Imagine Miami Summit on Arts, Culture & Civic Engagement

Miami, FL
Saturday, February 16, 2008
Imagine Miami
Imagine Miami Summit on Arts, Culture & Civic Engagement


Registration & Continental Breakfast

8:30 - 9:00 am

Have you ever imagined having fun with event registration? We're mixing in creativity from the very beginning. Use markers and stickers to decorate your nametags and signify your issues, groups or neighborhoods of interest (or the type of arts/culture you focus on). Throughout the Summit, we'll also have a paper mural and scrapbook where you can share your ideas, comments and questions.

Welcome & Creative Introductions
9:00 - 9:30 am

Imagine Miami director Corinna Moebius will welcome everyone and outline the goals of the Summit, Imagine Miami and IM's Creative Impact program. She'll also give a brief overview of the national arts/culture and civic engagement initiative Animating Democracy.

Popular local performance artist Octavio Campos will warm things up by helping participants meet each other in a fun way. He'll use innovative theater techniques to help get you thinking about how this topic connects to your own experiences and work.

Animating Democracy: The Power of Arts/Culture-Based Civic Engagement
9:30 - 10:30 am

Get inspired by discovering the power and role for arts and culture in civic engagement, and the range of possibilities. Barbara Shaffer-Bacon, co-director of the national Animating Democracy program of Americans for the Arts, will explore these questions:

  • What does arts-based civic engagement look like?
  • How have local and national community-based arts and culture groups addressed social and civic concerns?
    Examples: healing; community development; community building; activism/social justice.
  • What difference can arts/culture collaborations make?
    • broaden citizen voice and participation
    • create a welcoming space for disenfranchised groups to engage around civic issues
    • enhance public understanding of complex and often divisive issues, and
    • motivate people to make change.
  • Why step up?
    Barbara will use video excerpts to illustrate exemplary projects and introduce key concepts (civic engagement, civic dialogue) plus the opportunities and challenges of these collaborations. She'll incorporate a creative and interactive process to stimulate you into thinking about civic issues and the arts in your community, and opportunities for large-scale collaborations here in Miami-Dade.

Coffee & Conversation Break
10:30 - 10:45 am

Our Issues, Our Arts, Our Cultures: Animating Democracy in Miami-Dade
10:45 am - 12:15 pm

Choose from one of four concurrent sessions. Local arts/culture practitioners and community groups will share and discuss how they've collaborated on arts/culture-based civic engagement projects.

Session A > Connecting to Local Issues
Moderator: Maria Rodriguez (Florida Immigrant Advocacy Coalition)

Highlighted projects:

Project FLOW!
Presenter: Mike Rosenfeld, Youth Expressions
This youth arts and health education project was a collaboration between the urban arts teen group Youth Expressions, Baypoint School North, Pridelines (a program for LGBT youth), and the University of Miami's Green Family Health Initiative, Department of Pediatrics and Division of Adolescent Medicine. FLOW utilized peer education and training combined with open group dialogue and collaborative expressive art projects to communicate positive information to Miami-area teens. The program gave participants the tools to become peer advocates on HIV/AIDS, sexuality, self-esteem and drug/alcohol prevention. In a public performance, the teens used hip hop, spoken word and dance performances to educate and inspire the audience.

Bridging the Gap & Inside Out
Presenter: Leslie Neal, ArtSpring
ArtSpring's Bridging the Gap program educates female juvenile offenders on issues related to criminal mistakes made by female adult inmates who are serving long sentences. The program is compiling the writings of women inmates participating in the Inside Out program, so their voices can be shared in a published anthology and with girls participating in the Girls Advocacy Project (GAP) at Juvenile Detention Centers around Florida. The women inmates of Inside Out participate in expressive arts that help them to reflect on emotionally damaging issues and begin to understand the personal and social issues haunting many of them for years. By sharing their stories with girls in detention centers, they can help the girls reject unhealthy relationships, substance abuse and the temptation to become involved in future criminal activity. Any One of Us: Words from Prison: Miami shared writings by many Bridging the Gap and Inside Out participants, as well as incarcerated women from across the country, in a theater production directed by ArtSpring Artistic Director Leslie Neal.

Campaign for Fair Food: Activist Arts for Farmworker Rights
Presenter: Student/Farmworker Alliance & Coalition of Immokolee Workers
Student/Farmworker Alliance (SFA) is a national network of students and youth organizing with farmworkers to eliminate sweatshop conditions and modern-day slavery in the fields. SFA works in alliance with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), a membership-led organization of mostly Latino, Haitian, and Mayan Indian low-wage immigrant workers based in Southwest Florida. Learn how SFA and CIW incorporated arts into their Campaign for Fair Food and their success in getting McDonald’s and Yum Brands (the world’s largest restaurant corporation) to concede to their boycott’s demands.

Session B > Connecting to Place
Moderator: Nadine Patrice (Operation GreenLeaves)

Highlighted Projects:

Overtown in the Making
Presenter: Kerry Keeler, Miami Art Museum & Student TBA
Miami Art Museum’s successful summer outreach program MAM in the Neighborhood has served the community in unique ways for seven consecutive years -- meeting educational needs and supporting the creativity of Miami-Dade County youth. In summer 2002, MAM worked for six weeks with twenty high school students from Booker T. Washington High School. Students researched their neighborhood’s history and studied video, interview, and script-writing techniques to produce a 20-minute documentary entitled “Overtown in the Making”. The video premiered on February 23, 2003, at the historic Lyric Theater in the heart of Overtown to an enthusiastic response, later receiving awards from the Wolfson Film and Media Archives and the Miami Children’s Film Festival.

Garden and Art in Special Places

Presenter: Linda McGlathery and Claire Tomlin

Led by Arts at St. John’s, this project is designed to work with special populations -- people living in homeless shelters, transitional housing programs and shelters for victims of abuse. This is a follow-up program to our collaboration HEAL program that they did this summer with Rhythmic Rapture Inc, whereby dancers were placed in two shelters. ASJ will offer a workshop in late January to teach various volunteers, gardeners, and artists how to work with special populations, through training by experts in fields of psychology, horticultural therapy, and arts intervention. They believe that by creating interactions between the two groups (the challenged populations with the business/club professionals), through gardening, supportive relationships will emerge. They already have commitments from SafeSpace and Carrfour Transitional Housing Programs to place our volunteers in their sites, once the volunteers have been trained. This new program has been enthusiastically received by numerous well-known leaders in the Miami Beach community, such as Claire Tomlin, a Master Gardener and Founder of Miami Beach Botanical Garden Conservancy.

Osun's Village/African-Caribbean Cultural Arts Corridor
Presenter: Chief Nathanial Styles, Jr.
Chief Nathanial Styles, Jr.will describe projects in the newly designated Osun's Village and African/Caribbean Cultural Arts Corridor, the formal designation (HB-121) for a 43-block commercial corridor in Liberty City between NW 36th and NW 79th Street along NW 7th Avenue. The name Osun's Village was chosen for the initial targeted 6 block demo area between NW 54th and 60th Street along NW 7th Ave., due to the legend of the Yoruba goddess who holds significance in many cultures represented in this multicultural community. As the patron of the arts who loves beauty and prosperity, she was chosen as most appropriate theme to serve as the banner to unite Miami's African-based cultural communities. The commercial facades of the buildings and cultural programming within the corridor are being revitalized to reflect the bright colors and diversity that are represented in the many culturally specific banks, boutiques, restaurants and services offered within this rapidly changing community.

Session C > Connecting to People & Cultures
Moderator: Rosie Gordon-Wallace (Diaspora Vibes Arts)

Highlighted Projects:

Organic Hip-Hop Festival
Presenter: TBA
MacArthur South is an alternative school for students who are unsuccessful in the traditional classroom. Pupil’s Perceptions is MacArthur South’s art-based service-learning program that engages these students in creative learning experiences that are shared to fulfill the needs of the community. With rich activities such as Community Revitalization, Senior Support and Handicapped Youth Support, the community and students gain mutual benefits, while the program and student artists have received local and National recognition.

Libète ou Lanm (Liberty or Death)" (Sosyete Koukouy)
Presenters: Jan Mapou & Jacques Medard
Writer, translator, journalist, and playwright Jan Mapou, owner of Little Haiti bookstore and cultural center Libreri Mapou, wrote the play Libète ou Lanm to give the community an opportunity to learn its history. "Our ancestors have fought vehemently to give us a country to develop, but here we are, 200 years later, and we find ourselves in this situation. It means that we didn't learn from our ancestors." The plight of those ancestors is what makes up the central theme of Mapou's play, starting with the international slave trade that brought West Africans to the Americas. The storyline is also advanced by music and dance, with both traditional songs and others written by a local Haitian musician and author. Libète ou Lanm features a cast of 30, some of them trained actors, many others young Haitian-American amateurs.

Building Bridges: Healing Our Community
Presenters: Dena Stewart & Stewart Stewart, Center for Folk & Community Art
Building Bridges came about as a result of the "Elian Gonzalez" incident. This issue brought to the surface all the racial and ethnic tensions that had been bubbling below the surface for many decades. The Center for Folk and Community Arts met with activists and leaders of various racial, ethnic, and religious groups to identify some of the concerns within their communities. Priority issues included language barriers, as well as racial, ethnic, and economic disenfranchisement. In workshop sessions, participants were asked, "What is it like for you to live in Miami-Dade County? Have you ever had an experience with a member of another racial or ethnic group? How did this interaction make you feel? Do you feel like you are part of your community? Why? Why Not? What or who do you see as the cause of problems in your community? The participants were shown how to visualize these experiences, write them down, and then create images to go along with their narratives. These vivid pictures and descriptive stories form a mosaic-style movable mural that toured South Florida.

Session D > Connecting to Civic Voice
Moderator: Joanne Harvest Koren, Community Relations Board

Highlighted Projects:

Satire & the King Mango Strut Parade
Presenter: Antoinette Baldwin
This annual parade was created by residents of Coconut Grove who were denied entry into the Orange Bowl parade due to "unsuitable instruments" such as kazoos and conch shells. The spirit of the King Mango Strut is significantly tongue-in-cheek. Participants are willing to poke fun at anything and everything. Most of the parade consists of satire of events that have happened in the last year, from world events to state to local. Nothing is off-limits, and the boundaries of good taste are often pushed or broken in the name of irreverent comedy.

The Hunger Banquet
Presenters: Felipe Matos & Samia Taoloust
For this project, Miami-Dade residents were invited to a "free" Thanksgiving lunch, but only a handful ate turkey and the trimmings; a much larger group received only rice and beans and the majority of guests were served rice alone. Guests received cards with the true stories of people coping with hunger needs both locally and outside the U.S.; guests were asked to read these stories out loud. Guests learned what they can do locally and nationally to address the issue of hunger.

One-One-One: Imagine Miami Reborn: Miami's Unofficial 111th Surprise Birthday Party
Presenters: Octavio Campos & Ralph de la Portilla
On July 28, 2007, Camposition Artistic Director Octavio Campos, and Ralph de la Portilla hosted One-One-One: Imagine Miami Reborn, a raucously irreverent and uninhibited, birthday homage to the city of Miami, a city that has tormented and tantalized artists for over a century. The celebration included performances, visual art and installations that re-imagined the history of the metropolis on the occasion of its 111th birthday. A cutting-edge Who's Who of Miami's foremost artists took part.

Lunch, Networking & The ConnectionSpace
12:15 - 1:45 pm
Use your nametags to find and connect with others with shared interests. After lunch, there's time to visit vendors and sponsors, plus learn about projects in the ConnectionSpace. In the Space, view and experience videos of plays, performances and projects; exhibits and other examples of arts for social change including:

  • Video on Xavier Cortada's Reclamation Project (eco-art)
  • Documentary on Casa Valentina (stories of young women at Casa Valentina, put on film)
  • Video of Justin Koren's award-winning play, Defining Code Red (inspired by violence by and against children in Miami-Dade schools)
  • Online exhibits by, a local non-profit that produces exhibits of socially conscious photographic endeavors
  • The film "Purvis of Overtown," a documentary of a folk artist born in Liberty City and living in Overtown
  • "Overtown in the Making," a documentary filmed by youth from Overtown

Principles & Best Practices: Skill-Based Workshops
1:45 - 3:15 pm

Concurrent workshops:

For Artists: Developing Projects with Civic Impact
Led by Sandy Agustin, Consultant on Arts, Community Building & Arts-Based Civic Dialogue
How do you establish civic goals? How might choice of art inhibit or encourage civic engagement? How do you structure engagement opportunities around artistic process and product? What is success and who defines it? How do you gauge civic impacts?

About Sandy Agustín:
Sandy Agustín, Arts Consultant, is a performing artist and educator, who holds a degree in Dance Therapy from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She has extensive training in performing arts, and has taught creative movement and modern dance to everyone from high-risk pre-schoolers and developmentally disabled adults, to theater/dance majors and non-dancers. She has worked throughout the country as a consultant for the arts, community building and arts based civic dialogue as well as choreographer. She is currently the Executive Director for the National Association of Artists' Organizations and is also working on behalf of the Neighborhood House at the Paul and Sheila Wellstone Center in St.Paul as an arts consultant. She has received several awards including the Leadership Initiatives in Neighborhoods (LIN) grant awarded through the St. Paul Companies to study intergenerational creativity and most recently, the James P. Shannon Leadership Institute. Sandy continues to work with Mu Performing Arts, and SteppingStone Theater for Youth Development.

How to Work with Artists on Civic Projects
Led by Barbara Schaffer-Bacon, Co-Director, Animating Democracy, Americans for the Arts
How do you establish civic goals? How might choice of art inhibit or encourage civic engagement? How do find the right artist for your project? How to structure engagement opportunities? What is success and who defines it?  How do you gauge civic impacts?

About Barbara Schaffer-Bacon:
Barbara currently co-directs Animating Democracy, a program of Americans for the Arts, Institute for Community Development and the Arts, funded by the Ford Foundation. Launched in fall 1999, Animating Democracy's purpose is to foster artistic activity that encourages civic dialogue on important contemporary issues. Barbara has worked as a consultant since 1990, and prior to that she served as executive director of the Arts Extension Service at the University of Massachusetts where she was on staff for 13 years.

Her work with partner Pam Korza includes program design and evaluation for state and local arts agencies and private foundations nationally. Projects include strategic plans for the Heinz Endowment's Arts and Culture programs and the New York State Council on the Arts, a 20-year review of the North Carolina Arts Council's Grassroots Arts Program, and cultural plans for Northampton, MA, and Rapid City, SD.

Barbara has written, edited, and contributed to several publications, including the revised edition of Fundamentals of Local Arts Management and The Cultural Planning Work Kit, published by the Arts Extension Service. She is an arts management educator, serving as a primary instructor for the "Fundamentals and Advanced Management" seminars, guest lecturer for the New York University Graduate Program in Arts Management, and a senior faculty member for the Empire State Partnerships' Summer Institute in arts education.

A graduate of the University of Massachusetts, Barbara has served as a panelist and adviser for many state and national arts agencies. She is president of the Arts Extension Institute, Inc., a board member of the Fund for Women Artists, and chair of her local school committee.

The Art of Collaboration across Sectors
Led by Beth Boone, Miami Light Project (Invited)
How can you partner effectively? What strengths do you bring and what capacities and skills are needed by organizations to do this work effectively? What are the opportunities and challenges of doing and sustaining arts-based civic engagement programs?

About Beth Boone:
Beth Boone is Artistic and Executive Director of Miami Light Project. In 1994 Beth moved to Miami to become the Associate Director of Development for Florida Grand Opera. She then joined the Department of Cultural Affairs at Miami Dade Community College, Wolfson Campus, serving first as Deputy Director and then as Interim Director of the Department. She received her B.A. in Fine Arts from the College of Charleston in South Carolina and her M.F.A. in Theater from Brandeis University in Massachusetts.

Where's the Money? Funding & Sustaining Your Project
Led by TBD
How do you find funds to support arts/culture & civic engagement work? What are funders seeking? What are other ways to create revenue around a project? What are new opportunities for groups collaborating on arts/civic projects?

Coffee & Conversation Break
3:15 - 3:30 pm

Advancing the Soul of Miami: Next Steps
A World Cafe Dialogue Facilitated by Ana Christina Maldonado
3:30 - 5 pm
This session will use the World Café dialogue method for brainstorming of ideas and possibilities for future projects, large-scale collaborations, opportunities, local assets, etc. related to the topic of the Summit. Visit different tables (15 minutes at a time), with each table representing a different issue, area of Miami-Dade, target group, etc. At each table, brainstorm with others on ideas for arts/culture/civic collaborations related to the topic. In the closing half hour, we'll hear about the popular ideas that emerged at various tables, with time for additional Q&A. The results of this session will be posted online and used to develop workshops and future projects for Soul of Miami.

Moving Ahead
5:00 -5:30 pm

Local performing artist Lela Lombardo will draw forth your "aha" moments, learning and ideas for how to apply learning to work in your own communities.

Keep the conversation flowing at after-parties held at Wallflower Gallery and another location, TBD. After-parties may also feature some of our local performers/artists!


Contact Information

Payment Instructions

  • Registration Fee:
    $60 - Non-Members
    $45  - Imagine Miami (IM) members (save $15!)
    $25 - Students at Miami-Dade colleges, universities and high schools
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    Full scholarships are available! learn more
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    ONLINE registration deadline is February 15 at 3 pm. Space is limited, so register now!

John S. & James L. Knight FoundationMiami-Dade County Department of Cultural AffairsAnimating Democracy Miami Dade College Claridge Hotel

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