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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.

A Visual Narrative
Miami-Dade Public Library System's Permanent Art Collection and Exhibitions

Library Artist-in-Residence Program
Interview with Jacob Brillhart, Rocco Ceo, Victor Deupi

Pablo Cano's Library Exhibition
Pablo Cano To The Eye Behind The Keyhole — 1979‑2016

Library Exhibitions

Pedestrian 1985 & 2015
Street Photography In Downtown with Liam Crotty and David Spitzer

Current Exhibitions & Programming

Plan(T): Miami Mangrove Forest
Eco-art by Xavier Cortada

September 19, 2019 - January 18, 2020
Main Library, 2nd Floor Gallery

Lunchtime Eco‑art Talk with Xavier Cortada

Thursday, November 21, Noon ‑ 2 p.m.

Join artist Xavier Cortada for an engaging presentation that will motivate you into plan(T)ing mangrove propagules in your yard as a way to encourage you to think and learn more about sea level rise and begin planning for the future of our community. Seedlings will be given away at the end of this presentation.

Presentations will take place at nearly all library locations on different days and times. Download a complete list and get more information here.

In 2004, Miami environmental artist Xavier Cortada worked with hundreds of Hands on Miami volunteers to metaphorically reforest the I‑95 underpasses in the downtown Miami, Little Havana and Allapattah neighborhoods.

Cortada's images of mangrove seedlings were used by volunteers to paint dozens of columns beneath I‑95 and create the “Miami Mangrove Forest.”

Fast‑forward two years, Cortada staged an ecological art intervention with his “Reclamation Project,” where the community has since planted eight acres of mangroves on Biscayne Bay.

This art exhibition features the original drawings of mangrove seedlings that were initially exhibited at the OMNIART Miami Art Fair in December 2004.

Fifteen years later, Cortada is asking residents to actually grow Miami’s mangrove forest by planting salt‑tolerant mangrove seedlings in their yards. Through his “Plan(T)” eco‑art project they will plan for the future and plant mangrove seedlings to help combat saltwater intrusion, serve as storm buffers and prepare for sea‑level rise.

Recently acquired as part of the Miami‑Dade Public Library System’s Permanent Art Collection, Cortada’s “Miami Mangrove Forest” drawings will be permanently exhibited at each library branch to encourage residents to continue to learn and work together to “Plan(T)” for the future.

Learn more at www.cortadaprojects.org/planT.

Close up of mangrove seedlings inside cups of water mounted on a window

Starting Ahead
By André Chung, C. W. Griffin and Carl‑Philippe Juste

September 14 - December 18, 2019
West Dade Regional

The beautiful portraits in this photography exhibition capture special moments between children and the significant adults in their lives. The photographs were taken in a variety of settings where educational, economic, and health and wellness supports are provided, including seven childcare centers, one family childcare home, a childcare subsidy resource center and a community health center.

“The future of Florida and our nation rests in the hands of our youngest children. Yet a third of all children in Florida will fall behind long before they meet their kindergarten teacher. It is in our best interest to ensure that all children, regardless of the circumstances into which they are born, have a real chance to achieve their fullest potential and dreams. “Starting Ahead” is a photographic exhibition in support of The Children’s Movement of Florida, a collective of citizens insisting that the youngest among us be our state’s highest priority.”

– Dr. Yolanda Sánchez, artist, professor and former Division Director for the Fine Arts and Cultural Affairs Division at Miami International Airport.

An excited young girl sitting with an adult in a school
Exploration Station, The Preschool at Miami Dade College
André Chung/Iris PhotoCollective
Black and white photo of a shy boy showing a toy dinosaur
Cherry Blossoms Learning Center
C.W. Griffin/Iris PhotoCollective

Miami International Airport logoEarly Learning Coalition of Miami-Dade/Monroe logoThe Children's Movement logoMia Galleries logoIris logo

Learn about where you live Shenandoah! text over a torn sheet of lined paper

Learn About Where You Live: Shenandoah
A Dade Heritage Trust Exhibition

September 6 - December 20, 2019
Shenandoah Branch

Learn About Where You Live: Shenandoah is a Dade Heritage Trust initiative which documented approximately 650 historic and culturally significant properties in Miami’s Shenandoah neighborhood. Predominantly featured in the neighborhood are 1920s and 1930s buildings, which have served as the homes of successive waves of ethnic and immigrant groups since the 1920s.

With lovely residential architecture, tree‑lined streets and connectivity to Calle Ocho, Downtown Miami, Brickell and Coconut Grove, Shenandoah is one of Miami’s most desirable neighborhoods and deserving of a study to educate residents and visitors about its architectural and cultural heritage.

This exhibit features both contemporary and historic images of a sampling of Shenandoah’s residential architecture. The contemporary images were captured by renowned architectural photographer Steven Brooke. The historic images were gathered from original property tax cards in the possession of the City of Miami’s Historic Preservation Office. Note the differences in landscaping, building ornamentation, window styles and more in the photographs.

The Learn About Where You Live: Shenandoah project was made possible through a grant from the State of Florida Division of Historical Resources. Neighborhood documentation and a resulting survey report as required by the grant were produced by Miami‑based urban planning firm, PlusUrbia. Dade Heritage Trust also acknowledges the City of Miami’s Historic Preservation Office, Little Gables Group and the residents of Shenandoah for their contributions to this beautiful project.

Thumbnail Image 1 Thumbnail Image 1 Thumbnail Image 1
Dade Heritage Trust logoNational Trust for Historic Preservation logo

Highlights from the Permanent Art Collection

September 1, 2019 - January 2, 2020
Hispanic Branch

September 1, 2019 - January 3, 2020
North Dade Regional

The Miami‑Dade Public Library System (MDPLS) has a special collection of over 6,000 fine artworks. It includes limited edition prints, drawings, photographs and artist books, as well as small sculptures. Framed works and objects from the art collection are installed in branches throughout the library system many of which are often the only place in a neighborhood where fine art is accessible to the public.

Since its inception in 1970, the Permanent Art Collection has become a nationally recognized reference resource that reflects Miami’s cultural composition and chronicles its artistic and social history. Used and appreciated by historians, students and the general public, the collection emphasizes works on paper by Latino, African‑American and South Florida artists. It is an important visual historical record for the community, chronicling social, cultural and artistic change in Miami over the past 40 years.

The MDPLS Art Services and Exhibitions Division is responsible for maintaining, conserving, researching, cataloguing, exhibiting and acquiring new works for the collection. Today, all MDPLS library locations exhibit artwork from the Permanent Art Collection, with up to 40 works of art displayed at each branch.

Many works relate to language, libraries and literary themes. The over 2,000 artists represented in the collection include Wilfredo Lam, Ana Mendieta, Purvis Young, Edward Ruscha, Gleason Waite Romer, Kabuya Bowens, Carl Van Vechten, Emilio Sanchez, Elizabeth Catlett, David Spitzer, Alexis Rodriguez‑Duarte, Jacob Lawrence, Agustin Fernandez, Gary L. Moore, Christian Marclay, Gary Monroe, Fernando Garcia and Gigi Aramescu.

MDPLS has a long history of cultural and educational exhibitions. A special call to artists is made on a rolling basis for temporary exhibitions that correspond to annual themes or topics highlighting the Library’s special collections and services.

The Miami‑Dade Public Library System’s Art Services and Exhibitions Division curates a year‑round program of exhibitions, performances, lectures, panel discussions and community art projects, all of which are free and open to the public. MDPLS began exhibiting work by local and international artists in 1963. There are currently seven rotating gallery spaces that display curated exhibits from the Permanent Art Collection and works from artists selected through the public call for proposals. Over the course of a year, 28 exhibitions are held at these galleries with work rotating on a quarterly basis.

Pegboard with a photo of a young girl surrounded by abstract markings
Untitled, 2009
Mixed media collage on pegboard, Amanda Ross‑Ho
On display at Hispanic Branch
Abstract pyramid design with line art overlayed on a space background
The Flight into Egypt I, 1984
Mixed media on cardstock, Timothy Ely
On display at North Dade Regional
Three small dogs staggard over a purple to blue gradient background
Untitled (greeting card), n.d.
Mixed media on cardstock, Betsy Bystock
On display at North Dade Regional

Gitxsan First Nation

Silkscreen Prints from the Permanent Art Collection of the Miami‑Dade Public Library System

September 1 - December 31, 2019
Miami Beach Regional

The Gitxsan are an indigenous people of British Columbia, Canada, who live along the Skeena River. The word Gitxsan means “people of the River of Mist.” Gitxsan are a matrilineal society that consists of four clans: wolf, frog, fireweed, and eagle. Storytelling, songs and oral history are a major part of their belief system.

This exhibition features a beautiful collection of original silkscreen prints from the Miami‑Dade Public Library System’s Permanent Art Collection by six Gitxsan artists including Walter Harris, Vernon Stephens, Art “Myanxa” Sterritt, Neil J. Sterritt, Ken M. Mowatt, and Earl Muldoe.

The Gitxsan are noted for their traditional arts, ranging from weaving complex Chilkat blankets to intricately carving mountain‑sheep horn spoons and the totem poles that the heirs of chiefs were obligated to raise as memorials. Learning and producing traditional crafts are encouraged by programs of Ksan (the reconstructed Gitxsan village which serves as a cultural center). These artists created their own unique styles that draw on traditional Gitxsan culture and history.

Black and white portrait of Walter Harris
“Art is my life and the life of my people. I want my work through the many pieces I have created, to live and carry on the rich traditional of our people.” – Walter Harris
An eagle holding a salmon in tribal native american style design
Eagle with Salmon, 1978
Silkscreen print, Earl Muldoe

Through the Lens

Photographs from the Permanent Art Collection of the Miami‑Dade Public Library System

August 1 - December 31, 2019
Main Library – First Floor Exhibition Area

Lunchtime Photography Lecture with Miami Herald photojournalist Carl Juste

Friday, December 6, Noon ‑ 2:00 p.m.

Portrait of photojournalist Carl-Philippe Juste
Carl‑Philippe Juste
Born in Port‑au‑Prince, Carl‑Philippe Juste came to the United States with his politically active family in 1965. Raised in Brooklyn, he arrived in Miami in 1973, earned a bachelor’s degree at the University of Miami and has worked at The Miami Herald since 1991. Assignments have taken him to Pakistan, Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as to the nation of his birth. Juste is co‑founder of Iris PhotoCollective, a collaboration to create a new context for exploring and documenting the relationship of people of color to the broader world.

This exhibition highlights a selection of color and black‑and‑white photographs from the Permanent Art Collection of the Miami‑Dade Public Library System. The exhibit includes works by Gary Monroe, Howard Moss, David Spitzer, Mario Algaze, Gleason Waite Romer, Roberto Machado Ortega, Alexis Rodriguez Duarte, Richard Davenport, Noelle Theard, Ramon Guerrero and many more. The photographs serve as an important visual historical record for the community, chronicling social, cultural and artistic change in Miami over the past 40 years.

Black and white photo of an elderly woman leaning on a cane while sitting in a chair and a white cat beside
Emilio’s Mother by Ramon Guerrero

A traves del lente

Fotografías de la colección permanente de arte del Sistema de Bibliotecas Públicas de Miami‑Dade

1 de agosto - 31 de diciembre de 2019
Main Library – Area de exposición, 1er piso

Charla y Recorrido de la Exhibición

Viernes, 6 de diciembre, 12 ‑ 2:00 p.m.

Esta exposición hace hincapié en una selección de fotografías en color, y en blanco y negro, de la colección permanente de arte del Sistema de Bibliotecas Públicas de Miami‑Dade. La exposición incluye obras de Gary Monroe, Howard Moss, David Spitzer, Mario Algaze, Gleason Waite Romer, Roberto Machado Ortega, Alexis Rodriguez Duarte, Richard Davenport, Noelle Theard, Ramon Guerrero y muchos más. Las fotografías fungen como un importante registró visual histórico para la comunidad, sirviendo de crónica del cambio social, cultural y artístico que ha tenido lugar en Miami en los últimos 40 años.

Foto en blanco y negro de una anciana inclinada sobre un bastón mientras está sentado en una silla y un gato blanco al lado
Emilio’s Mother por Ramon Guerrero

Upcoming Exhibitions & Programs

Elizabeth Catlett: The Future of Equality
A 35‑Year Retrospective

December 2, 2019 - March 31, 2020
Main Library, Lobby Gallery

Opening Reception

Friday, December 6, 5:30‑7:00 p.m.

An exhibition in collaboration with the Dade County Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

Elizabeth Catlett (1915‑2012), an internationally renowned American and Mexican sculptor and artist, infused her work with her strong sense of heritage and social activism. Growing up in Washington, D.C., she was influenced as a child by her own life experiences and her grandmother’s stories of the horrors of slavery and heroism of oppressed people. As a graduate of Howard University and the first person to obtain a Master of Fine Arts degree in sculpture from the University of Iowa, Catlett studied under artists who encouraged her to have her art reflect her unique view of life.

Primarily known for her sculptures, Catlett also created prints, lithographs and linocuts which feature persons ranging from Harriet Tubman to Angela Davis. This exhibition proudly includes linocut works from her series The Negro Women, 1946‑1947 from the Permanent Art Collection of the Miami‑Dade Public Library System. This series demonstrates an artistic narrative of the experience of African‑American women in the 19th and 20th centuries. First displayed by the library in 1984, this new exhibit revisits Catlett’s work, her world view, political convictions and beliefs thirty‑five years later. It also depicts her connections to Miami. The timeless quality of Catlett’s art and activism help examine what is the “future of equality” today.

View lithographs, correspondence and other memorabilia around the Miami‑Dade Public Library System’s 1984 exhibition The Graphics of Elizabeth Catlett as well as fifteen linocut prints in the library’s Digital Collections.

“We have to create art for liberation and for life.”

Elizabeth Catlett
Portrait of a person boldy looking up using linolium printmaking
Elizabeth Catlett, My future is a future of equality with other Americans, 1947, linocut print.

Latin Holiday Concert Celebration
With Pavel Vitier and his Son Montuno!

Friday, December 13, 2:30‑4:30 p.m.
Main Library

Celebrate the holidays with a performance by composer/writer and guitarist Pavel Vitier and his Son Montuno. His salsa and Afro‑Cuban percussion and rhythms will have you moving to the beat!

Portrait of composer/musician Pavel Vitier