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About

The Vasari Project is a library collection dedicated to documenting, collecting and preserving Miami‑Dade County's art history from 1945 to the present. It is a living archive that grows through contributions from artists, art professionals, exhibition spaces, galleries, institutions and private donors.

The Vasari Project is a resource for ongoing research, scholarship, publications, artists' projects, exhibitions and events. The archive collects documentation rather than original works of art comprised primarily of printed matter: correspondence, press clippings, photographs, posters, books, exhibition catalogs, artists' files, oral histories and other ephemeral materials.

Art critic, historian, and writer Helen L. Kohen and the Library’s former Art Services Manager Barbara N. Young conceived the Vasari Project in 2000. The collection is named for Giorgio Vasari (1511‑1574), the artist and historian whose book, Lives of the Artists, shaped the discipline of Western art history. Made possible by a partnership between the Library and the County's Department of Cultural Affairs, the archive's purpose is to preserve and build upon Miami's transformation into a major hemispheric art center.

Miami Moments 2012
The Library's Three Graces in the Arts

Using the Archive

Reference Questions

You can e‑mail or call us with your reference questions about art or artists in Miami.

Visiting the Archive

Plan to conduct all of your research in a designated area at Main Library. The collection is open to the public Tuesday and Thursday, 11:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. by appointment only. Call or e‑mail for more information.

Note: Items in The Vasari Project may not be checked out of the library.

Browse the Collection

Collection Policy & How To Contribute

The Vasari Project welcomes materials donated by members of the arts community and the general public. Donations are accepted based on their relevance to the purpose of the archive and the library's ability to accommodate special conservation and storage space needs.

For galleries, museums, organizations, and artists with mailing lists, the easiest way to contribute is to add The Vasari Project to your mailing list, email or otherwise. You may also make an appointment to bring in materials.

Emilio Sanchez: A Generous Life

February 11 - December 31, 2017
Vasari Project, Main Library – 1st Floor

Emilio Sanchez was an extremely prolific and talented painter. He started each morning with a still life painting and then progressed to his more well‑known architectural paintings. Sanchez's work is represented in many internationally renowned collections, and he has donated much of his work to collections particularly here in Miami. He is well represented in the Miami‑Dade Public Library System's Permanent Art Collection. Sanchez has also donated a significant amount of his personal papers and art related documents to the Vasari Project. This exhibition contains a representative selection of that material.

The items in this exhibition were selected by Emily Elkin, research assistant to Dr. Victor Deupi, curator for the exhibition “Emilio Sanchez in South Florida Collections” at the Lowe Art Museum at the University of Miami.

Sailboats Fisher Island
“Sailboats Fisher Island” (1981)
3 Boats Mykonos
“3 Boats Mykonos” (1981)

Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) will include Sanchez’s works in its Inside|Out Collection installed in communities throughout Miami‑Dade County from February to August 2017. Two works by Sanchez will be added to the 2017 Inside|Out Collection, which is growing from 30 to 50 reproductions.

Emilio Sanchez in South Florida Collections brings together stellar examples of this important Cuban artist's oeuvre, and marks the first time that works from local collections have been united in a single exhibition. Emilio Sanchez in South Florida Collections will be on view at the Lowe Art Museum in Coral Gables from February 9 through May 21, 2017.

South Beach Century: How South Beach and the Arts Built Modern Miami

April 5, 2017 - September 30, 2018
First Wednesday of every month, 6 ‑ 7:30 p.m.

North Shore Branch

In 2015, Tom Austin, author of The Surf Club, published by Assouline, and long‑time chronicler of Miami for such publications as the New York Times, Miami Herald and Columbia Journalism Review, was given a South Florida Knight Arts Challenge grant for South Beach Century: How South Beach and the Arts Built Modern Miami (www.knightarts.org). South Beach Century celebrates the creative spirit of South Beach and Miami itself, incorporating design, music, dance, fashion, film, television, literature, culinary history, nightlife and visual art.

On the first Wednesday of every month from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Mr. Austin will be in residence at the North Shore Branch Library conducting oral history recording sessions with anyone who wishes to be interviewed about South Beach cultural life. Participants are encouraged to bring copies of photographs, ephemera and memorabilia of South Beach from nightclub flyers and restaurant menus to art gallery invitations.

Some of the South Beach archival material, as well as transcripts of the oral histories, will be featured in the South Beach Century: How South Beach and the Arts Built Modern Miami book. In 2018, the South Beach Century book will be launched at the North Shore Branch Library along with a pop‑up exhibition of photographs contributed by participants. Work by South Beach artists such as Fernando Garcia, Tomata du Plenty and Andy Sweet, drawn from the Miami‑Dade Public Library System’s Art Services and Exhibitions Department, will also be part of the pop‑up exhibition. Cultural outreach events including screenings of South Beach‑related films will be conducted at City of Miami Beach public parks.

South Beach Century will use oral histories—taken from artists, designers, musicians and residents from all walks of life—to create a multi‑layered examination of South Beach’s unique cultural contributions. This will be crowd‑sourced history, a chronicle of a singular city told through its singular people.

To participate in the South Beach Century Oral History Project, contact Tom Austin at austint@att.net.

Knight Foundation logo

Portrait of late artist Carlos Alfonzo in his South Beach studio

The late artist Carlos Alfonzo in his South Beach studio, circa 1990.
Photo by Steven Paul Hlavac / www.photoasylum.com

Portrait of Edie Beale, star of Grey Gardens, at News Cafe on Ocean Drive

Edie Beale, star of Grey Gardens, at News Cafe on Ocean Drive.
Photo by Steven Paul Hlavac / www.photoasylum.com

Collection Highlights

Cuban Performance Art
Page (detail) from mimeographed catalog for Cuban Performance Art of the 1980s at Miami‑Dade Community College's InterAmerican Campus, 1998. Collection of the Vasari Project Archive, Miami‑Dade Public Library System.
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Artmobile
Surrounded Islands