Give Miami Day is almost here. The annual fundraiser, scheduled for November 16, offers the best opportunity all year to help the local organizations, nonprofits, and charities that work to improve the quality of life for Miamians. Now that Election Day has come and gone, you have another way to change your community.
The arts and humanities sometimes take a back seat to organizations that deal with environmental issues, children's education, and refugee resettlement, but Give Miami Day's best-kept secret is that nonprofits often use the arts to advance those same causes. So New Times has compiled this list of organizations that fight the good fight, all while prioritizing arts and cultural programming.
1. AIRIE. Artists in Residence in Everglades (AIRIE) provides writers, visual artists, and musicians with monthlong residencies in the unique ecosystem of the Everglades to foster art inspired by the River of Grass. AIRIE recognizes that artists are often the most effective communicators of the importance of environmental preservation. The organization provides a furnished apartment with studio space for visiting artists, who donate their resulting artwork to AIRIE at the conclusion of the residency. Donate to AIRIE here.
2. Code/Art. In today's increasingly digitized world, too few women pursue degrees in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), particularly in computer science. Educating young women in computer science is one of the most effective ways to advance the parity of women in the future job market, and Code/Art is doing its part by teaching South Florida girls to code in a creative and artistic environment. The organization hosts coding workshops and competitions as well as an annual exhibition displaying code-based art created by girls in Grades 4 through 12. Donate to Code/Art here.
3. Borscht Corporation. The powers that be have tried to make filmmaking in South Florida damn near impossible, but Miami's cinematically inclined creators have forged on to transform the area into a respectable community for making movies. Borscht Corporation has taken productions from the streets of the Magic City to the theaters of Sundance without forgetting the palce where it all began. The Borscht Film Festival gives locals a peek into the weird world of Miami's experimental film scene, and Borscht's many accomplishments in a short period of time ensure the film community will continue to grow. Donate to Borscht Corporation here.
4. Arts for Learning. Over the past 15 years, Arts for Learning has partnered with Miami-Dade County Public Schools to provide arts education to more than 120,000 kids. Arts for Learning's reach even extends to children as young as 3 months old through the Baby ArtsPlay! after-school, Saturday, and summer programs. The ArtWorks program provides high-school students with internships in the visual and performing arts. The organization also offers professional development opportunities for teachers who wish to integrate the arts into daily classroom activities. Arts for Learning is pushing for a $10,000 goal on Give Miami Day to award two high-school students year-round paid internships. Donate to Arts for Learning here.
5. PAXy. The acronym stands for "Putting Art in the galaXy," but PAXy is staying in Miami for now. PAXy aims to connect locals to Miami's cultural arts in public spaces. The organization's events and exhibitions present work by artists in all mediums, ranging from sculpture to dance to musical performance to film and beyond. Its Wake Up Miami! performance series takes local talent to the Government Center Metrorail station during Monday-morning rush hour to lift the spirits of commuters returning to yet another workweek. Though PAXy won't be participating in the Give Miami Day bonus pools through the Miami Foundation, you can still support the mission to bring art into daily life. Donate to PAXy here.
6. O, Miami Poetry Festival. You're a poet and don't even know it. At least that's what O, Miami would have you believe during the annual monthlong celebration of all things poetry. O, Miami Poetry Festival began in 2011 with the mission of having everyone in Miami encounter at least one poem in April. Since then, organizers have published poetry on rooftops, beach sand, and even urinals. Make your contribution on Give Miami Day, and maybe even write them a poem while you're at it. Donate to O, Miami Poetry Festival here.
7. Olympia Theater. This downtown gem has been around for 90 years, and its walls have seen everything from the era of silent films when it opened in 1926 to Elvis' hip-shaking and Etta James' sublime vocals. Today the theater is home to the Moth's monthly StorySlam event as well as weekly jazz nights and concerts from artists such as Ben Folds, who will perform at the Olympia Sunday, November 12. The theater has faced repeated threats of closure during Miami's past budget shortfalls, but it continues to operate thanks to community support. The Olympia will not be eligible for bonus pools through the Miami Foundation on Give Miami Day, but it is always in need of support. Donate to the Olympia Theater here.
8. Miami Light Project. It takes a village to foster a thriving artistic community, particularly in a place as diverse and expansive as the Magic City. Miami Light Project has been working tirelessly since 1989 to create a community in which artists, dancers, musicians, and theater performers can collaborate, grow, and innovate. Miami Light Project opened the Light Box at Goldman Warehouse in Wynwood as a gathering space for the city's creatives and to provide an adequate space for rehearsal, workshops, and exhibitions. A contribution to this organization has the potential to reverberate throughout the local artistic community. Donate to Miami Light Project here.
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9. Vizcaya Museum & Gardens. If you're a local who has yet to visit Vizcaya, put it on your must-do list now. The national historic landmark has been a part of Miami's history for a century, and today it's a museum for fans of the visual arts, architecture, history, and nature. It also contains impressive gardens and even a forest. Unfortunately, the local landmark was heavily damaged during Hurricane Irma, and staff even put out an open call for volunteers to help clean up in exchange for free entrance passes. A Give Miami Day push would likely help tie up loose ends after Irma and aid with a restoration that was already in the works before the storm hit. Donate to Vizcaya here.
10. O Cinema. At a time when blockbuster Hollywood movies seem more homogenized than ever, mired in half-baked reboots and walls of fiery CG explosions, independent cinema should be valued for the creative breath of fresh air it provides to cinephiles. With locations in Wynwood, Miami Shores, and Miami Beach, O Cinema is the rare independent art house with widespread community reach. One good way to support the work of these organizations is to see films at local, independent theaters instead of their overpriced corporate counterparts, but you can also make a contribution on Give Miami Day. Donate to O Cinema here.