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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

Gourmet Green Market at Miami’s Legion Park

Upper East Side Green Market Biscayne Blvd

The Upper East Side Green Market at Biscayne Blvd and 66th Street is right on the bay at Legion Park in Miami. This is just one of “The Market Company” Green Markets around Miami and it is definitely one of my favorites! Fabulous produce, cut flowers, Estela’s Orchids, seafood, local honey, African shea butter products, Manuel Vives’ fresh roasted Columbian coffee beans direct from his property at Hacienda Manzanares, the most exotic and aromatic blends of herbs and spices, homemade ice cream, cookies, breads, Organic specialties (and catering), local restaurant specialties, hummus, sauces, James’ secret recipe BBQ, Anet’s Columbian Baked Goods, Italian specialties, (for breakfast I tried the mini taralle, split and layered with homemade mozzarella twist, garden fresh tomato, fresh basil and drizzled with balsamic vinegar and smooth, virgin olive oil – makes me hungry just writing this!). Don’t miss the doggie baked goods and unique, “Barkundy” bottled sauce for your favorite pooch from Annie’s Pooch Pops. Chiropractic alignments (see photo below of Dan with East Side Chiropractic checking spinal alignment on Fran Rollason, President of MiMo Biscayne Association) and massage therapists were there too!

Vendors and products vary a bit from week to week, but quality and variety is always more than you anticipate. Here are a few photos from last week. Too bad I can’t post the aroma and tastes as well! Be sure to say hello to Christian for me (he’s in the Honey photo). Chat with the vendors and fellow shoppers. Definitely one of the friendliest places in Miami. 

Green Market Estela's Orchids photo: Debra Cortese
Estela’s Orchids

Green Market Gourmet Garden photo: Debra Cortese

GreenMarket YUM photo: Debra CorteseGreenMarket Produce photo: Debra Cortese

GreenMarket Barkungy photo: Debra Cortese

GreenMarket regulars photo: Debra Cortese Leigh and Elcee, regular visitors to Green Market!

GreenMarket BBQ photo: Debra Cortese James BBQ – the best!

GreenMarket CookiesIC photo: Debra Cortese Homemade Ice Cream and Cookies – Try the Orange Ginger Cookies, YUM!

GreenMarket chiropractic photo: Debra Cortese Dan checks spinal alignment for Fran Rollason of MiMo Biscayne Association

GreenMarket Honey photo: Debra Cortese Bee sure to say hello to Christian 🙂

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