Vizcaya’s Contemporary Arts Program Brings Life Back to the Forgotten Spaces of the Vizcaya Village


Perched amongst the skyscrapers and modern architecture of Biscayne Bay, lies the Italian-Renaissance styled villa – Vizcaya Museums and Gardens; a historic landmark to the city of Miami and the United States. Once the home of industrial tycoon, John Deering, Vizcaya stands as a significant homage to the past and the Gilded Age.

This month, Vizcaya, celebrates 100 years since its completion on December 25, 1916. In honor to commemorate its centennial year, the museum along with the FIU Department of Art & Art History teamed up to host a one-night exhibition titled ‘Lost Village’, held at the Vizcaya Village, a forgotten space of the Deering estate.

This initiative, headed by FIU Prof. Robert Chambers, served as a way to preserve the rich history, architecture, and gardens of the museum. Over 35 local artists, including 22 FIU students and FIU faculty contributed to the exhibition held on December 5th.

“In our experience of working with artists, we find it really though-provoking to see how an artist’s work relates to or haves a dialogue with a historic space. It encourages both the students and practicing professionals to think about their practice or art work in different ways,” explained Joel Hoffman, Executive Director of the museum.

The partnership began back in 2014, when Vizcaya initiated the Contemporary Arts Program (CAP) Lab with FIU’s Department of Art + Art History. Enrollment in the program offers emerging student artists an opportunity to research and develop site-specific work inspired the museum. As well as, providing a new way for visitors to experience the grounds by creating an art dialogue between contemporary art and complex history of the estate.

“We have been collaborating with FIU on our CAP program for a couple of years now. My colleagues were working closely with Chair Jacek Kolasiński and we were very interested in keeping the program going and extending the opportunity for emerging contemporary artists and student artists display their work within our community,” said Hoffman.

Future plans for FIU and Vizcaya’s CAP Program is to continue offering students a unique and dynamic opportunity to contribute to the local art scene and the growing cultural impact of the city of Miami.

To read more about the CAP Program offered to FIU’s MFA candidates, please visit, CAP Lab: Emerging Artists in a Community Museum

Featured image credited to: MFA Candidate, Michael Gray

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