Miami-Dade County

A signature Miami art space closes. Its shows will go on.

Miami art patron Ella Cisneros in 2013.
Miami art patron Ella Cisneros in 2013. MIAMI HERALD STAFF

One of Miami’s premier private art collections is giving up its local exhibition space and taking its shows on the road.

The Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation, known as CIFO, will no longer showcase exhibitions in its distinctive downtown Miami space, at 1018 North Miami Avenue, it announced in a release Wednesday. Instead, its annual exhibition of works by awardees of its Grants & Commissions Program will be shown this year at the Centro Cultural Metropolitano in Quito, Ecuador.

“While CIFO’s heart will always be in Miami — as will our operational offices — we are thrilled to be making the transition to an international exhibition model,” said Cisneros via a release. “CIFO’s partnerships with global institutions will ultimately bring our programs, and the vital work of Latin American artists, to a wider audience of art enthusiasts.”

The CIFO show “Adiós Utopia: Dreams and Deceptions in Cuban Art Since 1950” is currently on view at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, following a run at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, in Texas.

In 2005, Miami collector Ella Fontanals-Cisneros opened the 13,000-square-foot Miami Avenue warehouse refashioned by architect Rene Gonzalez with a glass tile mural of a bamboo jungle. CIFO marked the southern edge of Wynwood, which was then emerging as a major art destination anchored by the Rubell Family Collection, Margulies Collection at the Warehouse and the Gary Nader collection.

Since then, CIFO has highlighted works by its awardees and shows of works from Cisneros’ own art collection. Its current exhibit, “Triángulo: Loló Soldevilla, Sandu Darie and Carmen Herrera,” closes March 14. It will be followed by its final show, the New World School of Arts’ Bachelor of Fine Art exhibition, which runs through April. The building is owned by Cisneros and will return to her real estate portfolio, said a spokesman.

This year’s nine Grants & Commissions recipients, highlighted in the Quito show, come from seven Latin American countries. They included Achievement Award-winner Horacio Zabala of Argentina; mid-career artists Magdalena Atria of Chile and Lázaro Saavedra of Cuba; and emerging artists Fredman Barahona of Nicaragua, Gala Berger of Argentina, Víctor del Moral of Mexico, Rubén D ́Hers of Venezuela, and Laura Huertas Millán and Daniela Serna Gallego, both of Colombia.