Dance of the Whooping Cranes by N. C. Wyeth. Just one of many paintings on exhibit at History Miami through May 15.
I've been taking a Florida history class once a week since January with Dr. Paul George at Miami-Dade College. Only this week did we begin to get into the 19th century, when Spain sold Florida to the United States for a cool $5 million in 1819. (Compare that to today's luxury real estate prices.)
Coincidentally, History Miami launched an art exhibit about two weeks ago highlighting the periods we're going to be studying for the rest of the course.
Reflections: Paintings of Florida 1865-1965 displays 69 paintings from the collection of Cici and Hyatt Brown, collectors who are passionate about Florida art. The collection focuses on Florida's natural beauty and rural life before the post-World War II construction booms and is the largest private collection of its kind in the world today.
My favorite paintings were the one depicting natural landscapes -- the kind you might see today if you go off the beaten path into the forests, swamps, lakes and rivers of the state -- any place untouched by development. St. Augustine was also well represented with street and maritime scenes. Portraits of native Floridians and pioneering African-Americans hung among the depictions of the land.
What's important about this collection is that it captures the Florida School of Art and features many renown painters who lived in the state and were inspired by its culture and beauty. Today, it's so easy to get caught up in everything that's wrong about Florida and find no inspiration here. Exhibits like this put things into perspective, keeping track of the rich cultural history of the state.
The exhibit was organized by the Museum of Arts and Sciences, Daytona Beach and is on display until May 15. For more information, visit History Miami.
NOT A STUFFY MUSEUM
History Miami is one of my favorite local institutions and now they've made it even more cool and groovy with Wine Down Wednesday, which take place the first Wednesday of every month, 5 to 8 PM. So if you happen to go to Reflections on April 6 or May 4 from 5 to 8 PM, you'll get free admission, free parking, live music, $15 open wine bar with light snacks or $5 by the glass. Members and county employees get a complimentary glass. Surely, this has to be one of, if not the best, Miami cultural happy hours.
For more details and to rsvp, call 305-375-1614.