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PAMM Celebrates Haitian Heritage Month During Its Free Second Saturday

Haitian folk music band and J Perry during 2019 Haitian Heritage Month performances at PAMM
Haitian folk music band and J Perry during 2019 Haitian Heritage Month performances at PAMM Pérez Art Museum Miami photo
Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) hosts a special event on May 13, celebrating Haiti's deep roots in South Florida and its language, people, and culture during its Free Second Saturdays.

"This year, we're marking more than 50 years of Haitian migration to South Florida and celebrating the vibrant history, culture, and contributions of the community at large," says museum director Franklin Sirmans. "Miami has one of the largest Haitian-American populations in the nation, and we're honored to have the opportunity to showcase some of the incredible artists across our collection, programming, and neighborhood."

PAMM's Free Second Saturdays is a monthly event that welcomes art lovers and provides the community with free access to the museum. The museum creates special programming and art activities during this time.

May is Haitian Heritage Month in Miami, and May 18 marks the observance of Haitian Flag Day in Haiti and Haitian communities in the U.S., making this second Saturday an ideal opportunity for the museum to celebrate the creativity, art, and culture of Haiti.

"Each second Saturday, the museum explores specific themes or cultural celebrations that are relevant to the communities of South Florida and provides a moment to recognize the important stories and cultural expressions of our diverse communities," says Marie Vickles, senior director of education at PAMM.

"As a cultural institution that sits at the crossroads of the Americas, it is our responsibility to educate and entertain by sharing representations of the milieu of cultures that make up Miami," Sirmans adds.

This is not the first time PAMM has showcased Haitian art and culture during Haitian Heritage Month. "We've been facilitating dedicated Haitian Heritage Month programming for over four years now with ongoing Haitian-focused programs and exhibitions since we've been in existence as a museum," Vickles explains.

The event will take place on the museum's waterfront terrace, and there will be various activities for visitors to enjoy, according to the organizers.
click to enlarge
PAMM's Free Second Saturday on May 13 will focus on Haitian culture.
Pérez Art Museum Miami photo
From 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., visitors can participate in art-making activities on the museum's east portico. PAMM's teaching artists will carefully craft an art activity referencing the works and exhibitions on view.

During the event, attendees can listen to Haitian music played by DJ Graematter. Additionally, remarks will be given by leaders from the Haitian community as well as PAMM's director. Following the remarks, there will be a performance by Tradisyon Lakou Lakay (TLL), a Haitian folk music band.

"As a Haitian artist [and] a culture ambassador, performances like this mean a lot to me personally as well as to the organization's mission," says Weiselande "Yanui" César, a dancer and choreographer and founding executive director of TLL.

"We want to come to a time when Haitian dance, specifically folkloric dance, finds its place in non-conventional spaces," she adds.

On May 4, PAMM kicked off Haitian Heritage Month with a live set by DJ Gardy Girault featuring his distinctive merging of Afro-Haitian rara rhythms and electronic house music that he calls "rara tech." The evening also included dance performances by TLL, a flag display sharing the history of the Haitian flag, and Haitian-inspired food and drinks.

– Jonel Juste,

PAMM Free Second Saturdays: Haitian Heritage Month. 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, May 13, at Pérez Art Museum Miami, 1103 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; 305-375-3000; Admission is free.
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