‘Good Miami Project’ exhibition at Arsht Center shines spotlight on 40 of Miami’s non-profits doing the good work
Portrait of a Guitars Over Guns participant, part of the “Good Miami Project” exhibition at the Arsht Center. Photo by Greg Clark.
Next time you enter either of the buildings at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, perhaps you’ll notice something different.
It’s almost impossible to miss the oversized photographs hanging in the lobby of both the Sanford Ziff Ballet Opera House and The Knight Concert Hall.
The four featured in the lobbies, as well as the other 56 photographs, were taken by Greg Clark, an environmental and social documentary photographer whose works in the “Good Miami Project” exhibition are an homage to the diversity and philanthropic spirit of Miami. The images will grace the buildings until June 2023.
Clark, who began his career as an architectural photographer, recalls Wynwood’s Bakehouse Art Complex as one of the first places he photographed in Miami. “Cathy Leff, director at the Bakehouse, was very supportive, they were one of the first,” said Clark.
His inspiration for this project was to create collaboration and also as a way to help the 40 featured non-profits tell their story, offering them the images to use as they wish in their marketing materials and any other way they choose.
“Many of the groups are indeed using them and have even used them in Congress. I think photography is an incredible way of communicating. I’m hoping to help organizations find people and help them tell their story,” he said.
He feels honored and humbled to have been allowed in people’s homes. The work he did with The Florida Immigrant Coalition, photographing a 10-year-old girl who testified in Congress helped him connect with their humanity. Although she’s not featured in the show, she along with all the other people in the photos that represent Miami’s diverse population in all its heartbreak, joy and glory, are embedded in his memory.
Clark used an old-school method for approaching the organizations. He cold called them, introducing himself as someone involved with the local non-profit Miami Waterkeeper and as a photographer. He received a 25-30% response from the groups he approached.
Once his photos started getting out in the community however, the referrals began flooding in, including from The Miami Foundation “and this is just one example of how this event grew.”
He eventually had 40 organizations onboard and in late October 2020 began shooting the images. He took at least 20-30,000 frames, oftentimes photographing the same subject three to five times. After every shoot, he whittled the photos down to the best ones, the ones in focus.
Once he was satisfied he had enough for each group, he showed them to the organizations. Next, he selected the ones for the show “to spotlight the diversity of the groups I was going to feature,” Clark said. “It was very hard as a photographer to curate this show because I formed a close bond with the organizations.”
Clark has presented a similar show at the Miami-Dade Main Library downtown which was then also featured at Lynn University.
The road to the Good Miami Project coming to the Arsht began when Karen Fryd, director at the South Florida Youth Foundation and on the Arsht board showed his works and exhibition to Aric Kurzman, director of Visual Arts and Jairo Ontiveros, vice president of Arts Education & Community Engagement at the Arsht Center.
Ontiveros said, “the project is part of our visual arts program which is spearheaded by Aric Kurzman on our team. Greg was introduced to us by our Board Member, Karen Fryd. Together, we brought it to life here at the Arsht Center.”
During the Arsht Center’s 15th anniversary season – post covid- Ontiveros met Greg as he volunteered to take some photographs of Quinceañeras at the Arsht Center.
“For that anniversary, we opened our halls for young people celebrating their quinces (a rite of passage for 15 year old girls) to come take their portraits here at the Arsht for free. Greg volunteered to take some of those photographs and I learned about the Good Miami Project and the other organizations he’d done photo shoots for in the community,” said Ontiveros.
It took several months for the pieces to be mounted on the Arsht Center walls and once completed, all 40 organizations represented were invited to attend the opening reception in March.
“At the reception we gathered to celebrate our very own community doing great work and uplift each other. This is key to the mission of the Arsht Center…the Arsht belongs to the community. We hope that from that evening more good work will come out of collaboration across the organizations represented in the Good Miami Project,” said Ontiveros.
Furthermore, the hope is that the work brings visibility for the organizations to patrons that attend our performances and also come and take the Arsht Center’s public tours which are offered every Monday and Saturday at noon.
“We gather people to participate and take in the performing arts so adding in the layer of having meaningful visual art work to our open spaces adds an extra layer of local representation,” said Ontiveros. “We hope patrons take the time to learn about the faces and people that are the subjects of the Greg’s photo exhibit and also about the organizations that are doing the good work in our own community and hopefully volunteer, support and get involved.”
Clark felt it important to be invited in by these organizations given the sensitive situations many of the people they support face. Also the reason he felt compelled to gift them the images. In his heart he feels they needed this as much as he did so ultimately a gift they gave to each other.
WHAT: Greg Clark “Good Miami Project” photography exhibition through June 2023
WHERE: Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami
COST: Free to view at performances and also through the Arsht Center’s free public tours on Mondays and Saturdays at noon
INFORMATION: 305-949-6722 Box Office; 786-468-2000 Administrative Offices
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