Letters from the Issue of May 8-14,2003

Art and rabbits and dictators and screwy geniuses

To Art or Not To Art: That Is the Question

The answer is yes to art -- but don't ignore the artist: As someone relatively new to the community, I read Celeste Fraser Delgado's article about plans for the Miami Art Museum with much interest ("Tumbling Chairs," May 1). She raises important issues about the place of art in our culture and in our city. In this coming debate there are significant questions that need to be raised about our attitudes toward art and the role of the artist in the process.

Why do we look at artworks only as objects to be collected but not as a process of engaging our world and each other? Why is aesthetic education and awareness not central to our lives as human beings? Why is it that we do not have religion or life without art? Why is it that we view and "know" cultures mainly through the prism of their aesthetic impulses and development? Why are cultures considered vibrant and powerful mainly through their aesthetic contributions to history? Why is it that physicists believe that engaging in aesthetic practice is important to the education of young scientists? Why are aesthetic questions seen as unnecessary to our lives and the depth of our society?

These questions and their answers may provide a way of approaching the issues addressed in her article. Isn't it odd that we would not build a hospital without consulting doctors but museums can be constructed without the participation of the artists who make it all possible? Perhaps it's true that artists are superfluous. If so, then we don't need to build anything -- or have concert halls or dance performances. We can just watch television.

Ed Levine


Hialeah's Three Nose Ring Circus

With this guy leading these women around, there's trouble ahead: Regarding Francisco Alvarado's article about Hialeah City Council candidates Cindy Miel, Vanessa Bravo, and Adriana Narvaez, they have lots to learn ("The Hialeah 3," May 1). They must not be intelligent if Modesto Perez is leading them around by the nose.

Everyone knows that Modesto didn't support Carmen Caldwell because she would not tolerate his inconsistency in the political arena. Modesto goes with the highest bidder. His son works for Marco Rubio; his other son works for another politician. Getting his support means you are obligated by his demands. Just ask county Commissioner Rebecca Sosa.

Anyway, there will never be another Carmen Caldwell. She was the gem of a lifetime. These three together will never be able to fill her shoes. The City of Hialeah lost a true champion for employees and citizens.

Ileana Rodriguez


My Big Belly Laugh

Being called a rabbit made it all the funnier: I am one of the Hialeah 6 fired by the Department of Children and Families, the one with 32 years of experience. I would like to tell you that Tristram Korten's column "Stalin Would Be Proud" (May 1) was one of the best things on this issue I have seen so far, even though I was described as a rabbit being chased by a greyhound. I died laughing!

Teresa Rio


Editor's note: Rio and her five colleagues have been reinstated to their DCF jobs with full back pay, benefits, and seniority.

Poof! You're Gone!

Hello? We're still here, but you wouldn't know it from reading this sorry rag: Miami New Times has rendered both Tigertail Productions and the Rhythm Foundation invisible. The Florida legislature is trying hard enough to make the arts disappear; we don't need the press joining in.

I just opened New Times and saw a photo of Mariza (page 59), the Portuguese fado singer that Tigertail and Rhythm Foundation are presenting May 7, accompanying an article by Juan Carlos Rodriguez ("Performance: Beats, Traditions Meld at Fest," May 1). The article did list one of the phone numbers correctly, but Tigertail's number was left out. Also there was no mention of who was presenting Mariza. The TransAtlantic Festival did not make it happen, and neither did the New World Symphony or the Lincoln Theatre. It is a part of the Tigertail FLA/BRA Festival and the Rhythm Foundation TransAtlantic Festival. There was no mention at all of Tigertail despite the fact that all materials from both organizations note that Mariza was being co-presented by Tigertail and Rhythm Foundation.

On page 91 of the same issue there was a second (and terrific) article about Mariza by Ezra Gale ("Beautiful Curves"). We really appreciate this great coverage, but again, not one word about who was presenting the event. The final kicker was that the wrong phone number was used (the Lincoln Theatre box office) and as a result no one could call us for tickets. Tigertail and the Rhythm Foundation are renting the Lincoln Theatre, which does not provide the service of selling tickets for us prior to the event.

One of the ways arts organizations in Miami stay alive is to collaborate and split costs. Tigertail and Rhythm Foundation have been doing this for years. When the press makes us invisible it hurts in many ways. For one thing, the artists we present are part of our identity. This is how we develop an audience and attract supporters. It affects not only our image and our audience but our funding as well.

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