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Exhibitions at the Library

Art Services & Exhibitions Department

The Library System has a long history of cultural and educational exhibitions, and makes a special call to artists on a rolling basis for temporary exhibitions that correspond to selected annual themes and / or that highlight the library’s special collections and services.

Additionally, the Vasari Project is an archive that documents the development of the visual arts in Miami‑Dade County since 1945.

For more information about the art collection, exhibition programs or the Vasari archive, call 305‑375‑5599 or e‑mail

Current Exhibitions

How to Bury a Friend

Tilly Strauss ,fugitive bones, 2009, acrylic and collage on paper.

How to Bury a Friend
By Tilly Strauss

March 11 - August 12, 2016
Hispanic Branch

Starting with a phone call one autumn day, Strauss, an artist and mother, embarked on a journey dealing with the impending and then actual death of her close friend. Painting a painting every single day for six months, Strauss navigated her way through the spiritual grief, the heart‑rending loss, and the personal transformation that followed. For this show, Strauss has paired paintings with excerpts from her manuscript. Her story is both personal and universal.

Artist Talk and Art-making Workshop
Join artist Tilly Strauss in this transformative workshop exploring love, loss and the healing journey of time.
Saturday, May 21, 3‑5 p.m.
Hispanic Branch

Tilly Strauss recently relocated to Miami after living and working for more than two decades in Dutchess County, NY. Having been a painter her whole life, (she exhibited in her first show at age 5), Strauss loves teaching the joy as well as the history of painting to others. She currently teaches at a private high school and paints regularly at her studio, the Arthouse in the Falls warehouse district in Miami. Last January Strauss won first place in a plein aire event at the Deering Estate and had her work nominated by students to be part of “Teachers who Paint,” a juried exhibition at the Miami International University of Art and Design. She has won two separate month‑long residencies at the Vermont Studio Center and five of the works created there last summer were taken by a curator for exhibition at the Akin Natural History Museum in Pawling, NY last fall.

Retrospective Lining Retrospective Lining
Elysa D. Batista portrait by artist Nati Marconti.
"Retrospective Lining" – 2016
Elysa D. Batista

February 20 - August 20, 2016
Main Library, 2nd Floor

"Stories to unfold,
numerically aligned,
searching for the one"

“As a child, my mother would take my sister and me to our local library often. During the summer it was my second home, and its workers and attendees my family. From reading competitions to plays, the library was an enjoyable escape from the mundane and a large influence for my love of words."

’Retrospective Lining’ is an artwork that represents the closing and beginning of a lifelong chapter with the Miami‑Dade Public Library System. When the opportunity presented itself to display an artwork at the Main Library, I was honored and realized that it was there, surrounded by the sea of crisply printed pages, that my imagination was first allowed to run free.

“The anticipation of the unknown formation of letters, the hunt to seek and capture the book you sought, and getting a hold of that perfect story was, and still is, part of the excitement I experience when I enter the library and is a catalyst for this piece.”

Elysa D. Batista
Elysa D. Batista is a mixed media artist who works with language, specifically the multiplicity of meaning according to different contexts. Her three‑dimensional work explores personal experiences with power dynamics in relationships and communication and is interpreted through the use of semiotics.

Recent exhibitions include solo show Textual Undercurrents at O Cinema Wynwood, Miami (2015) and group shows include Drums on Paper: A Risograph Print Show at the Glasshouse in Brooklyn (2015) and Everything Must Go at ArtCenter/South Florida in Miami Beach (2015). She received an MFA from Parsons The New School for Design in NYC in 2013 and a BFA from the University of Miami in 2009.

Reconstruction Reconstruction
Curated by Bayunga Kialeuka

February 13 - July 30, 2016
Main Library, Auditorium Gallery

RECONSTRUCTION is a mixed media exhibition about the construction of I‑95, and how the right of government to expropriate private property for public use, played a role in reshaping the route’s surrounding communities in Miami and beyond. The theme explores the justification of the project’s “vital contribution,” and its effects on security, housing, economy, safety, national security and the billboard industry. The exhibition features works of local artists C.W. Griffith, Gustavo Oviedo, Tavare Hill, Bayunga Kialeuka and works from Miami‑Dade County Library Permanent Collection.

RECONSTRUCTION is curated by Bayunga Nsimba Kialeuka, a Congolese‑born painter and sculptor based in Miami, FL. He is a graduate of the New World School of the Arts, and currently operates the Amadlozi Gallery at the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center, in Liberty City Miami.

The Medium is the Message
The Medium is the Message
The tapestries of Raimundo Travieso

February 6 - June 4, 2016
West Dade Regional, 1st & 2nd Floor Exhibition Spaces

These tapestries are the realization of a long‑held dream. Raimundo Travieso considers himself a poet who writes in a universal language, the language of drawing. He has drawn most days of his life as a form of meditation and prayer. For many years, he has made prints from his drawings that have been exhibited widely. But it is only now, in his third age, that he has achieved what he has always considered the culmination of his art: woven tapestries of his drawings… for you to enjoy!

Raimundo Travieso was born in Havana, Cuba in 1946. He studied at the University of Puerto Rico and Harvard University. He lives in Miami, Florida since 1976. A teaching artist, for several years he has taught art to children and adolescents in various programs and schools.

"To Draw is to Love"
Drawing workshop for children of all ages by artist Raimundo Travieso
Saturday, May 7, 3 ‑ 5 p.m.
West Dade Regional

‘O, Write My Name’ American Portraits - Harlem Heroes

Zora Neale Horston, 1935, Carl Van Vechten

‘O, Write My Name’
American Portraits – Harlem Heroes
By Carl Van Vechten

February 1 - May 14, 2016
Main Library, Lobby

In celebration of Black History Month, the library is exhibiting this special selection of photographs from the Carl Van Vechten portfolio. Van Vechten was a writer, a critic and an accomplished photographer who was a patron of the Harlem Renaissance and the literary executor of Gertrude Stein. He counted Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston and many major figures of the Harlem Renaissance among his closest friends. These images are from a portfolio created by Eakins Press Foundation with the photographs of Carl Van Vechten, reproduced by Richard Benson in hand‑pulled gravures.

From the Miami-Dade Public Library System’s Permanent Art Collection

Pedestrians 1985 & 2015 – Street photography in downtown Miami

Liam Crotty, Freedom Tower, 2015, Chromogenic process, Type C print on Kodak Premier silver paper.

Pedestrians 1985 & 2015 – Street photography in downtown Miami

David Spitzer, Untitled, 1984 – jet images printed on Epson S041339 Ultra Premium Presentation paper.

Pedestrians 1985 & 2015 – Street photography in downtown Miami
Photography by Liam Crotty & David D. Spitzer
Curated by Liam Crotty & Oscar Fuentes

February 1 ‑ May 14, 2016
Main Library, 2nd Floor Exhibition Space

The inspiration for this street photography exhibit began 30 years ago when photographer David D. Spitzer created a unique body of work. Spitzer’s concept was to walk up and down Flagler Street – which is considered to be the commercial heart of old Miami – specifically between Biscayne Boulevard on the East and the County Court House on the West documenting people and street life along the way.

Fast forward thirty years.  Spitzer’s concept completely resonated with Miami street photographer Liam Crotty, who had the idea of recreating it – thus playing upon a theme Crotty had used in 2008, when he recreated some of Norman Rockwell’s work in his exhibit: “Finding Norman Rockwell’s Small Town America.”

With his current exhibit, Crotty’s goal is to portray Flagler Street by highlighting the differences that have occurred over 30 years: people, fashion, hair styles, automobiles, signage, businesses… some are the same but most have changed; Crotty uses his camera as a time machine, linking both past and future into timeless photography.

Opening Reception

Video courtesy of Manny Estrella

Coming Soon

Little People Playthings
Little People Playthings
By Pocket Of Lollipops

May 28 - October 29, 2016
Main Library, Lobby

Little People Playthings – Dolls have traditionally been used in magic and religious rituals around the world. Pocket of Lollipops will intervene with the MDPLS’ acquired ‘Doll Collection’ and explore their cultural heritage, with an art installation. Each doll has their distinctive style by region. For the library’s artist pop up studio program, multi‑disciplinary artists Maitejosune Urrechaga & Tony Kapel will relinquish childhood memories and compose new stories in this workshop and performance.

Pocket Of Lollipops is a posh‑punk South Florida outfit made up of husband and wife team Maitejosune Urrechaga & Tony Kapel. Pocket of Lollipops will swirl together in an indie rock frenzy leaving the listener with a dizzying organic sound that will take him or her to another dimension far in the past or future. Aside from their performances, these multi‑disciplinary artists create individual drawings, books and videos as well as installations.

Artist Talk with Maitejosune Urrechaga & Tony Kapel from Pocket Of Lollipops
Saturday, May 28, Noon - 3 p.m.

Main Library, Lobby

Writing workshop with Tony Kapel
This workshop will focus on character development by challenging your level of awareness. He will also discuss his short story based on found voodoo dolls.
Saturday, July 16, 3‑5 p.m.
Main Library, Lobby

Drawing workshop
Matejosune Urrechaga will lead a drawing workshop using the dolls as an avenue to excite the mind to making new works.
Saturday, August 6, 3‑5 p.m.
Main Library, Lobby

Performance by Pocket Of Lollipops
Costumes encouraged. Bats, Rats & Bunnies.
Saturday, October 29, 3‑5 p.m.
Main Library, Lobby

Zena Posever’s Studio: A Passion for People
Curated by Verna P. Curtis

May 30 - August 28
Main Library, 2nd Floor Exhibition Space

Zena Posever (1911–2012) pioneered as an artist and activist in South Florida from the mid‑1940s through the 1990s. Her distinctive contributions to the Dade County art and social scene are highlighted in this retrospective of her humanist sculpture and empathetic drawings.

For over fifty years in this area, Zena drew and sculpted portraits of distinguished South Floridians and many ordinary people who inspired her. She joined in civil rights and peace demonstrations and founded the organization “Artists Speak for Peace.”

Having moved to Miami Beach after graduating from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia as a sculpture fellow, Zena taught returning WWII soldiers, who were set up for convalescing in Miami Beach hotels by the American Red Cross, before establishing her own working and teaching studio on Normandy Isle. She educated eager audiences through the Miami‑Dade Public Library System with lecture demonstrations in portrait sculpture and taught community sculpture, ceramics, and drawing classes, including at Miami Dade College. As a member of the developing art community, she organized and participated in numerous local and state‑wide shows.

This exhibition features Zena’s sculpture and sketches showing humanistic themes, drawings of Miamians, public and private sculpture commissions, portraits of her heroes, civil rights and peace movement materials, and artifacts. Through this exhibition, learn more about this artist and her advocacy in our community before it became the fashionable art mecca we know today.