Making the Grade

How well are Miami's art schools keeping up with the scene? Ask them.

In what way do you think art schools can become more involved with Miami's contemporary art scene?

UM's Carlebach: We need to do more than what we are already doing, which is bringing hot artists for short-time residences and lectures. We'd like to do more of it. The studio artists and historians feel very strongly about this. Believe me, this is not an ivory tower ...

FIU's Damian: I guess it takes visibility. We have become more active in recent years -- but we often feel that only the NWSA counts and they get the most attention just because they are the NWSA. There's a big difference between an excellent high school and the depth of quality in the college program. The more we can get the students out into the community ... in internships, group exhibitions, mingle with others, the better.

Lately local schools have been flooding the community with local art, such as that from Bhakti Baxter, Kerry Ware, and Jordan Massengale
Lately local schools have been flooding the community with local art, such as that from Bhakti Baxter, Kerry Ware, and Jordan Massengale

UM's Curtis: The new dean of the arts and sciences is very determined to change the nature of the involvement of our university. He seems proactive in making the university react to the community. He's asking the faculty to get involved with the community and Miami. I think both he and the president are changing the direction with interdisciplinary and multicultural initiatives.

Briefly, could you comment on your departments' achievements?

NWSA's Romeo: The students and faculty in visual arts perform at an extraordinary level. The December issue of Art in Americafeatured the "House at MoCA" as an exemplary show featuring young gifted artists from Florida. The recent "No Shows" exhibition at Snitzer's gallery included 50 NWSA students and graduates out of the 200 artists selected. Bhakti Baxter, a college junior, recently had his first solo exhibition at MoCA.

UM's Curtis: Graduates of our program are quite active in the Miami art scene. I'm thinking of people like Jordan Massengale, Franklin Einspruch, Kerry Ware, and Mary Malm, all teachers at [International Fine Arts College]. Or others like Annie Wharton and Kyle Trowbridge, a full-time instructor in painting and printmaking and a Consortium Grant recipient, and Westen Charles, also a Consortium Grant recipient and founder of Locust Projects.

FIU's Damian: Our most recent achievement is [getting] national accreditation (NASAD) for the first time. We have a Smithsonian affiliation and can offer opportunities to art history students through it. We have [new degrees such as] a museum studies graduate certificate approved, to begin in fall 2003, that will be perfect with our new museum and the Wolfsonian, and will be followed the next year with a master's in art history with a museum studies track. I believe that we have one of the best art programs in the South.

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