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Email The Vasari Project

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 Monday ‑ Saturday from 10 a.m. - 4 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.

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.
Browse the Collection

Collection Highlights

Magic City Zines
An exhibition celebrating Miami’s flourishing zine‑making community

August 8 - November 11, 2019
Main Library – Special Collections & Archives

The Miami‑Dade Public Library System’s Special Collections and Archives presents Magic City Zines, an exhibit spanning nearly 40 years of zines made by Miami residents and visitors. Celebrating this thriving alternative press culture, their creators who serve the larger society of South Florida, include, but not limited to, visual artists, authors, touring musicians, poets, activists, high school students, punks, quasi‑professionals, moms, teachers, anarchists, librarians, and community members. Selected items include issues of long‑running Miami zine Tropical Depression by visual artist Kevin Arrow, SCAM, a punk zine written and edited by Iggy Scam aka Erica Lyle, No Room for Luggage by fine artist Jillian Mayer, and X‑Star and the Super Weird Aliens by multimedia artist Beatriz Monteavaro.

The term “zines” (/ziːn/ ZEENS; short for magazine or fanzine) was born out of fervent sci‑fi fandoms in the early 1950s and extended through to the punk music scenes of the 1970s, the riot grrrl movement of the 1990s and beyond. An open‑ended self‑publishing format, zines often transcend designated boundaries and reach into classrooms as educational tools, archivists’ maps documenting local histories and shifting geographies, even as an experimental form of art therapy. As a vehicle for creative expression, anyone with a pen, paper, and scissors can create their own zine to share with their friends and communities, making them one of the most democratic forms of literature. As such, they are typically portable, easily circulated with a small print run, and cheap with little intention to produce a profit. Zines have historically operated under a barter or sharing economy, categorically critical of copyright laws and typically “copy‑left,” as an accessible way to distribute critical information. Zinesters, or zine‑makers, tackle issues as charged as state and domestic violence and discrimination, feminism and LGBTQ+ oppression, ethnic and racial identity and representation, or as casual as poetry dedicated to the NBA.

Today’s Miami zinesters further this print history and pride in their work through hosting local events such as the Miami Zine Fair hosted by EXILE books and the West Kendall Zine Fest. Various artist and community run workshops exist where the public is invited to create and enjoy other creative work produced in the city. As a result of such a wealth of production, institutions such as the Miami‑Dade Public Library System’s Vasari Project, University of Miami's Special Collections, as well as the Wolfsonian–F.I.U.’s Zines for Progress program have become resources that produce, collect, and contribute. The Miami‑Dade Public Library System is proud to widen the audience of these colorful additions to Miami’s zine‑dom, and in turn, the Vasari Project’s living archive of first‑person accounts documenting, preserving, and mapping local histories and geographies. Magic City Zines will be open from August 8th to November 11th at the Main Library from 9:30 a.m. - 6:00 p.m., Monday through Saturday. An opening reception and performance by local folk duo, Dracula, will be held on August 8th, from 3‑5 p.m.

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