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A maestro's music brings art to life, and local artists discuss Miami Art Week

For Miami Art Week IPC ArtSpace is offering the Magnificent 7 Havana, Haiti Edition exhibit.
CW Griffing
Iris Photo collective
For Miami Art Week IPC ArtSpace is offering the Magnificent 7 Havana, Haiti Edition exhibit.

On this Thursday, Dec. 2, edition of Sundial:

A maestro's music brings art to life 

Miami Art Week is a lot more than just paint on canvas, or a banana taped to the wall. Music is also part of the experience.

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"I feel like it's almost like an equal balance between the great music and the great works of art that we're exhibiting," said Gerard Schwarz, the distinguished professor of music, conducting and orchestral studies at the Frost School of Music and the music director of the Frost Symphony Orchestra.

Schwarz is also the music director of the Palm Beach Symphony.

He's conducting a special concert this weekend, on Dec. 4, at the Adrienne Arsht Center.

The concert is the Frost Symphony Orchestra playing Mussorgsky's "Pictures At An Exhibition" in conjunction with a digital art show.

"We, in fact got three original works, that were painted specifically for this. So what one will see when you come to the Arsht Center on Saturday night is a great performance by the Frost Symphony Orchestra of this piece, and then projected behind the orchestra will be 50 works of art," said Schwarz. "Half of them from living artists from all over the world. And the other half from the great collection of the Lowe Art Museum."

He believes the pairing of the visual arts with the performing arts melds perfectly for South Florida and to represent Miami Art Week this year.

"You want the art to enhance the music, so you have to pick the right painting or the right sculpture or the right works of glass, said Schwarz. "And you have to have [it] correspond specifically to a moment in the music. And of course, we had that all worked out meticulously to the second."

A maestro's music brings art to life

Local artists on Miami Art Week

Art Basel Miami Beach officially kicked off Thursday. You may have noticed the traffic has gotten tighter as thousands of people have come to Miami to appreciate art, maybe buy some art, or at the least be seen with the movers and shakers in the art world.

Many of the satellite events are back as well. We’re taking a closer look at art in South Florida with a panel of local artists and curators.

Mikhaile Solomon is the founder and director of Prizm Art Fair.

Carl Juste is a Miami Herald photojournalist and founder of the Iris Photo Collective.

Troy Simmons is a sculptor at Troy Simmons Studio, located in Wynwood.

Here are some of their thoughts about Miami Art Week this year:

Below are excerpts from the conversation, which have been edited for length and clarity.

SOLOMON: The name is changing for folks. People don't even refer to Basel week as Basel week anymore, they refer it to Miami Art Week, which is poignant for us because what if Basel decided one day that they didn't want to come to Miami anymore? And then now what happens to Miami? Is us having this important art season contingent on Art Basel being here or are we laying a line in the sand and saying that art is integral to Miami with or without a larger art fair? Could this be sustainable beyond having large fairs come to Miami?

There's a number of local artists who are actually finally getting their due. It's really great to see that even institutions locally are starting to acknowledge the work of local artists. And I think that helps create the narrative around the importance that art brings to our local community.

JUSTE: An art ecosystem has to go beyond just Art Basel. It has to be 365 days a year, 24 hours a day and seven days a week. We need to sustain the artists so that the artist can pay his bills, can buy his materials, can continue to dream and continue to speak truth to power.

What's important is not only to have the ability to speak, but the ability to be heard. And I want people to understand that because you can't give me a voice, but you can lend me an ear. And I think this is where we have improved. I think that people are now listening to people who spent 30 years, 40 years here and been mining this community and trying to put forth a Miami that's inclusive. You know, we're not just about South Beach anymore, we’re Overtown, we’re Allapattah, we're the Upper East Side, we're Little Haiti, we're Opa-Locka, we're many things. And I think that is the miracle that has occurred.

SIMMONS: I think we're encroaching on the levels of Paris and some of the other big major cities hosting art conventions [like what’s] happening here in Miami.

You're speaking to someone who is self-taught. I didn't get any support from institutions. I'm originally from Texas, so moving to Miami was the lessons that I learned how to really, truly, hone in on my artistic expressions and thoughts. So I always give the praise back to Miami because it's such a a melting pot city and there's so many different cultures that are all intertwined with each other and those that are from Miami sometimes don't really pay attention or notice that or realize that.

But it's like the city is different than anything else I've experienced anywhere else in the United States. For new artists coming into this thing. I mean, it's really focusing on what's happening around you and really building up your career and really honing in on who you are as an artist. And I think Miami is an excellent light catalyst for that.

Local artists on Miami Art Week
"STILL I RISE" is by Tessa Alexander, who's from Trinidad & Tobago. For this piece, Alexander used watercolor and collage on paper.

Leslie Ovalle Atkinson is the former lead producer behind Sundial. As a multimedia producer, she also worked on visual and digital storytelling.
Caitie Muñoz, formerly Switalski, leads the WLRN Newsroom as Director of Daily News & Original Live Programming. Previously she reported on news and stories concerning quality of life in Broward County and its municipalities for WLRN News.