September 2014, Volume 18, Number 3

Cultural Spotlight


An Ode to Freedom

For generations of South Floridians, the Freedom Tower at Miami Dade College is much more than a handsomely restored building. The “Ellis Island of the South” for thousands of Cuban immigrants who came in waves after Fidel Castro took power, it was the threshold to a new life in a land of promise and hope. This fall, MDC celebrates the Freedom Tower’s prominent role in the community’s development with the creation of the Cuban Exile Experience and the Cuban Diaspora Cultural Legacy Gallery, and, for the first time in the building’s history, the doors will be open for free public tours.

Monumental Importance

Since its completion in 1925, the Freedom Tower has had several roles, serving first as home of the now defunct Miami News, then as a Refugee Assistance Center in the ’60s and ’70s. Shuttered after the U.S. government closed the Center in 1974, the building changed hands for years. Now under MDC’s stewardship, the building has received National Historic Landmark designation and houses the College’s Cultural Affairs offices and the MDC Museum of Art + Design (MOAD).

Curated and presented in collaboration with the Miami Herald Media Company, which has covered the Cuban exile community for decades, The Exile Experience: Journey to Freedom brings to light the stories and artifacts of the people who passed through the Freedom Tower upon their arrival in the United States, a milestone in all of their lives. The exhibits also raise and address many questions surrounding the circumstances that drove Cuban refugees to risk their lives and venture forth to create new lives in a new land.

Double the Impact

Along with these new exhibits, MOAD is launching its new membership program, giving patrons the chance to support two institutions with a single membership.

“The Museum serves a dual role as a visual arts institution and as guardian of the history and impact of the Freedom Tower,” said Jeremy Mikolajczak, MOAD executive director and chief curator. “In addition to enjoying the numerous benefits of membership, member support is a gift to our community and aids in making the Freedom Tower one of the most accessible institutions in the area, a place where great art and important history are within reach for all.”

Fall Highlight

Among the great art that graces MOAD’s galleries is that of the illustrious faculty of MDC and New World School of the Arts. Running through Nov. 14, Work/Work showcases artwork that runs the gamut in an impressive range of media including drawing, painting, photography, printmaking, sculpture, ceramics, electronic media, installation and video.

For more information on MOAD exhibitions and membership, please visit or call 305-237-7700.

At the Galleries

The MDC Galleries of Art + Design are kicking the fall season into high gear with a barrage of new exhibitions. Here is a roundup of what art lovers can look forward to around town:

Centre Gallery 

Margarita Cano: Once Upon an Island

An lifelong contributor to Miami’s cultural scene, Margarita Cano recalls through her artworks a Cuba of times past with mysticism, romance and vital beauty. This exhibition offers a survey of her work, including paintings, artist’s books, video, and photos of her friends and colleagues.

West Gallery


Featuring works by Liliam Cuenca, Agustin Rojas, Noel Santiesteban and Maria Sonia Martin, Intaglio features printmaking techniques on metal including engraving, etching, dry point and mezzotint.

North Gallery

the past is more infinite than the future

Curated by renowned artist William Cordova, this project focuses on the transformation of organic/nonorganic evidence of our presence in the contemporary landscape through sculpture, drawing, print and film.

Kendall Gallery

Sweat II

Sweat II combines images by artists with words by writers. The Sweat broadsheets are an inaugural project of WAIL (Word and Image Lab), a community partnership that aims to create opportunities for collaboration between writing, visual and performing arts.

All gallery exhibitions are free and open to the public. For more information, visit

— MR

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Miami Dade College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate and baccalaureate degrees.
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