Through the Art of Community Grant from the Community Foundation of Broward, FIU Landscape Architecture is partnering with FIU Art & Art History and the City of Lauderhill YMCA to creatively address the safety and quality of life issues associated with a troubled Florida Turnpike overpass that currently divides the City of Lauderhill.
The overpass is used daily by many of the YMCA kids and members of the Lauderhill community and has been a safety issue over the years. Through a series of workshops and installations, Roberto Rovira and Jacek Kolasinski (respective chairs of FIU LA and FIU A&AH and co-principal investigators in the project) are engaging the City of Lauderhill community to identify key issues and assets that will help inform the final design. The project also involves graduate students Amanda Vargas-Love (LAA), Andrea Sandoval (LAA), and Nick Gilmore (A&AH).
“The installations and workshops help the community visualize its weekly routines and help us understand the patterns that they consider an important part of their day-to-day lives,” said Chair of Landscape Architecture, Roberto Rovira, regarding some of the benefits of the project. The”Building Connections | Building Bridges” installation involved community members in identifying key elements and trajectories that are meaningful in the lives of the community. The initiative sought to put together an art and design strategy for the overpass, in which the community physically traced their trajectories among important civic elements such as schools, civic destinations, parks and others.
During a follow-up Art of Community-City of Lauderhill YMCA visit to FIU, the co-investigators led the group in various tours of important FIU campus destinations that showcase the power of art and design. The group’s visit included touring the Frost Art Museum with Miriam Machado, Curator of Education, and discussing the newly transformed “Sky Lounge” space at DM, designed by Roberto Rovira. During their visit, the group got a chance to meet with one of the exhibiting artists at the Frost, Ebony Patterson, and discuss her work focusing on identity, before engaging in an afternoon exercise which helped discuss key community destinations which the students categorized as: favorite, needing work, and aspirational.
Through grants and workshops such as these, FIU LA and A&AH hope to continue to strengthen their connections with local schools, communities, and local institutions.