Nature, art and history greet visitors arriving at the Deering Estate.
Its 444 acres of land on the shores of Biscayne Bay are an environmental, historical and archaeological preserve paradise where fossils go back 50,000 years. From walks among butterflies in gardens filled with flowers and leafy trees, to canoeing and tours of its various historic houses, Deering Estate offers a host of options and a magical haven of peace for busy South Floridians.
The mansion at 16701 SW 72nd Ave. was the dream of industrial and art collector Charles Deering, the brother of James Deering — owner of Vizcaya Museum & Gardens — who made this his winter residence.
In memory of Deering’s passion for art, the place offers an Artists in Residence program that is open to the community. This is an “incubator” of ideas, experiences and collaboration opportunities for emerging and established artists working with different media and disciplines who have the opportunity to to interact with other artists, while developing their projects in one of the historic houses that comprise the so-called Artist Village.
“The best part is the peace of mind it brings me,” said Gerry Stecca, a Venezuelan artist who works out of the Carriage House and is creating a hybrid project of painting and sculpture. “As I start to drive over here, I am flooded calm and all the stress of the city gives way to time and an unlimited thinking, a dream which is what feeds my creativity.”
Stecca said the park, its employees and its visitors have also nurtured his artwork, which includes leaves and bark, conch shell and seeds. The sculptural installations portray nature and other creations depict imaginary figures.
For Nicole Hospital-Medina, a poet, writer, teacher, environmentalist, surfer and sailor, the Deering Estate serves as a natural oasis filled with history of early Florida settlers and high society. It’s that Florida essence that helps fuel her creativity.
“ My way of thinking changes instantly,” she said. “My imagination is painted green, blue and mango, and my work is expanding. While I write a poem or novel, as I’m writing now, the environment takes over my language, my mood, my imagination and my characters.”
For more information on the Artists in Residence program visit http://www.deeringestate.org/pages/Artist-In-Residence.aspx.