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top art school

Post #148 • November 11, 2003, 5:08 AM

These thoughts from developer and art patron Craig Robins, excerpted from an interview by Alfredo Triff for the Miami New Times, have been on my mind lately.

The beach and the clubs are fine, nothing wrong with that, but we are becoming a city of substance. I see Art Basel as this one event we can all rally around and produce something unique, for the art community … it’s an opportunity to come together and leave something behind, a lasting model. However, we shouldn’t become a victim of our own success. We need to learn and build something substantive on our own that confirms and surpasses Art Basel. In my opinion our challenge now is to come up with a top art school, one that truly represents a north/south dialogue, because of our privileged positioning. We can cater to the best in a short period of time. I don’t think we can really become unique for our museums, we can’t compete in that league, but we can have one of the top five schools in the country.

One has to think about the implications of an art school, what it means, especially a north/south art school where there’s a continuous flow of great visiting teachers; artists that will be coming to Miami to make art and helping the students attending the school. If it works, then great artists would continue to be developed here. If we could become a central meeting point and we could even improve and heighten the mix of people that are here … we could as a city have a bigger role in this international dialogue. What’s the important thing to do next? I think it’s [to nurture] the teaching aspect of Miami and work to elevate it.

We organized this meeting in Aspen, and invited people from around the country and around the world: artists, teachers, department heads, and architects. It was a small group. The purpose was to start to talk about this. The meeting was in preparation for a symposium that we are organizing. Donna Shalala [the president of the University of Miami] has agreed to chair it. The subject matter is the art school of the 21st century. The school could be part of the University of Miami or part of the museum system. It could be independent. In fact the school could be part of a university that is not in Florida. The objective now is to think through all the issues together and figure out what’s the way that is the most effective.

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