Image Credit: Miami Science Museum Collection
In 1949, a group of women decided that kids in Dade County needed to have an enriching museum experience since none was really available. So the Junior League of Miami, a local chapter of the national women’s civic organization, set up in a member’s house off Biscayne and 26th street. They put a goat on the lawn, a beehive in the chimney, and gave tours to the kids that lined up on the sidewalk. Ipso facto, the Miami Science Museum was born.
These humble beginnings have given way to a maximalist vision for what the Museum will be. Relocating from its current site in the lush expanse across from Vizcaya, it will reopen downtown in 2015 as the Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science in “Museum Park,” which will also house the new Pérez Art Museum Miami. Not only will it be bigger, more centrally located, and built with sustainable architectural practices – it will also be a place where art can live.
Kevin Arrow is an artist who for the last fifteen years has held the position of Head Registrar and Exhibition Coordinator at MOCA North Miami where he also curated “Abstract Cinema and Technology,” “Miami Works,” and “Optic Nerve,” editions 1 through 3. Earlier this year Arrow was hired by the Miami Science Museum as Art and Collection Manager. His primary role, besides maintaining the 55,000+ objects that the Museum holds, is focused on initiating the public arts commission for the new building. The commission is meant to broaden the Museum’s scope to include contemporary art, in the recognition that art and science have shared a bed for millennia and that new paths are being blazed that fuse the two.
The work will be displayed outside the grand four-acre building, and will showcase what Arrow hopes to be a collection of local, national, and international artists. The only specifics for the proposals are that they embrace the overarching themes of the Museum, which are “People, Planet, and Prosperity.” The artists that plan to enter should feel free to interpret this theme “openly and broadly.”
Arrow, himself an artist who works fervently in the areas of collecting and the collector mentality, has already begun integrating arts programming at the Museum of Science. He recently held a screening of science fiction, astronomy, and experimental films all on the 16mm format, with accompanying live “musical interventions.” With more shows on the way, including an audio-visual timeline of Kraut Rock in the planetarium, his goal is to both push the Miami Science Museum closer to the burgeoning art scene, and to attract the crowds of said scene to the Museum.
During Art Basel on December 7 and 8, 2012, the Miami Science Museum will host an open house so that anyone can come in and get information on the commissioning process and details on the new building. It’ll be hosted at the Miami Beach Public Library, located at 2100 Collins Avenue, from 10AM to 5PM. You can also contact Arrow directly at karrow (at) miamisci (dot) org or visit http://www.miamisci.org/publicartcommissions/.
Image Credit: Grimshaw Architects.
This post was contributed by Rob Goyanes.