Calendar: Panel and Walking Tour: Omni Park

Event Description

Join us for a community discussion on the new and exciting green space in downtown Miami—Omni Park. Activist Rev. Houston R. Cypress, entrepreneur Brad Knoefler, artist Michael Loveland, Pete Osceola, Jr., Commissioner Ken Russell, and Omni CRA Executive Director Jason Walker will discuss how Omni Park came about and its importance for the downtown scene.

Before the discussion, enjoy a screening of Omni Park: Under Construction, a short film by Aaron Glickman, that tells the story of community leaders coming together to create more green space in downtown Miami by transforming seven acres of blighted land into a temporary park with the help of CRA funding. Immediately following the discussion join the panel for a walk and tour of Omni Park. 

The new Omni Park connects the Overtown and Bayfront neighborhoods and offers five city blocks of green space for recreation and social gathering to an urban core with few parks. Miami-based artist Michael Loveland's large-scale public sculptures entitled Better Use of Barrier: The Chain Link Chickee Project are the focal point of the new Omni Park and are sponsored by Pérez Art Museum Miami. During the two-year duration of this project, the public will have access to a lush park enhanced with the native plants and trees that were common to the area before it was developed.

Rev. Houston R. Cypress, also known by his Miccosukee name Yahalétke, is a poet, artist, environmental activist, and ordained minister. Through his organization, Love the Everglades Movement, Cypress has become a major force within Miccosukee society as an advocate for cultural preservation, environmental protection, business development, and sovereignty. Cypress also acts as a cultural ambassador, leading the way for meaningful exchange and connection between his society of clans and the outside world.

Aaron Glickman is a Miami native. After earning his degree in theatre from Florida State University, Glickman headed west to Los Angeles where he lived and worked for a decade. In 2006, he came home to launch Luxury Condo Living magazine–a print publication that covered the luxury condo lifestyle. As the impending real estate crash loomed, Glickman identified SocialMiami, a society portal with a highly targeted following, and became publisher after creating a business strategy designed to transform the platform into a glossy online magazine. Throughout his nine-year run as publisher, he developed partnerships and marketing strategies with many of Miami's most powerful brands, and created viral editorial strategies that highlighted the city's greatest influencers. Additionally, Glickman became more involved with his community, sitting on committees and raising funds for a variety of non-profit organizations spanning multiple points of interest. Glickman is currently a board member of Miami Theater Center and in 2015 was honored as a Miracle Maker by the Women's Committee of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Miami. His new media venture, Current.Miami, is a video-based digital media platform with an emphasis on storytelling.

Michael Loveland was born in 1973 in Miami, Florida, where he currently lives and works. He graduated from New World School of the Arts in Miami in 1991 and earned his Bachler's of Fine Arts degree (BFA) from the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore in 1994. He also studied and worked in New York for seven years before returning to Miami in 2001. Loveland's works has been exhibited in many galleries, art fairs and exhibitions threw out the United States and Europe. His work is also included in many private collections such as Marty Margulies collection Miami, Virgin Hotel Chicago collection as well the permanent collections of the Brooklyn Art Museum, Pérez Art Museum Miami and the Lowe Art Museum at the University of Miami.

Commissioner Ken Russell speaks English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Japanese, and has conducted business in over 40 countries. He is a former professional yo-yo player. He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a focus on International Marketing and a minor in Japanese. Currently, he resides in Coconut Grove, Florida, with his wife Juliana and their two children, Julia and Eva. When Russell is not enjoying time with them or working to make Miami better, he can usually be found making furniture and wood sculpture. Several of his pieces have been auctioned off to raise money for various charities.

Jason Walker started as the Executive Director of the Omni CRA in April of 2016. Walker worked as the Village Manager of the Village of El Portal for ten years, where he planned organized and oversaw the work of all Village departments. Prior to his work in El Portal, Walker worked as a Senior Staff and Policy Advisor to City of Miami District 2 Commissioner, Johnny Winton where he was responsible for the neighborhood oversight of Coconut Grove, Brickell, Omni CRA and the Overtown/Parkwest CRA.