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Kids, artist create collage for North Miami police station

Seventeen students, aged 12 to 18, collaborated with a professional artist to create a three-dimensional work of art in the lobby of the North Miami police station.

Local artist Ruben Ubiera worked with students in the Museum of Contemporary Art’s Summer Studio program to create the artwork. The piece was designed as a life size collage titled “Your Police and Your Community.”

“The piece is meant to be show the connection between everyone in the community,” said Juan Pablo Sierra, a student in Summer Studio. “It represents a friendship.”

To create the collage, Ubiera worked with the students during half of their two-week summer program at the studio. Students continued to help Ubiera work on the piece even after their classes with him were done.

“It was a very humbling experience to bring together all these different backgrounds,” Ubiera said. “They were all willing to go the extra mile to make this happen.”

Ubiera said the project allowed him to use the talents of each student. Each student had a different role in creating the installation.

Leslie McCoy, a junior at North Miami Senior High, was in charge of the details and painting.

“We all had to collaborate and make sure that we were showing the community an accurate picture of what police officers are for the youth,” McCoy said.

The installation is made up of a collage in the background with articles on positive events. The foreground has archived pictures from the police department. The focal points in the piece are the life-size plywood cut-outs of officers and children.

“Our mission is to see how we can bridge the gap between the police and our youth,” said Chief Marc Elias Jr., one of the officers portrayed in the piece.

In an effort to reach out to the youth, MOCA offers numerous free after-school programs and is expanding with three new programs this year. All their programs are geared towards introducing students to the art industry and helping them build their art skills.

“Our goal is to make sure that their ideas are just as important as everyone else’s,” said Bonnie Clearwater, director and chief curator at MOCA.