Community Voices

Six young artists win first-place awards at peace art competition

Ilajean Horowitz, center, celebrates with first place winners in the 13th annual Quest for Peace Art Competition. The winners in six categories are, from left: Andres Castano, Jennifer Williams, Anthony Campos, Jonathan Bravo, Joshua Zepeda and Monia Meluzzi.
Ilajean Horowitz, center, celebrates with first place winners in the 13th annual Quest for Peace Art Competition. The winners in six categories are, from left: Andres Castano, Jennifer Williams, Anthony Campos, Jonathan Bravo, Joshua Zepeda and Monia Meluzzi. Photo provided to the Miami Herald

The lyrics in Queen’s song “The Miracle” are powerfully simple: “The one thing we’re all waiting for, is peace on earth and an end to war.”

That mission is at the heart of the annual Quest for Peace Art Competition and Exhibition held at Miami Dade College, Kendall Campus, in honor of Robert Horwitz, who died July 2, 2005.

Ilajean Horwitz said her husband was an artist and a philosopher who wanted to increase awareness for peace promotion while financially assisting students studying art.

Six young artists received first-place awards and four received honorable mentions at the recent 13th annual event that opened Nov. 9.

The winners were Jennifer Williams, painting; Monia Meluzzi, sculpture; Joshua Zepeda, drawing; Anthony Campos, printmaking; Jonathan Bravo, photography; and Andres Castano, digital art. Honorable mentions went to Danielle Burke, Valery Morales, Alba Olea and Christine Laventure.

Bonnie Seeman, chair of the Art and Philosophy Department at MDC/Kendall, coordinated the event. John Adkins, acting faculty dean of the Kendall Campus, and Ilajean Horwitz were the judges of the art competition. Each work had to reflect the artist’s vision of peace.

For the fifth year, there was a panel discussion prior to the awards reception. The latest topic was “Police and Protest: For the Public Good or for the Status Quo?” and the discussion was presented to a full room of attendees. It was organized and led by MDC philosophy Assistant Professor Kris Arca and MDC philosophy instructor Adam Hauptfeld.

The panelists were Terrance Cribbs-Lorrant, executive director of the city of Miami Historic Black Police Precinct and Courthouse Museum; Thomas Kennedy, civic engagement coordinator of the Florida Immigrant Coalition; Shawn Schwaner, professor at MDC School of Justice; Sgt. Erol Stewart of Miami-Dade Police Department and the Black Police Precinct and Courthouse Museum; and Alex Barrientos, philosophy professor at the University of Utah.

The Quest for Peace art exhibit is open to the public until Dec. 7 in the Kendall Gallery, M123, Martin and Pat Fine Center for the Arts, 11011 SW 104th St.

“Bob derived much pleasure from his art and from his philosophy of life,” said Ilajean Horwitz. “It gives me pleasure to encourage young artists to pursue their art and to give thought to making a better world.”

Girl Scout receives national honor

Congratulations to Kelly Culhane, a senior at Miami Palmetto Senior High, on being named a National Gold Award Girl Scout. This is the highest honor awarded by Girl Scouts of the USA and Kelly is the first Girl Scout from Miami and the Keys to achieve this national distinction.

She was recognized as an exceptional leader and for her Gold Award-winning project in which she partnered with the Ear Peace: Save Your Hearing Foundation.

The educational nonprofit organization seeks to inform teens, parents, and educators about the permanent, yet preventable, form of hearing damage caused by exposure to high levels of sound from personal audio devices and entertainment venues.

Kelly wrote the script, filmed and edited an educational video called “Band Together to Protect Your Hearing,” which is used in the foundation’s teacher training workshops for 392 schools in Miami-Dade County.

You can see her video and learn more at

Kelly also educated elementary and high school students about hearing conservation and presented on the topic at a statewide music educator’s conference.

The World Health Organization estimates one in five teens in the United States will have noise-induced hearing loss by age 19. Kelly is committed to changing that statistic through education and through service as an Ear Peace Foundation Ambassador.

She also created and distributed educational posters and brochures to pediatric offices and hospitals statewide, and has plans to expand distribution nationally.

“We are extraordinarily proud of Kelly, and all our Gold Award Girl Scouts, for exemplifying the values of Girl Scouts and commitment to serving our community with such important work,” said Chelsea Wilkerson, CEO, Girl Scouts Tropical Florida.

Kelly’s award also includes college scholarships. Being honored as a National Gold Award Girl Scout, earning the Girl Scout Gold Award, and receiving generous scholarships are just a few of the countless experiences girls can have through Girl Scouts. To join or volunteer, visit

You can learn more about noise-induced hearing loss at Or write to or to Kelly at

Junior Orange Bowl Parade Dec. 2

Make a holiday plan to watch the 70th annual Junior Orange Bowl Parade, 5 to 6 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2, on the downtown streets of Coral Gables.

Part of the family-fun event will be the 67th Royal Court Float including Queen Sofia Machado, Princess Takiyah S. Belfort, Princess Addison Arce, and Little Sister Khloe Selena Longsworth. They are reigning over all Junior Orange Bowl events during the 2018–19 festival season.

“We’re proud of the outstanding young women who gave their all during the Royal Court finals this year. I’m very excited to get to know the new Royal Court and to watch them shine in their new roles,” said Royal Court Chair Luisaura Alvarez.

The Royal Court members are volunteers and goodwill ambassadors who help make a positive difference through social and educational workshops, and leadership development.

“Known as a Platinum Anniversary, The Junior Orange Bowl is honored to be a part of other notable organizations that have empowered the South Florida community for 70 years,” said Junior Orange Bowl President Frandley DeFilie at the 70th anniversary festival kickoff.

Founded in 1948 with the inaugural Junior Orange Bowl Parade, the organization has grown to host competitive athletic, academic and cultural arts events in a diverse and safe environment. The organization “envisions a world in which every student and athlete is provided the opportunity for success.”

Learn more at

Holiday Bazaar

Some of the best holiday gifts are handmade. The busy and active participants at the Senior LIFT Center in West Kendall will present their creations for sale at a holiday bazaar, noon to 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 30, and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1, at 12480 SW 127th Ave.

Included will be handmade hats, scarves, afghan blankets, American Doll outfits, books, jewelry, and household items. Call 305-235-8855 or visit for more on this group and events.

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