Community Voices

Group encourages African-American students to consider architecture careers

Donovan Terrelonge, president of Terrecon Design & Construction and project manager with Stobs Bros. Construction Co., teaches SketchUp 3D modeling software during a recent Black Architects in the Making summer workshop in Richmond Heights. Since 2015, BAM has held more than 21 workshops led by African-American professionals. The efforts have reached over 300 students in Overtown, Liberty City, Richmond Heights and Homestead.
Donovan Terrelonge, president of Terrecon Design & Construction and project manager with Stobs Bros. Construction Co., teaches SketchUp 3D modeling software during a recent Black Architects in the Making summer workshop in Richmond Heights. Since 2015, BAM has held more than 21 workshops led by African-American professionals. The efforts have reached over 300 students in Overtown, Liberty City, Richmond Heights and Homestead.

The definition of an architect is “a person who designs buildings and advises in their construction.”

So, it makes sense that the American Institute of Architects Miami Chapter would help build a program that focuses on educating middle and high school students, primarily African American, on the architecture profession.

The U.S. has produced very few African-American architects. According to the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards, of the 109,748 registered architects in a 2016 survey, only 2 percent are African Americans.

In an effort to increase that representation, Miami architect Craig Aquart of M C Harry & Associates created Black Architects in the Making to join the already established Architects in the Making program. The American Institute of Architects Miami Chapter supports both.

“BAM is a seed planting program that we must continue in more communities to diversify the architectural profession,” Aquart said in an email. “Students who knew little or nothing about architecture and the role it plays in their communities, now understand that their involvement in building better communities is essential to their well-being.”

Since its inception in 2015, Black Architects in the Making has designed more than 21 workshops led by African-American professionals. The efforts have reached over 300 students in Overtown, Liberty City, Richmond Heights and Homestead.

In 2016, three BAM students were sponsored to attend the Architects in the Making summer camp at the University of Miami School of Architecture. Last year, the number increased to six.

This year, on the BAM website, Aquart said that 30 students confirmed their interest in attending the annual AIM camp and that “everyone will benefit from a diversity of ideas.” Camper sponsorships came from local architectural firms.

“While the BAM primary focus is towards black students, it is an equal opportunity program and as such students regardless of ethnicity are welcome and encouraged to participate,” he said.

The creative hands-on educational workshops of BAM have been integrated into the outreach programs of the Miami Center for Architecture and Design that already works with the American Institute of Architects Miami chapter for support from the local profession.

“The partnership between MCAD and AIA Miami has enabled us to create a more robust program in BAM, as well as our Architects in the Making Summer Camp,” said AIA Miami’s executive vice president Cheryl Jacobs in a release. “The opportunity to reach young people in our community and see their youthful enthusiasm toward architecture and design has been amazingly rewarding for us.”

Learn more about the BAM mission and programs at miamicad.org/bam.

Musical theater in Coconut Grove

The proclaimed “Oldest Club in South Florida,” the Woman’s Club of Coconut Grove, will host a new work, “Resonation,” by True Mirage Theater 7 p.m. Aug. 17 at 2985 S. Bayshore Dr.

The evening of musical theater will feature songs from seven never-heard-before musicals by composers from all over the county.

“We are so excited for the Woman’s Club to be kicking off this cultural cycle with “Resonation” so that we can, once again, become the cultural hub of Coconut Grove,” Woman’s Club President Virginia Yermoli said in an email.

“Resonation” tells the story of Miami’s history through an eclectic mix of live music that ranges from contemporary to classical performed by well-known South Florida vocal and stage performers under the stage direction of Darcy Hernandez-Gil and musical direction of Priscilla Blanco.

Following the performance there will be a Q&A where audience members can hear about the composers, meet the artists, and give feedback to the True Mirage Theater company. Guests can also socialize over light fare and a cash bar.

Tickets are available online or at the door. Tickets are adults, $12; seniors, $10; veterans and students, $5. Buy tickets and get more information at truemiragetheater.com.

Drive the Speedway track

Experience the thrill of driving on the same track as race car champions at a special event to help raise money for “Driving for a Cause” youth and education programs.

The Homestead-Miami Speedway will host “Give Back at the Track,” 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aug. 11 and Sept. 16, 1 Speedway Blvd., Homestead.

On both days, drivers with street-legal vehicles will have the opportunity to run laps around the track. Cost is a $20 donation for two laps on the 1.5-mile championship oval with its progressive banking system. Additional laps are $10 each. The official Homestead-Miami Speedway pace car will lead the way.

Also, South Florida’s local food bank, Farm Share, will be accepting nonperishable donations for those in need in our community. Participants are urged to bring food items to the designated area of the infield.

Local car clubs are invited to attend for a group rate. Car clubs will receive a set amount of laps on the track. Contact Brandon Ward at 305-230-5228 or bward@homesteadmiamispeedway.com. Visit HomesteadMiamiSpeedway.com/GiveBack or call 305-230-5024 for more.

If you have news for this column, please send it to Christina Mayo at christinammayo@gmail.com.
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