FIU Alumni Work at Prominent Cultural Institution Perez Art Museum Miami


The Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) opened to the public on Wednesday, December 4th, 2013. Once the Miami Art Museum, the newly designed facility at Museum Park overlooking Biscayne Bay is one of the city’s most prominent cultural institutions. The Pérez Art Museum Miami building – providing 200,000 square feet for exhibition space, an auditorium, dining, and leisure – was designed by internationally renowned and Pritzker Prize-winning architects Herzog & de Meruon. They are known for projects such as the Blue House in Oberwil, Switzerland, the Beijing National Stadium (also known as the Bird’s Nest), and 1111 Lincoln Road.

Since the opening of PAMM, the museum has hired many FIU alumni. Among them are:

Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM), Education:
Kerry Keeler (BFA ’89)
Aurora Molina (BFA ’07)
Mariela Pritikin (BA in Arts ’08; Minor in Art History)

Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM), Retail:
Michael Balbone (BFA ’02; Minor in Art History)
Kenny Jones (BFA ’12; Minor in Art History)
Nicole Espaillat (BA in Art History; ’12)

Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM), Visitor Services:
Jason Blyskal (BBA ’14)
Pamela Gonzalez (BA in Arts ’14; Minor in Art History)
Cristina Urdaneta (BBA in Marketing ’12; Certificate in Retail Marketing ’12)
Cassandia Bellevue (BA in Environmental Studies ’14)
Felipe Melendrez (BFA ’13; Minor in Art History)

Kerry Keeler (BFA ’89) and Mariela Pritikin (BA in Arts ’08; Minor in Art History)

Mariela Pritikin (BA in Arts ’08; Minor in Art History) expressed how her graduate school experience at Bankstreet College of Education and undergraduate work at FIU prepared her for her current position at PAMM as the Studio Programs Manager. “What always comes to mind [from my time at FIU] are the many, many discussions we had in class [at FIU], guided by our professor [Chair Jacek J. Kolasinski]. We really just sat down and dedicated the time to talking about some of the pieces we saw projected . . . and this really helped developed my visual thinking skills by dissecting some of the themes and processes of the work that we were exploring. That always stayed with me.”

Pritikin explains how she continues this experience even after graduation. “I think that’s something I’ll always remember, and something I try to contribute here when all our educators meet to discuss upcoming programming [at PAMM].”

Kerry Keeler (BFA ’89), PAMM’s Curator of Education for Outreach Programs, also has fond memories of her education at FIU. She mentioned the names of faculty that impacted her, such as Professor William Burke and Professor William Maguire.

Keeler also explained why it is important for her to work in a museum like PAMM, in a city like Miami. She said that during her employment at the Historical Museum of South Florida, “job offers came from New York, and [she] turned them down.” She said that, at the time, “the momentum was starting [in Miami],” and that she wanted to be there to experience it.

“I was working at the Historical Museum,” she said, “when the Miami Art Museum became a collecting institution and started an education department . . . I really wanted to stay here and be a part of this great Renaissance in this tropical, unusual place. I fell in love with Miami and fell in love with what was happening here.”

Keeler said that one of her goals for her professional career at PAMM is to teach “art disguised as fun.” At PAMM, she emphasizes “education that takes art into the social issues realm, political issues realm, global issues realm” and that turns “the personal into the global.” Her ultimate goal is to allow the people of Miami to feel that the cultural institution of PAMM is their own.

The FIU Art + Art History Department and the FIU College of Architecture + The Arts is proud to have its alumni working at such a prominent institution, a sophisticated artistic and educational hub that serves as an important feature of both Miami-Dade County and the art world beyond the county limits.

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