Art Basel

Miami Jewish Basel celebrates local artists young and old

Miami Jewish Health resident Bonnie Beauchamp, pictured on Dec. 4, 2017, is overcoming psoriatic arthritis, but still loves to paint.
Miami Jewish Health resident Bonnie Beauchamp, pictured on Dec. 4, 2017, is overcoming psoriatic arthritis, but still loves to paint. For the Miami Herald

Nestled along Northeast Second Avenue between the Design District and Little Haiti is Miami Jewish Health, a healthcare facility that has taken pride in its artsy up-and-coming location and has used it for the good of its residents.

Miami Jewish Health on Monday celebrated the Art Basel season, taking advantage of its prime location, by hosting its own rendition of the famous show, Miami Jewish Basel, in an effort to raise money for the facility’s art therapy program.

Rey Jaffet 2
‘Benevolence of the Beanstalk,’ a mural by artist Rey Jaffet outside Miami Jewish Health, 5200 NE Second Ave., in Miami. Photo provided to the Miami Herald

The show featured staff members and contemporary artists who have donated their works, each artist having a deep affiliation and affinity for the people and atmosphere that make up Miami Jewish Health. Graffiti artists including Enrique “Sero” Cruz and Rey Jaffet donated their work because they have a personal connection to not just the institution, but to the literal structure: their murals decorate the front buildings. Other Miami-based artists who participated have studios in Miami Jewish Health’s neighborhood.

The close-knit community that comes together to support MJBasel really evokes a tone of family and togetherness. Many staff members are ecstatic to sell and show their pieces, expressing how loving and warm the fellow artists in residence are.

“I love art and I go to Basel and many of the events,” said Dana Kulvin, Miami Jewish Health’s vice president of the Legal and Compliance department, who came up with the idea.

“When I saw the talent we had here, I said, ‘We gotta do something.’ We’re right in the middle of it all, then we got our murals painted and we truly became part of the art scene,” Kulvin said. “So, I just wanted to take the next step.”

Three years ago, Miami Jewish Health hosted its first MJBasel. Since then “it seems to keep growing and more people keep wanting to get involved,” Kulvin said.

The art show’s highlight: Displaying the works of Miami Jewish Health residents between the ages of 80 and 100, many who practice their craft despite suffering from an array of illnesses.

Resident Bonnie Beauchamp is overcoming psoriatic arthritis, but still loves to paint. She explains that the condition “cripples you.”

Beauchamp demonstrated how she must put the brush between her knuckles to paint because of her arthritis. “I can’t open and can’t close my hands, either one. So, I don’t draw anything because I can’t, so I paint,” she said.

Miami Jewish Health resident Rose Kove displays her art as part of the healthcare facility’s ‘Miami Jewish Basel’ event on Dec. 4, 2017.​ ISABELLA RAFKY For the Miami Herald

The show gave artists a chance to get exposure and acclaim they wouldn’t have otherwise, and also reconnect with proud family members.

Marcy Rosenbaum-Nierenberg, the daughter-in-law of Rose Kove, a resident and featured artist at Miami Jewish, said the best part about the exhibit is “the energy and the smile on her face.”

“She looks like the mother-in-law I met when I married my husband 30 years ago,” Rosenbaum-Nierenberg said. “That Rose is shining through her face as she is sitting here meeting new people and talking about her work. Everything that she has been through, the disabilities just disappear for a few moments and her eyes and her energy just glow and it’s great to see her that way.”