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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.

Exhibition Highlights

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