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Art in the Heart of Kendall

Written By Vanessa Reyes
November 8, 2022 at 5:56 PM

Opening Night at a recent art exhibition in Kendall. Courtesy MoCAA.

Art enthusiasts in Kendall have always had to drive to places like Wynwood or Miami Beach, to follow their passions, Now that is changing.

A new art museum has sprung up in Kendall without a single brick or stone being laid. Leonardo Rodriguez, the founder and president of the Kendall Art Cultural Center, is transitioning the center into the Museum of Contemporary Art of the Americas, a bonafide museum right in the heart of Kendall.

“There is a lot of weight that comes with the title of museum and it’s a way that we can get the state and local government to take an interest so that this place can continue to function the way it is, free for the community,” says Odette Lopez, director of MoCAA.

With the inauguration happening on Friday, November 11th at their current location, 12063 SW 131st ave., they are looking to eventually expand to a bigger location in Kendall.

Leonardo Rodriguez, the founder and president of the Kendall Art Cultural Center. Image courtesy MoCAA.

“(Rodriguez) has been collecting Cuban art since he was 17-years-old, so he has this huge collection,” says Lopez. “We have two very large collections. We have his paintings and sculptures which number by like 700 and we have the ceramics collection which is about 500 pieces in total and we’d like to exhibit more of them.”

The new museum offers various programs including the Women Artists in the Rodriguez Collection program which celebrates the innovative and creative work of women artists from the caribbean and latin america from different generations.

This program, which takes place in the month of March, is usually paired with a solo exhibition from an established artist. The most recent program was paired with Cuban artist, Gladys Triana in her solo exhibition, Gladys Triana in PERSPECTIVE.

Another is the SoFlo New Artists program which partners with graduating Master of Fine Arts seniors from local and statewide universities.

“We hold an exhibition for them so they complete their senior test with us. They get exhibition experience, curation experience, they see what it is like to set out a real show and they exhibit their work with their professor without having to pay a dime for it,” says Lopez. “It is just so satisfying to see their faces when it all comes together.”

About 70 percent of the artists that have been featured at the Kendall Art Center-turned-museum are local artists who have emigrated from Latin America and Cuba.

“A few are established artists and a lot of them live and work locally,” says Lopez. “(Rodriguez) has really opened his doors and provided all the materials and said ‘I want you to work and I will not charge you anything for the space, I’ll give you all the exposure you need and all (Rodriguez) asks for is that you give (him) one piece for (his) collection.”

With this new platform, Kendall is sure to become another go-to for art enthusiasts.

“Kendall is a place that, as of yet, has no real cultural presence, and Rodriguez and the museum hope to change that,” says Lopez.

The inauguration of MoCAA is open to the public and is family friendly.

What: Museum of Contemporary Art of the Americas Inauguration
Where: 12063 SW 131st str., Miami
When: 6-11 p.m., Friday, Nov. 11
Tickets: Free
Information: 305-778-7739 or www.mocaamericas.org

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