Miami Dade College’s Museum of Art + Design Presents the inaugural Exhibition at the new Cultural Legacy Gallery, Cuba Out of Cuba: Through the Lens of Alexis Rodriguez-Duarte in Collaboration with Tico Torres MOAD - Cuban Diaspora Celia L Credit: Alexis Rodriguez-Duarte in collaboration with Tico Torres Miami, July 28, 2014 - The Museum of Art + Design (MOAD) at Miami Dade College (MDC) presents Cuba Out of Cuba: Through the Lens of Alexis Rodriguez-Duarte in Collaboration with Tico Torres. The inaugural exhibition will open to the public at 6 p.m. Friday, September 19, at the new Cultural Legacy Gallery, a permanent space dedicated to the impact of Cuban culture on South Florida and throughout the world, housed at the National Historic Landmark Freedom Tower at Miami Dade College in Downtown Miami. Cuba Out of Cuba: Through the lens of Alexis Rodriguez-Duarte in collaboration with Tico Torres features what have become iconic photographs of Cuban figures living outside the island, among them performers, composers, designers, writers and artists. The Cuba Out of Cuba series was shot over the last twenty years in Miami, New York, London, Paris, Florence, Venice and Los Angeles. The exhibition will take a unique and historical approach in surveying the legacies of individuals such as Celia Cruz, Bebo Valdez, Gloria Estefan, Cristina Saralegui, Andy Garcia, Cundo Bermudez, Nilo Cruz, and Paquito d’Rivera, among other Cubans who have influenced the greater culture of their time. Alexis Rodríguez-Duarte was born in Havana, Cuba. In 1968 he and his parents were among Cuban exiles who left the Island aboard the humanitarian air lifts called the Freedom Flights. Once arriving to Miami, his family and many thousands of other Cuban exiles came through the doors of the Freedom Tower that served as a processing and assistance center for the exile community. For many, the tower provided nothing less than their freedom from Castro and the hardships Cuba had come to give them, rightly earning its name of the Freedom Tower. Rodriguez–Duarte’s family settled in Miami’s Little Havana community. At the age of 10, he was given his first camera by his grandfather, which led to his love affair with photography. Today, he is a New York and Miami-based internationally renowned photographer whose work has appeared in The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Town & Country, and Harper’s Bazaar, among other major publications, and has exhibited his work at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C., Museum of the City of New York, The Victoria and Albert Museum in London and The Bass Museum of Art in Miami Beach among others. Rodriguez-Duarte and his husband of 31 years, Tico Torres, have been documenting the Cuban diaspora since 1993. Torres, a photo stylist who is a master of the mise-en-scene, helped create with Rodriguez-Duarte the joyous image of Celia Cruz standing amid the towering palms of Fairchild Tropical Garden in a traditional ruffled Cuban gown. He was also there to set the mood in the London flat of Guillermo Cabrera Infante, one of Cuba’s most famous authors. Torres and his family were also among Cuban exiles who settled in Miami’s Hialeah community. Rodriguez-Duarte and Torres are thrilled to be returning together, full circle to the historic Freedom Tower for this inaugural exhibit, after separately setting foot there as immigrant children so many years before. The inaugural exhibition kicks off the Museum’s fall season scheduled for Friday, September 19, 2014 from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. in conjunction with SIDE BY SIDE: MDCULTURE STANDS AS ONE, a one night event held at the College’s historic Freedom Tower, featuring performances, exhibitions, film screenings, the public unveiling of 2014 Book Fair Poster, and the long awaited Cuban Exile Experience at the Freedom Tower. Cuba Out of Cuba: Through the Lens of Alexis Rodriguez-Duarte in Collaboration with Tico Torres will remain on display at the museum through August 30, 2015. All exhibitions are free and open to the public. MDC’s Freedom Tower was operated by the U.S. Government as a reception center for Cuban refugees from 1962 to 1974. “The building is significant because it represents the important story of the Cuban exodus to America and resettlement during the Cold War,” reports the U.S. Department of the Interior, which has also called the Freedom Tower the “Ellis Island of the South.” Though it operated in that capacity for only 12 years, the building has become an icon representing the faith that democracy brought to troubled lives, the generosity of the American people and a hopeful beginning that assured thousands a new life in a new land. WHAT: Cuba Out of Cuba: Through the Lens of Alexis Rodriguez-Duarte in Collaboration with Tico Torres WHEN: Friday, September 19 –Opening Reception from 6 – 9 p.m. September 19, 2014 – August 30, 2015 Museum Hours: Wednesday – Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. WHERE: MDC Museum of Art + Design Cultural Legacy Gallery The Freedom Tower at MDC, First Floor 600 Biscayne Blvd. About MDC Museum of Art + Design MDC Museum of Art + Design (MOAD) is Miami Dade College’s flagship institution dedicated to the presentation and exhibition of visual art and design, housed at the National Historic Landmark Freedom Tower at Miami Dade College in Downtown Miami. The mission of the Museum is to promote the appreciation and understanding of art and its role in society through direct engagement with original works of art from within the College’s extensive permanent collection and temporary exhibitions. Furthermore, the Museum presents year-round lectures, symposiums and art related events to expose, educate and engage the greater public through related creative processes. The MDC Museum of Art + Design provides its patrons and visitors access to unique cultural, historical and educational exhibitions that enrich the greater community while building and preserving an expansive permanent art collection. Miami Dade College has been collecting art since the 1960s. Over the years, the collection has grown contain more than 1,600 works in all mediums and genres, specifically within the movements of minimalism, pop art of the ’60s and ’70s, conceptual art and contemporary Latin American art. The College and Museum actively acquire works by emerging and under-recognized artists, as well as major figures in modern, post-modern and contemporary art. About The Cuban Exile Experience & Cultural Legacy Gallery The Cuban Exile Experience & Cultural Legacy Gallery is a historical division of the MDC Museum of Art + Design. In addition to visual arts, the Museum supports exhibitions and programs that collect, preserve, research and interpret stories and artifacts that help build a better community understanding and appreciation of the Freedom Tower’s history. For more information about the exhibition, events or VIP Opening Reception at MDC Museum of Art + Design, please contact the Museum at 305-237-7722 or Event contacts: Juan Mendieta, 305-237-7611,, MDC communications director Tere Estorino Florin, 305-237-3949,, MDC media relations director Roxana Romero, 305-237-3366,, media specialist Sue Arrowsmith, 305-237-3710,, media specialist Alejandro Rios, 305-237-7482,

José E. March Naon

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José E.'s Story

I arrived in Miami on February 22,1962. Friends of my parents (Graciela Ponce and her family) picked me up from the airport and took me to their home for the night. The next day they put me on a flight to Norfolk Va to be reunited with my aunt and uncle who had left Cuba in 1961. I lived with them in Virginia and then Maryland until March 1966 when my parents arrived.

And today 50 years later February 22,2012 the rest of the story.

My parents woke me up at 4am on February 22,1962 and told me that today I was heading to the USA. I remember getting dressed in the suit that they had bought in Fin De Siglo a few months back. I had breakfast, cafe con leche y pan. A few minutes later my Uncle Carlos came to the door. It turns out they had arranged for him and my father to drive to Jose Marti airport. My mom was to distraut to see me off so I still can remember kissing her and my nanny Irene before heading out the door. My dad bought a thermos full of cafe con leche for the ride to the airport.

When we arrived at the airport around 7 am.I kissed my Dad and my Uncle good bye and heading to the Pecera. I could see them through that thick glass but could not hear them. I was excited to go as all my friends had left before me. I stayed in the Pecera for about 3 or 4 hours before they called my name to check my luggage. I had a pair of slippers, 3 underwears, 3 t shirt,3 polo shirts and 3 pairs of socks. It was a huge suit case to just be carrying that.

I remember the plane taxing and and as it was leaving the terminal I could see my father (holding the thermos bottle) and my uncle waving goodbye, at that moment I started to cry and the gentlemen next to me just said "it would be ok".

We landed in Miami, we walked down the stairs of the plane on to the tarmac and into the building. A lady was standing by the entrance calling my name Jose March, Jose March. I responded and she took me through what I figure today was customs, took me out of the area were two strangers I had never seen in my life were waiting for me. It was Graciela Ponce and her husband- friends of my parents.

They took me to their home for the day, had lunch. Still remember Hot Dogs with Ketchup.

Had not seen a HOTDOG or Ketchup in over a year.

The next morning they fed me breakfast, another treat- Kellogs Cornflakes.

We headed to the airport as I had an 8 hour flight to Norfolk Va to meet my Aunt and Uncle who had left Cuba a year earlier.

It was a long flight but I remember sitting in the first seats and I could watch the pilots in the cockpit. At one point in the flight they invited me to see them fly. They kept talking to me but I did not understand one word of what they were saying. I could only say Yes, No, Chiclets. The stewardess loaded me up with Chiclets another favorite of years past. We made various stops along the way and during the day it was fun looking out the window but then night time fell and I could only see some lights. By 8pm we had not landed and the stewardess said in English something about Washington DC. Turns out that Norfolk was fogged in so the plane was diverted to DC.

When I got off the plane a lady calling my name took me to a bus (Trailways Type Bus) and sat me on the first sit next to the driver. Next to me sat a man in an US Army Uniform. He told the lady that he would make sure I would get to Norfolk. The trip seemed like it took for ever, we made a stop in a rest area with a restaurant and the Army guy pointed to the menu on the wall and gesture for me to order something. I could only read Sundaes, Vanilla, Chocolate, Strawberry. Guess what I had, another favorite. It was freezing outside and the asked me if I was chilly as I was shivering so he gave me his coat. Here I was in 20 degree weather with a suit made in Cuba.

We finally arrived at Norfolk airport at 1am and I ran to my aunt and uncle. My uncle until he died loved to tell the story as how he was going to take my suitcase from me and I said "dont bother there is nothing in it but 3..... as I swong it over my head".

We headed to the airport motel were my two cousins were sleeping.

The next morning we headed VPI (VA TECH) in Blacksburg Va to see my other cousin for the weekend.

We arrived in Nassawadox Va that Sunday and the next morning I experienced my first day in 4th Grade not knowing the language.

Later.... the rest of the story.

I hope I did not bore you with such long story but this is the first time in 50 years that I have written it down.

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José E. says: Tenemos PP que fueron al colegio Columbus School en el Vedado? Por favor mandame un mensaje. Gracias

Status update | Mar 23rd 2014

José E. says: Happy 51 Anniversary to all my fellow brothers and sisters who arrived today February 22, 1962. Thanks to our parents for their sacrifice.

Status update | Feb 22nd 2013

José E. says: Happy Thanksgiving to all my PP family. After 50 years we are very blessed to have the freedom that no one but us understands.

Status update | Nov 22nd 2012

José E. says: Does anyone remember a summer camp for boys run by a professor from La Salle (professor Hernandez) that was called "Green Great Camp".

Status update | Aug 14th 2012

Hello José! The Miami Herald had a booth at Cuba Nostalgia this year as in every year since this Pedro Pan Network was launched. Pedro Pan volunteer Eloisa Echazabal was there answering Pedro Pan questions about this network. We plan to be there again next year, Dios mediante!

Message by Pedro Pan Administrator | Jun 3rd 2012

José E. says: I went to Cuba Nostalgia 2012 this past May. I was hoping to see a OPP booth but did not see one. I was disappointed but understand.

Status update | Jun 2nd 2012

José E. has updated their profile.

Status update | Feb 23rd 2012

José E. has updated their profile.

Status update | Feb 22nd 2012

José E. says: Febrero 22,1962 Hoy Hace 50 Anos que lleque a Los Estados Unidos. Felicidades a todos que llegaron un dia como hoy hace 50 anos.

Status update | Feb 22nd 2012

José E. has updated their profile.

Status update | Dec 19th 2011

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