ProjectArt’s Miami chapter director Danielle Steele previews its latest exhibition with MoCA, Remember the Sky: Memory Landscapes, Real and Imagined.
Pangea Kali Virga, “We Watch the illusion with Unbearable Compassion” in the exhibition Remember the Sky: Memory Landscapes, Real and Imagined PHOTO COURTESY OF: THE ARTIST
Danielle Steele is the director of the Miami chapter of ProjectArt (projectart.org), a program providing children in under-resourced areas with free art teaching. Steele oversees classes at eight Miami-Dade public libraries, recently spearheading a skateboard workshop led by renowned British designer Yinka Ilori in collaboration with Miami Bridge Youth and Family Services and Superblue, as well as an artist residency program employing Miami artist-teachers. From June to Aug. 3, Steele teams up with Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami (MoCA,mocanomi.org) to showcase ProjectArt’s resident artists’ artwork. Miami Magazine speaks to Steele about creative learning, and what to expect from this annual exhibition.
Danielle Steele. PHOTO COURTESY OF: PROJECTART MIAMI
What impact has ProjectArt Miami had since its inception five years ago? ProjectArt’s unique model merges creativity with literacy by bringing art to the library. Our residency program employs artists to teach for a year and is the magic that pushes curriculum beyond typical art instruction in public schools. The energy that comes from practicing artists who are passionate about educating is a joy to see, and the students really look up to them. ProjectArt Miami is less about training future Picassos than holding a space week after week for kids to come back to. Art encourages the freedom to think critically and helps foster a sense of self for improved overall success. To date, we have served over 1,500 children with 45,000 hours of quality free art education!
Students at the Shenandoah library wearing the masks they created in class. PHOTO COURTESY OF: PROJECTART MIAMI
What is a personal ProjectArt project highlight? ProjectArt introduced a virtual learning platform during the pandemic for our students to have a continued art outlet. The surprising result is that family members participated by creating an artistic environment for their children at home. After two years, we transitioned 150 students back to in-person classes, and parents remained enthusiastic sharing photos of their children’s artwork.
Nicole Salgar, “Untitled,” in the exhibition Remember the Sky PHOTO COURTESY OF: THE ARTIST
ProjectArt’s resident artist exhibition Remember the Sky: Memory Landscapes, Real and Imagined at MoCA shows the work of Angela Bolaños, Nicole Combeau, Kerry Phillips, Laura Prada, Nicole Salgar, Tori Scott and Pangea Kali Virga. What can visitors expect? Remember the Sky is a nod to Mvskoke/Creek Nation poet laureate Joy Harjo’s poem ‘Remember,’ which expresses the importance of one’s history and relationship to all living things. This is the golden thread that connects these seven women artists’ artwork. Each has taken inspiration from the library and its collection of 6,000-plus art objects, their classes and experiences engaging with the community over the past nine months—some even collaborated with their students. The artists then created work in their signature styles and mediums, so the exhibition includes sculpture, installation, embroidery, painting, performance and photography. MoCA’s jazz night will also be happening—it’s going to be lovely!
Designer Yinka Ilori with teenagers at the Miami Bridge Youth and Family Services who participated in his skateboard design workshop PHOTO COURTESY OF: PROJECTART MIAMI AND SUPERBLUE
What future collaborations are in store for ProjectArt Miami? In 2017, ProjectArt Miami expanded thanks to funding from the Knight Arts Challenge. This year, we start a formal partnership with Superblue Miami and a joint residency program with the Institute of Contemporary Art Miami. This will give opportunities for one-off artist workshops, more intensive portfolio prep curriculums, field trips to museum and gallery spaces, and a deeper immersion into the art world.
Memory Landscapes, Real and Imagined; a student at the Shenandoah library sharing her drawing PHOTO COURTESY OF: PROJECTART MIAMI
Photography by: Photo Courtesy: ProjectArt Miami