gives new life to these fragments. These subtle paintings may suggest landscapes, in many ways they are imagined places marking a constructed past.

Feliciano’s work has been presented in solo exhibitions nationally, most recently at the Miami‑Dade Public Library System and the Ronald W. Reagan Presidential House at Florida International University. She has participated in prestigious residencies including the Juried Artist Program at ArtCenter/South Florida. Feliciano’s paintings, photographs, and installations have appeared in venues throughout South Florida including Girls’ Club Fort Lauderdale, Sublime Gallery, and the Museum of Contemporary Art.

The artist’s works have been included in notable exhibitions such as 100+ degrees in the Shade, 30th Anniversary, and MADMiami. Her works are included in the collections of Norwegian Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean International, Regent Seven Seas, Oceania Cruises and Ocean Bank. Feliciano has won awards including the Florida Art Education Association Friend of Art Education Award and Fulbright Memorial Fund—Japan.

Feliciano is an Adjunct Professor at Florida International University’s Art + Art History program and a committee member of the Dade Art Educators Association.

Tuscany #4, Susan Feliciano, Pastel on paper

Susan Feliciano
“Tuscany #4” (2016). Pastel on paper; 40 x 50 in.

"Retrospective Lining" – 2016 Elysa D. Batista

February 20 - December 31, 2016
Main Library – 2nd Floor

"Stories to unfold,
numerically aligned,
searching for the one"

“As a child, my mother would take my sister and me to our local library often. During the summer it was my second home, and its workers and attendees my family. From reading competitions to plays, the library was an enjoyable escape from the mundane and a large influence for my love of words."

‘Retrospective Lining’ is an artwork that represents the closing and beginning of a lifelong chapter with the Miami‑Dade Public Library System. When the opportunity presented itself to display an artwork at the Main Library, I was honored and realized that it was there, surrounded by the sea of crisply printed pages, that my imagination was first allowed to run free.

“The anticipation of the unknown formation of letters, the hunt to seek and capture the book you sought, and getting a hold of that perfect story was, and still is, part of the excitement I experience when I enter the library and is a catalyst for this piece.”

Elysa D. Batista

Elysa D. Batista is a mixed media artist who works with language, specifically the multiplicity of meaning according to different contexts. Her three‑dimensional work explores personal experiences with power dynamics in relationships and communication and is interpreted through the use of semiotics.

Recent exhibitions include solo show Textual Undercurrents at O Cinema Wynwood, Miami (2015) and group shows include Drums on Paper: A Risograph Print Show at the Glasshouse in Brooklyn (2015) and Everything Must Go at ArtCenter/South Florida in Miami Beach (2015). She received an MFA from Parsons The New School for Design in NYC in 2013 and a BFA from the University of Miami in 2009.

Haiku Workshop

Saturday, December 10, 3 p.m. - 5 p.m.
Main Library – 2nd Floor Gallery

Haiku writing is a fun and accessible custom of poetry writing and can be in itself described as an art form. Participants taking this workshop will be able to decorate, design and create personalized haiku’s, whether to share with family for the holidays or send to a friend as a poetic “hello.”
Artist Elysa D. Batista will guide participants on how to write a haiku with 17 syllables, written in the three sentence structure of five syllables/seven syllables/five syllables. The workshop will prompt participants to design and execute their own “Haiku” art.

Retrospective Lining
Retrospective Lining

Elysa D. Batista portrait by artist Nati Marconti.

Synergy and Serenity: Paintings by Pedro A. Figueredo

July 22, 2016 - January 2, 2017
West Dade Regional – 1st & 2nd Floor Galleries

In the tradition of abstract painting, Pedro A. Figueredo's artworks display a combination of spontaneous gestures and the precise application of paint to achieve expressive content. From fleeting sensations to the essence of concepts, his paintings capture the mundane to the sublime. Figueredo finds inspiration in nature, dance, music, emotions, and literature.

Chromatic, luminous, and poetic are qualities often associated with Figueredo's paintings. His use of color ranges from diverse contrasting intensities to a limited palette. Working with acrylic paint on canvas, Figueredo applies multiple layers of color pigments and gels to achieve depth and light. To enhance the abstract content, he gives poignant and expressive titles to his paintings. Figueredo often refers to his paintings as “chromatic poems.”

Pedro A. Figueredo is a Miami resident, born in Bayamo, Cuba, and raised in New York City. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture from Columbia University (New York City), and a Master in Arts in Library and Information Science from the University of South Florida (Tampa, Florida). As Art Editor of the Journal of Multidisciplinary Research, Figueredo promotes local, national, and international visual artists.

Amazonas, Pedro Figueredo
“Amazonas” (2013). Acrylic on canvas; 40 x 30 in.

Coming Soon

Noir Narratives by Mark Osterman

December 10, 2016 - June 1, 2017
Main Library – Auditorium Gallery

Noir Narratives is inspired by film stills from Hollywood's classic film noir period stretching from the early 1940s to the late 1950s. Film noir is associated with a low-key black and white visual style that has roots in German Expressionist cinematography. These films brought a dramatically shadowed lighting style and psychologically expressive approach to visual composition that relates to expressionist painting. Love, fear, sexuality, mistrust, bleakness and loss of innocence are readily evident in film noir narratives. For these reasons the film stills illicit an intensity of emotion and meaning that is fertile ground for painting subject matter. By reducing detail in each image, the specifics and context of the situations remain elusive and open to interpretation. The artist’s use of classic painting techniques, high contrast and or harsh black and white compositions and minimalist esthetic offers a dichotomy of historicism and contemporaneity within the work.

Mark Osterman received his B.F.A. from the School of Visual Arts in New York City and his M.A. at New York University. Osterman is an artist whose work has crossed multiple mediums including drawing, sculpture, installation, digital collage and painting. While living and working in Miami Beach, he has focused on and explored digital collage and painting at length. Drawing upon mass media culture and contemporary social issues as a conceptual basis, Osterman has refined his visual and conceptual vocabulary to create open ended narratives for the viewer to contend with.

Noir, Mark Osterman
“Noir” (2015). Acrylic on canvas; 38 x 48 in.
Savannah, Mark Osterman
“Savannah” (2014). Acrylic on canvas; 48 x 30 in.

For the Love of Art An Exhibit by Dade Arts Educators Association (DAEA)

January 14 - June 1, 2017
West Dade Regional – 1st & 2nd Floor Galleries

Artists create artworks for a variety of reasons. They may produce art to show the beauty that they perceive, to tell a story, to express thoughts and emotions, to express feelings about the world around them, to educate, to shock, to make you think or just simply for fun. Regardless of the specific reason, artists create For the Love of Art. DAEA artists educate young minds and pass on their knowledge to future generations. This exhibit presents the artist inside the art teacher who creates For the Love of Art.

The Dade Art Educators Association, Inc. is made up of Miami‑Dade art educators, artists, retired teachers and community art leaders invested in the future of arts in education. We welcome public, charter and private school teachers, working artists, museum art professionals and any person with a vested interest in arts education. Together we act as one voice to advocate for awareness about the many challenges that face 21st century art education.

Dade Art Educators Association Inc.
DAEA Cover Photo Library Exhibit

Open Books and Other Stories by Tom Virgin

January 21 - May 28, 2017
Main Library – 2nd Floor Gallery

A lifetime of reading has brought me into the Permanent Art Collection of the Miami‑Dade Public Library, and consequently into our library for exhibition. My very first artist's book, escape*… restrictions apply, would not exist had I not found out how to bind books from a book from this library. Four decades of making related prints, in series, led to book arts becoming central to my studio art practice. A lifetime of reading, combined with a powerful love of books, has made me a storyteller as well.

Open Books and Other Stories is for the most part a stubborn, hardheaded, singular response to the online electronic flood of random information we swim in on a daily basis. I have curated a view of South Florida, national parks, students, teachers… and my personal heroes, writers. Each of these entities has enriched my life, telling stories that tie each of these images together and to me.

Although no batteries are required to upload these works, I can attest to the energy that collaborations and working with others has given me. In almost 25 years of teaching and learning in Miami, I have become an advocate for its residents.

Although born and raised in Michigan, I earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in printing and painting at Florida Atlantic University, and a Master of Fine Arts in printmaking at the University of Miami. I bring Miami to artists' residencies each summer, and my hosts' best practices home to Coconut Grove to share with my students, friends and the community.

— Tom Virgin

School Books 1 and 2, Ania Moussawel Open Book, Tom Virgin

Ania Moussawel, School Books 1 and 2
Tom Virgin, Open Book

“The Invisible Borders‑lines” by Pamela Vasquez

September 1 - December 30, 2017
Hispanic Branch

My art exhibition is based on the “Out of Africa” theory, in which all human beings share a common DNA and that the phenomenon of contemporary migration patterns has defined diversity based on acceptance/non‑acceptance of perceived differences. The physical appearances of the models in the exhibition have been manipulated to reflect different racial prototypes. In doing so, I capture the beauty of each individual as well as their racial or ethnic grouping.

The exhibition exposes the contradiction inherent in the theory that, while it is supported by science, can lead to a dilution in the appreciation of the minority groups created as a result of mass migration. My project also provokes a reflection on the fact that although science has made our common origins undeniable, we still adhere to the conflict‑causing beliefs that we are so different.

Pamela Vasquez is a visual artist who creates multimedia installations based mainly on still photography of concepts that involve social issues and the human condition, and a provocative colorful iconography to suggest similarities and contradictions of the same idea.

Invisible Borders-Lines

“Creating art is my highest passion and I believe that art should provoke, elevate or at least have some meaning or reflection of whatever the subject is. It is the reason why I show concepts through imagery for people to make them understand what is impossible to say in words. I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, and for several years I have worked at fashion shows and weddings in my home country of Chile. Since 2007, I have worked on my artwork, teaching art/photography and commercial photography.”

— Pamela Vasquez

Flat Land: Four Architect‑Artists Project
The City of Miami
by Jacob Brillhart, Rocco Ceo, Victor Deupi & Tom Spain

September 9, 2017 - January 2, 2018
Main Library – 2nd Floor Gallery

The theme of Flat Land references one of the most conspicuous aspects of South Florida—its lack of topography. Between the mountainous sky and increasingly omnipresent water is a city ever‑changing, both ambitiously vertical and sprawling, struggling to accommodate conflicting interests on a thin plane of useable land, lapped by two bodies of water: the Everglades and Biscayne National Park. Nature, unrelenting and leveling through seasonally violent storms, and even less predictable human acts, causes us to react, reflect and weigh these conflicting interests. The four architects/artists will draw, paint and project this place on the ‘other’ flat land of their canvas and paper. The theme of this effort is also a metaphor for an accessible and open dialog between artists and the public, made possible by the opportunity for a shared artists’ studio residency and exhibition at the Miami‑Dade Public Library—a natural place of collaboration, interaction and learning.

Mural of Architectual Artwork

Renowned for their drawings and paintings of architecture, the four artists have traveled throughout the U.S., the Caribbean and Europe—often accompanied by students—to depict inspiring cities, buildings, monuments and landscapes. The proposed residency and exhibition will focus on Miami, bringing to light the unknown spaces of the city through a series of newly produced drawings, watercolors and paintings. The exhibition will be accompanied by a video of the four architects and their students sketching and drawing in various locations around the globe. Sketchbooks, drawing materials and additional ephemera (photographs, postcards, promotional material from previous exhibitions) will also be included. In addition to the residency and exhibition, the four architects will give a series of public lectures and classes, demonstrating the value of in situ observational drawing and painting. The exhibition will take place in the 2nd Floor Gallery of the Miami‑Dade Public Library System’s Main Library in downtown Miami for approximately 4 months in the fall of 2017.

The works presented in this exhibition will be created during an artist‑in‑residence program at the Main Library.