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Trunk Show this Friday at LVS Salon, South Miami

Hope you can stop by for my Cortese Design Bags Trunk Show at LVS Salon, 5838 SW 73rd Street, South Miami. It’s this Friday, Sept. 24, 2010 from 9:30 am to 3 pm. I’ll be handing out gift cards – for a free matching clutch bag on select large casual tote bag orders, plus when you sign up (below) to receive my newsletter you are automatically entered to win the Bag of the Month Giveaway!

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Common Roots – in art and nature

Water Garden Bridge at Miami Beach Botanical Garden by Debra Cortese

Water Garden Bridge at Miami Beach Botanical Garden by Debra Cortese

Just a week to go until we hang the Common Roots art exhibition. I’ve worked on many art exhibits before, wearing a variety of hats – as artist, curator, gallerist, host and event coordinator. This has been one of the most enjoyable, cooperative events to date!
I officially met Carol Hoffman-Guzman, Founding Director of Arts At St Johns early this year during the annual Taste of the Garden event at Miami Beach Botanical Garden where we briefly chatted about art and an appreciation of plants. Carol mentioned a particular ongoing project she was working on called “Plants without Borders” and I said I’d be interested to learn more about this and the programs at Arts At St. Johns. Several conversations later, we discovered many areas of common interest concerning art and plants and then Carol invited me to co-curate what would become this “Common Roots” art exhibition. I was delighted because when it comes to plants – the beauty of flowers, leaves, trees; the use of plants for medicine, clothing, foods, building materials; the mythological stories, characteristics and creatures, cultural connections, recipes, gardening, the ‘energy’ of all of nature and how intrinsically our human lives are affected by our green allies, I am eternally fascinated! Plus, I knew this theme would attract many of Miami’s most talented artists and that we would be curating not only art but an exceptionally vibrant, multi-cultural story of the essence of our South Florida “Common Roots”.

Porterweed photo by Debra Cortese

Porterweed photo by Debra Cortese

As the process developed, Arts At St Johns invited artist, Winsome Bolt (Winsome Design) as co-curator and Steve Woodmansee as project scholar. We received over 90 art entries from 36 South Florida artists. Because we were jurying digital images and working on multiple platforms, we had a few software communication program challenges, but with a little help from our friends, we managed to review every artwork that was submitted and then processed them through several rounds of voting.

Lantana photo by Debra Cortese

Lantana photo by Debra Cortese

This is always a critical and sensitive part of the process. First there are the basic qualifications that were presented in the original call: The artwork must depict, refer to, or be constructed from native plants of the South Florida and circum-Carribean regions. Media: painting, photography, graphics, fiber art, sculpture and multi-media art. The artists were required to submit images in specific sizes and file types, along with id information and an entry fee.

Beauty Berries photo by Debra Cortese

Beauty Berries photo by Debra Cortese

In one case, the artist submitted images via email, but no id, contact information nor entry fee. This art was eliminated even though the art itself would have qualified. A few of the artworks did not meet the criteria of native plants, not even representational of plants nor with any accompanying information to substantiate the relevance as abstract representation of native plants. And, there were also space and size limitations that affected the final jury selections. That said, we are excited to present the curators selections of artworks from the following artists for the “Common Roots” exhibition:
Deborah M. Mitchell * Deborah Weed * Dee Clark * Elizabet Chacon * Evelyn Mitchell * Flex Maslan * Irene Sperber * John DeFaro * Linda Apriletti * Marian Wertalka  * Marilyn Valiente * Mark Diamond * Mary Catello * Miguel Paredes * Natasha Duwin * Nelson Viera * Patricia Roldan * Patti Black * Paula Turk * Perri Cox * Rosa Gallardo * Rosie Brown * Ruben Martinez Chamizo * Terry Arroyo Mulrooney plus artworks by the curators: Winsome Bolt, Carol Hoffman-Guzman and Debra Cortese

In addition to the art exhibition and evening reception, there will be two morning events with Steve Woodmansee. On Wednesday, October 7th from 10 am to noon, Steve will host a discussion about regional native plants, and on Saturday, October 10th, also from 10 am to noon, he will talk about coastal native plants.

Sweet Almond aolysiavirgata photo by Debra Cortese

Sweet Almond photo by Debra Cortese

The Exhibit Reception for ‘Common Roots’ is on Tuesday, October 6th from 7 to 9pm. Schnebly Redlands Winery is providing Avocado and Native Fruit Wines to accompany a variety of locally grown vegetable nibblers which will be donated by Claire Tomlin of The Market Company (hosts of the outstanding Green Markets all around South Florida).

The “Common Roots” Exhibit is located at Miami Beach Botanical Garden at 2000 Convention Center Drive on Miami Beach, Fl 33139 and it runs from Monday, October 5 through Saturday, October 10th
Miami Beach Botanical Garden hours are from 9 am to 5 pm.
Admission is FREE to art exhibition and to Miami Beach Botanical Garden.

For more information on Arts At St. Johns and its programs, visit their website:
Arts At St Johns

Native Plants for Your Neighborhood

Miami Beach Botanical Garden

Dade Community Foundation

Paredes Publishing

PK Graphics

The Market Company

City of Miami Beach Cultural Affairs

Miami-Dade County Cultural Affairs

Common Roots Art – Arts At St Johns album of artworks for this exhibit

Common Roots Event Invitation and Exhibition Details

Steve Woodmansee Plants Without Borders

Ghost Orchid Angel digital art by Debra Cortese

A personal note to the artists:
I would like to thank every artist that submitted work for this project including those whose work was not selected. It is important not to be discouraged and to continue to create new work, refine your style, expand your skills, pay close attention to details of the submission process and if you are not sure about something, don’t be afraid too ask for clarification.

Fairy habitat at Miami Beach Botanical Garden

UPDATE on Common Roots Exhibition:
Congratulations to all participants and thank you for everyone’s help with this event.

Special kudos to artist award winners:

Marilyn Valiente – Jurors Award

John DeFaro – Award by Fellow Artists

Paula Turk – Audience Award

Deborah Weed – Miami Beach Garden One-Peron Show Award

Gray Cat missing… possibly disoriented, suffers from seizures


MISSING Gray Cat needs special care

MISSING Gray Cat needs special care

Dual purpose post today. One of my rescue cats is missing and want to let everyone know of Pet Detectives and Miami-Dade Animal Services.

I have an ongoing, genetic predisposition to rescuing stray, injured, abandoned and particularily homely, unwanted animals. This runs in my family. Think my nephew and his wife are up to 13 cats, 2 or 3 dogs and that’s just what they admit to. 

About 2 months ago, gray kitty number 9 showed up at my patio door. He was downright boney, and seemed wobbly, but he had definitely been someone’s pet. Wobbled right in, waited to be petted, of course I fed him the best canned kitty food in the house. (we may run out of bread or milk, but never cat food!)

This was a curious situation, his wobbly-ness may have been because he had apparently just been neutered. Shaving and stitches were obvious, perhaps from a neuter-release program? But why was he so thin? Within a week, we observed that no. 9 was prone to epileptic seizures and had several large bluish bumps inside his ears. Quite frightening at first, but as soon as the shaking was over, he was ravenous and seemed to recover within minutes after the seizure.  

My teen daughter and her friends renamed him, Caesar (a play on seizure), but the more regal name was suited to him. He has a subdued and yet authoritative demeanor. The other kitties, all veterans of similar abandonment situations, hadn’t yet accepted him as one of the family, but they were beginning to tolerate his occassional swats as he established his place as top pillow holder in the living room. 

On Saturday, he was more restless than usual, going in and out dozens of times during the day. He wasn’t around to come in before I went to bed, but we have a cat door (a necessity!) so I wasn’t worried.

It’s been more than 35 hours that he’s missing now. I fear the worst. There are big, agressive dogs that sometimes run loose, a neighborhood fox that might prey on a weakened cat. I miss his big Yoda looking gray ears, his expressive eyes. He’d look right at me and stare until I acknowledged him and figured out whether he wanted a hug, or a treat, or for me to open the door. (Cats always prefer having their people open doors over using a cat door!) Maybe he even remembered where his former residence was and returned there, or perhaps… it was his time to cross the rainbow bridge. I’ll keep looking and calling for him every day and checking Pet Detective and other rescue sites for his picture or information.

Because of Caesar and another black kitty that was in very ill health, I’ve been working a bit with Miami-Dade Animal Services. They have a wonderful new program that a volunteer initiated called “Pet Detectives” and because of this program, many animals are being reunited with their humans. If you’ve lost or found an animal, visit their website and post information about the animal. The Pet Detectives will search all over Miami and beyond via the internet rescue sites and at the actual shelter of Animal Services. Describe the animal and share the info with Pet Detectives… you can save an animal’s life! 


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