PAMM's Free Second Saturdays Kicks Off With First Beat

First Beat drummer
First Beat drummer
Photos courtesy of Perez Art Museum Miami

Last week, PAMM welcomed media, local VIPs, and celebrities for a first look at the art museum and blew us away with its striking panoramic views, stunning edifice, and mesmeric art.

While locals were also welcomed to celebrate the grand opening over the last weekend with free admission, the immobile traffic conditions due to Art Basel likely kept many from being a part of it all. But you no longer have to suffer with FOMO, because this weekend, all locals will have a second chance to finally see what the hype is all about -- without having to pay a dime.

On Saturday, December 14, PAMM will kick off its inaugural edition of Free Second Saturdays -- a free monthly program in which guests will be invited for a day of hands-on art-making, gallery tours, and performances. And it's not just for the kids, either. The entire program is specifically designed so that guests of all ages can partake in the activities.

This month's art-making activities will involve building personalized model boats inspired by PAMM's bay front location and artist Hew Locke's colorful installation of suspended sea vessels, which hang from the ceiling in the museum's lobby.

"It's a very important day because we take down any type of barriers that may be perceived of the museum," says Emily Mello, PAMM's deputy director for education and public programs. "We are a cultural port for ideas and I think that is responsive to our location and our community. I think that comes through in the activities that we have planned for the day."

Then there's "First Beat," a special drum performance that will be taking place throughout the museum. Each hour, on the hour, 12 female drummers will be stationed indoors and outdoors of the museum with beats that were intended to be performed exclusively by men, but were re-written to be performed by everyone. The commissioned performance is composed by Mindy Abovitz, founder and publisher of Tom Tom Magazine (the only publication dedicated to female drummers). The drummers hail from Miami, Boston, and New York City and come from different musical backgrounds, from indie rock to jazz to heavy metal.

Cultist spoke with Abovitz to tell us more about First Beat, Tom Tom, and what's in store for Saturday.


Mindy Abovitz, center
Mindy Abovitz, center

Cultist: What inspired you to start Tom Tom?

Mindy Abovitz: I am a drummer and a feminist and I wanted to see girls and women drummers properly recognized in the media. I started Tom Tom Magazine in 2009 to change Google search results for the words "female drummer", "girl drummer", and "woman drummer." Existing drum magazines have left women out of their pages. We are here to allot female drummers the respect we deserve, affect the drum and music industry, and provide role models for future female drummers.

What inspired First Beat?

First Beat is inspired by Miami's gorgeous new museum and the beautiful people that inhabit Miami. We are performing four drum movements. Each of them are in celebration of the museum as the newest cultural hub and of the power and grace that drums have when anyone is welcome and encouraged to play. I have placed the drummers all over the museum, out of sight and sound of each other. Most women drummers don't know other women drummers. Keeping us far from each other in the museum is a visual representation of that anonymity. The museum goer will be allowed to visit all of us, hear us play and find the sweet spots in the museum where two drummers can be heard at once.

The drummers will be performing beats that were intended to be performed by men, but re-written to be performed by everyone. Can you tell us a bit more about that?

My take on drums in general, across all genres and all over the world, is that women and girls are not encouraged to play and should be invited to play. Drums and music sounds best when shared. For the first act of our performance at PAMM, we have chosen beats taken from several different cultures that are exclusively performed by almost always men. We are re-writing and re-contextualizing them in order to play them respectfully and with intention to open the drum world up to anyone.

What's it like to be a part of PAMM's inaugural second Saturday?

A total and complete honor. We are thrilled. The museum staff has been nothing but incredible in helping us see our performance through.

What's next for Tom Tom?

European distribution for the print magazine, showcases around the world, a performance at The Hammer Museum in LA, us aiding in the amount of girls and women who get on the kit, us helping the drum industry open its doors to women drummers and more of the same great features online.

PAMM's first Free Second Saturdays kicks off Saturday, December 14 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Tours begin at 1:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m., and 3:30 p.m. Call 305-375-3000 or visit

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Perez Art Museum Miami (PAMM)

1103 Biscayne Blvd.
Miami, FL 33132


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