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Permanent Art Collection

Art Services & Exhibitions Department

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The Miami‑Dade Public Library System's Art Services and Exhibitions Department maintains a permanent collection of over 6,000 works of art. This special collection includes works on paper, photographs, paintings, artists' books, multiples and small sculptures, with a focus on African American, Latino, and Miami artists. The Permanent Art Collection is a reference resource that reflects Miami's cultural composition and chronicles its artistic and social history.

Many works relate to language, libraries and literary themes. The over 2,000 artists represented in the collection include Purvis Young, Edward Ruscha, Gleason Waite Romer, Kabuya Pamela Bowens, Carl Van Vechten, Lynn Golub Gelfman, Emilio Sanchez, Elizabeth Catlett, Jacob Lawrence, Agustín Fernandez, Gary L. Moore, Christian Marclay, and Fernando Garcia.

Each branch of the library exhibits artwork from the Library's Permanent Collection. Please check periodically as the artwork collection is often rotated.

Search the Collection
"Yes or No" and or "Yes and No"
Tauba Auerbach, "Yes or No" and or "Yes And No," 2008, color aquatint etching.

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.

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Untitled, 2009
Mixed media collage on pegboard, Amanda Ross‑Ho
On display at Hispanic Branch
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The Flight into Egypt I, 1984
Mixed media on cardstock, Timothy Ely
On display at North Dade Regional
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Untitled (greeting card), n.d.
Mixed media on cardstock, Betsy Bystock
On display at North Dade Regional