Community Voices

Miami-born artist has kept busy as a bee in Italy

Judi Harvest signs her art exhibition catalogs at Le Stanze del Vetro's bookshop in Venice, May 2017.
Judi Harvest signs her art exhibition catalogs at Le Stanze del Vetro's bookshop in Venice, May 2017. Photo provided to the Miami Herald

When Judi Harvest graduated from Miami Coral Park Senior High in 1969, she never dreamed one day she would be creating sanctuaries for the world’s bees and spreading the word through art about how to protect them.

Her latest exhibition, “PROPAGATION: Bees + Seeds,” opened May 10 in Venice, Italy. It is part of the show called “Beauty and the Beast.”

Harvest said the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, a secure seed bank on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen, inspired her installation of “Frozen,” made with Murano glass “seeds.”

Since the show began, two significant events have occurred, she said.

Christina Mayo CHARLES TRAINOR JR. Miami Herald File

“A swarm of honeybees was attached to the Basilica of San Marco this week, the largest and most important church in Venice in the heart of the city and Piazza San Marco,” she said in email.

“Honeybees are very spiritual and I believe they were part of a message to pray for the earth as on the same day, Svalbard’s seed vault suffered damage due to global warming and the permafrost inside the vault melted.”

The recent events focus on the heart of her work, she said.

“This exhibition is concerned with the fragility of life, the search for beauty and the fundamental urgency to respect and care for honeybees and the earth.”

The show features Harvest’s seed and plant glass art made at the Murano glass factory just north of Venice.

For more than 40 years, she has lived, worked and exhibited in Venice, which she saw for the first time in 1973 while studying at the Tyler School of Art in Rome.

She has had 15 exhibitions there, including her permanent installation “Honey Garden,” a bee-friendly garden on the grounds of Giuman’s glass factory. There are six healthy honeybee hives there that produce Murano honey.

The recent bees were not from Murano, Harvest said. They were rescued by a beekeeper from the Lido, the beach in Venice.

“He will take good care of them,” she said.

Besides glass making and the installation, Harvest spends her time beekeeping. “Been busy here,” she said.

She also wants to encourage young artists.

“Art has the power to heal,” Harvest said. “As an artist I believe I have a responsibility to help bring awareness to the fundamental importance and respect for honeybees, nature and the fragility of our environment through art.”

She has dedicated the show to her mother and father, “who encouraged me to plant seeds.” The show can be enjoyed until Nov. 26 at the Palazzo Tiepolo Passi, San Polo 2774, Venice.

All of the glass seeds, flowers, plants and honeybees were created as accurately as possible to their natural size. To see her art and watch videos, visit

Free backgammon in Coral Gables

Start summer with a fun new hobby and play backgammon at the Miami Backgammon Club. This friendly group of South Florida players gather at 7 p.m. every Wednesday at The 19th Hole Bar & Grill, Biltmore Hotel, 1200 Anastasia Ave.

There are no costs or membership dues, but tournaments have a $10 entry fee. Players at all levels are welcome. Learn more at or write to

Grande finale concert

Don’t miss the last opportunity this season to hear the musicians of the Greater Miami Symphonic Band under the leadership of conductor and music director Robert Longfield at 8 p.m. June 13 at Gusman Hall, University of Miami, 1314 Miller Dr., Coral Gables.

Guest conductor Steven Moore also will be featured at the 38th season Grande Finale Concert. The musicians will perform a symphonic band repertoire including “Firebird Suite,” “Salvation is Created,” “Esprit De Corps,” “Prelude, Siciliano and Rondo,” two popular Gershwin pieces, and other exciting compositions.

Tickets are $15 for adults, $5 for students and children over 5. They are available at the box office the day of the concert or in advance online at

If you have news for this column, please send it to Christina Mayo at