Skip to main content
101 West Flagler Street 305‑375‑5572

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 by appointment only. Call or e‑mail for more information.

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.

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

Browse the Collection

Exhibitions at the Library
Temporary exhibitions to selected annual themes and/or highlight the library’s special collections.

Permanent Art Collection
A collection of over 2,200 works with focus on African American, Latino, and Miami artists.

Christo and Jeanne‑Claude in Miami
The Library and the Surrounded Islands Project

Made possible by the MDPLS Permanent Art Collection and The Vasari Project

October 13, 2018 - February 28, 2019
Main Library – The Vasari Project Area

This retrospective exhibition combines works from the Miami‑Dade Public Library System’s Permanent Art Collection and The Vasari Project to delineate the Library’s involvement with the monumental art installation Surrounded Islands, created by Christo and Jeanne‑Claude in 1983. The selection of objects and prints combined with other visual ephemera tells the chronological history of the project from conception through the subsequent legal battles leading up to the project’s set up, and, finally, the legacy of Surrounded Islands. The complexity and scope of the ambitious pink floating art installation left profound marks on the community. Surrounded Islands gave Miami the international visibility and credibility that it deserved for a long time coming. Christo and Jeanne‑Claude transformed our beloved Biscayne Bay into a work of art, our beautiful islands shining pink in all their glory, transforming Miami forever.

Process and Participation, Surrounded Islands Project
Social Sculpture and Panel Discussion moderated by Veronica Fazzio

Saturday, October 13, 3‑5 p.m.
Main Library

Enjoy an experimental panel discussion with artists Kerry Ware, David Bricker and Veronica Fazzio. Learn how Miami participated in the Christo and Jeanne‑Claude Surrounded Islands project and how the city was temporarily and forever transformed.

We are pleased to participate in PAMM’s free Educator Workshops.

About the Artists

Kerry Ware was born in Southern California and received his BFA in sculpture from California State University, Fullerton. After applying to graduate school at the University of Miami, he received a full scholarship and teaching assistantship and finished his studies there under Darby Bannard in painting. Ware shows his work in Miami and continues to teach studio and art history classes.

Dave Bricker is an MFA designer, speaker, and author who teaches the art of business transformation through storytelling. The people he met while working on the Surrounded Islands project inspired him to sail thousands of miles in search of the stories that form the backbone of his work today. More at

Veronica Fazio graduated in fine arts, photography and audiovisual techniques in Argentina. Fazio received her MFA in visual arts at Miami International University of Art & Design. She is an interdisciplinary artist and social sculpture practitioner. Currently, she is in an artist‑in‑residence practice based research program in the Art Services and Exhibitions Division of the Miami‑Dade Public Library System. Fazio is also pursuing her PhD of Philosophy in creative practice at Plymouth University, UK.

Exhibition Highlights

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 ( 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

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 /

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 /

Forget What is Not Worth Remembering
Artist Books Exhibition by Margarita Cano

October 1, 2018 - February 15, 2019
Main Library – 2nd Floor

Join us as we celebrate a fantastic exhibition of books created by librarian, artist and community culture activist Margarita Cano. On display, you’ll see a collection of artist books or the creative rendition of an artist’s vision of what a book could be when stretched by the imagination. Somewhere between a sketch book, a journal and an artistic creation, artist books give you a peek into the style and philosophy of an artist. From traditional bound books to cigar boxes, tennis balls, and everything in between, this exhibition of both Cano’s artist books and the MDPLS/Vasari collection of artist books will turn the metaphorical pages of what art can be into a fairy tale with a happy ending!

Young girl releaseing dove from a balcony overlooking el Malecon
Margarita Cano, Libertad en el Malecon, 2005, Mixed Media on Paper
From the Permanent Art Collection of the Miami‑Dade Public Library System

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.
Volunteer Button
Christo and Jeanne‑Claude Button and woven polypropylene fabric, Surrounded Islands, 1983 Collection of the Vasari Project Archive, Miami‑Dade Public Library System
Miami‑Metro Dept. of Publicity and Tourism Barbara Young in front of Florida Flowers Artmobile painted by Lowell Nesbitt, 1976 Collection of the Vasari Project Archive, Miami‑Dade Public Library System
Surrounded Islands
Christo and Jeanne‑Claude Christo with former Library Director Edward Sintz at Documentation Exhibition, 1983 Collection of the Vasari Project Archive, Miami‑Dade Public Library System