How do you measure success in activist art? Join For Freedoms, Oolite Arts, and PAMM for a town hall discussion exploring this question with some of America's front line creative activists and thought leaders. Artists Zoë Buckman and Stuart Sheldon kick off the evening by sharing the evolution of their activist practices and personal benchmarks for success, specifically in relation to their billboard projects for the For Freedoms 50 State Initiative, the largest creative collaboration in US history. Buckman and Sheldon will then be joined by Chire Regans "VantaBlack", visual artist, mother, truth-teller, and activist; Marleine Bastien, social worker, founder and Executive Director of Family Action Network Movement (FANM); Kathryn Mikesell, co-founder of The Fountainhead Residency and Studios; and Dan Gelber, Mayor of Miami Beach. We hope you will join us and participate in this dynamic activation and exchange of ideas. This event is generously supported by Oolite Arts.
Select posters from the For Freedoms 50 State Initiative will be on view in the PAMM Vattikuti Learning Theatre with complimentary poster prints for guests to take home. Following the discussion join us on the terrace for music by (f)empower, art-making, drink specials, and continued conversation.
6-10pm | Music by (f)empower | East Portico
6-10pm | Happy Hour | East Portico
7-8:30pm | For Freedoms Town Hall | Auditorium
7-10pm | Made at PAMM Art-making | East Portico
Continue the discussion and community planning on Friday, November 8 at Sangam / Desert presented by Commissioner in collaboration with Annam Miami for a special evening inspired by this For Freedoms Town Hall. Purchase tickets to join us for an experiential five course plant-based meal that explores the issues of abundance and scarcity and the journey our food takes to reach our plates. During this eclectic evening, where ideas converge at the intersection of food, art and activism, Commissioner members are invited to volunteer to help serve and work in the kitchen. Special guest artist Cara Despain joins Annam Miami to create a space for discussion and future action around food, social justice and other pressing issues facing our society.
Marleine Bastien, a licensed clinical social worker and graduate of Miami-Dade Community College and Florida International University, is the founder and Executive Director of Family Action Network Movement (FANM) formerly known as Fanm Ayisyen Nan Miyami, Inc. (Haitian Women of Miami—FANM), a not for profit organization that has provided desperately needed assistance not only to Haitian women and their families, but to the community at large. Under Bastien's leadership, FANM has shown a unique ability to provide an array of social services while also organizing around issues such as immigration, housing, health access, education reform, gender equality, gentrification, climate justice and human rights. Bastien is the former Chair of the Florida Immigration coalition and Vice-Chair of the Haitian-American Grassroots Coalition. Over the course of 30 years, Bastien has worked on many important campaigns, including: The Haitian Immigration Refugee Fairness Act of 1998, Temporary Protected Status, The Dream Act, Comprehensive Immigration Reform, Living Wage and Human Rights Ordinance, and the Children's Trust (treasurer and spokesperson for the Black Community with Congresswoman Carrie Meek). She formed the Justice Coalition for the Haitian Children of Guantanamo and appeared on the Oprah Winfrey show to lend her expertise on a discussion of the devastating impact that prolonged the detention at Guantanamo had on Haitian children in 1995. She is a founding member of the Haitian-American Grassroots Coalition, the Haitian Neighborhood Center (Sant La), the Center for Haitian Studies, the Florida Immigrant Coalition, and many more community organizations. Bastien has dedicated herself to the betterment and benefit of others—in health, education, economic survival, social justice and equity. She consistently stands tall in the face of challenges and always seeks fairness for the common good of all communities.
Zoë Buckman (b. 1985 Hackney, East London) is a multi-disciplinary artist working in sculpture, installation, and photography, exploring themes of Feminism, mortality, and equality. Buckman's work has been shown in solo exhibitions including Heavy Rag, at Albertz Benda, New York, Let Her Rave at Gavlak Gallery Los Angeles, Imprison Her Soft Hand at Project for Empty Space, Newark; Every Curve at PAPILLION ART, Los Angeles; and Present Life at Garis & Hahn Gallery, New York. Buckman was a featured artist at Pulse Projects New York 2014 and Miami 2016, and was included in the curated Soundscape Park at Art Basel Miami Beach 2016. Public works include a mural, We Hold These Truths To Be Self-Evident, in collaboration with Natalie Frank which was first shown at the Ford Foundation Gallery of New York Live Arts in Chelsea in 2016, and then traveled to the Corcoran, Washington D.C. in 2018. In February 2018 Buckman unveiled her first major Public Sculpture presented by Art Production Fund on Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, a large-scale outdoor version of her neon sculpture Champ, which has been rotating on the strip for over a year. Buckman studied at the International Center of Photography (ICP), was awarded an Art Matters Grant in 2017, and lives and works in Brooklyn.
Dan Gelber, born on Miami Beach, was raised to believe in public service. His father, respected former Miami Beach Mayor Seymour Gelber, and his mother, Beach High foreign-language teacher Edith Gelber, were models of that service. Dan lived these principles through service as a federal prosecutor, handling public corruption prosecutions. He was later appointed as the Chief Counsel and Staff Director of the prestigious U.S. Senate's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations where he worked on counter-terrorism issues. Dan later served Miami Beach as a Florida State Representative and Senator, where he was unanimously elected by his colleagues to be their House Democratic Leader. In the legislature Dan was a leading voice on strengthening public schools and a relentless champion for LGBT rights. Today, Dan is considered to be one of Florida's most respected voices on Florida public policy. Dan has also always been devoted to helping his community. Dan joined the Big Brothers program and was matched to 6-year old Travis, who was Dan's Little Brother for 25+ years and is now a practicing dentist. When he was 26, Dan co-founded a camp for kids with cancer. Dan practices law with the firm of Gelber Schachter & Greenberg PA in Miami and is listed in Best Lawyers in America, and Chambers. Dan is married to Joan Silverstein, a career federal prosecutor, and they have three children and a dog named Buddy. Dan graduated from Tufts University magna cum laude and the University of Florida Law School where he was a national Truman Scholar.
Kathryn Mikesell is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of The Fountainhead Residency and Studios. Following a successful 25+ year career in technology, what began as a passion project in 2008 while working for IBM, has become an internationally recognized arts organization, to which she is now dedicated full time. The Fountainhead Residency is an artists' residency that brings over 30 national and international artists each year for one month to live and work in Miami. During their stay in Miami they're provided time and space to make work, experiment with new ideas and materials and gain inspiration from our city. The Fountainhead Studios provides Miami-based artists with affordable, flexible, and safe working studio space within a nurturing community. There are currently over 25 artists working in the Studios. Fountainhead also leads programming to educate and engage the South Florida artists community including MEET, a monthly dinner for artists; Financial Workshops; Artists to Artists, Inspiring artists to think outside the white box. In 2019 Fountainhead launched the inaugural edition of Artists Open the first ever Miami-Dade Countywide Open Studios where more than 300 artists open their studios for the public. Kathryn sits on the Board of Miami Dade Country Art in Public Places Trust. She has been featured on CBS, CNN, PBS, Telemundo, HGTV and in publications including Departures, Indulge, Ocean Drive, MIAMI, Wall Street Journal and others.
Chire Regans "VantaBlack" was born in Saint Louis, Missouri and relocated to Miami in the late 1980s. After graduating from Florida A&M University, she began to focus primarily on drawing from life and portraiture. The emergence of the Black Lives Matter movement pushed VantaBlack's art further towards Social Awareness and Change. In February of 2016, a number of young people became victims of an ongoing epidemic of gun violence in Miami-Dade County. VantaBlack started The Memorial Portrait Project. This series is composed of white colored pencil drawings on black paper. The minimizing of materials parallels the reduction of distraction from the overall message. It began with five 9" x 12" portraits and now includes over 100 portraits of victims, and their stories. VantaBlack serves on the Miami-Dade County Community Relations Board Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee. VantaBlack began at PAMM as a Teaching Artist facilitating the Art Detectives program.
Stuart Sheldon (b. 1963, Miami) is best known for his meticulous collage paintings and large-scale, immersive installations with themes exploring language, classic literature and social justice. His 2018 billboard, How Was School Today?, appeared on I-95 for two months as part of For Freedoms' 50 State Initiative. For this, Sheldon won a 2018 Ellies Creator Award from Oolite Arts, honoring "the backbone of Miami's visual arts community." The Los Angeles Times described his art practice as "urging people 'at a granular level' to start over, with less fear and more optimism." Sheldon's work has been featured at re:publica Berlin, Apollinaire Fine Arts London, MOCA, North Miami, Art Miami, SCOPE and Pinta. Commissions include the Braman family, Royal Caribbean Cruises and For Freedoms. Sheldon created and hosted the public television project, Meet Your Makers, in collaboration with PBS and The New Tropic; it aired at PAMM in 2017. As a 2018 ProjectArt artist-in-residence, he taught art to children in an underserved Miami public library. Sheldon co-founded Streaming Media Magazine in San Francisco and shares thoughts on art, humor and life in his Family Matters column for the Biscayne Times. He spent the past year with his wife and two young sons living in a remote seaside village in Costa Rica.
Founded in 2016 by artists Hank Willis Thomas and Eric Gottesman, For Freedoms is a platform for creative civic engagement, discourse, and direct action. Inspired by American artist Norman Rockwell's paintings of Franklin D. Roosevelt's Four Freedoms (1941)—freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear—For Freedoms' exhibitions, installations, and public programs use art to deepen public discussions on civic issues and core values, and to advocate for equality, dialogue, and civic participation. As a nexus between art, politics, commerce, and education, For Freedoms aims to inject anti-partisan, critical thinking that fine art requires into the political landscape through programming, exhibitions, and public artworks. In 2018, For Freedoms launched the 50 State Initiative: the largest creative collaboration in U.S. history.
Established in 1984, Oolite Arts advances the knowledge and practice of contemporary visual arts and culture. Oolite Arts creates opportunities for experimentation and encourages the critical exchange of ideas through residencies, exhibitions, public programs, education and outreach. Exhibitions and programs at Oolite Arts are made possible with the support of the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council; the Miami-Dade County Mayor and Board of County Commissioners; the Miami Beach Mayor and City Commissioners; the State of Florida, Florida Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs; the Florida Arts Council; the National Endowment for the Arts; and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. For more information, visit oolitearts.org.
(f)empower is an artist collective and community raising queer feminist consciousness in south florida. (f)empower uses art, earth healing, collective study spaces and the digital realm to inspire revolutionary sisterhood. it taps into a new generation of emerging artists living and creating online and provides spaces for them to collaborate, learn, unlearn, teach, showcase and play.
(f)empower aims to show that a city known for its superficiality and heteronormativity has been infiltrated by serious thought and talent by highlighting those who are shaping the way other femmes see themselves and the world.
(f)empower is driven by the need for love, community and safer spaces, and by the idea that the images we see and the culture we consume affect our perception.
(f)empower understands the need for female energy in a highly imbalanced world. it is focused on restoring the relationships between ourselves, each other and the earth we call home. it acknowledges that we are living in a world that was not made for people like us, in power dynamics that someone else created, and exists to counterimagine new realities and positive futures.
(f)empower works to challenge and combat systems of oppression such as heteropatriarchy, white supremacy, capitalism, and colonialism. we identify as a radical and intersectional organization fighting for the liberation of all.