Community Voices

Friends and Neighbors: Coral Gables Chamber honors Rose and McQuillan Arts Center

From left, Mark Trowbridge, Brooke LeMaire and Linda Knudsen celebrate a 2015 City Beautiful Award from the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce to Fairchild Garden’s new Arts Center.
From left, Mark Trowbridge, Brooke LeMaire and Linda Knudsen celebrate a 2015 City Beautiful Award from the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce to Fairchild Garden’s new Arts Center. Courtesy of Fairchild Garden

Conservation, education and preservation of South Florida’s natural beauty have always been part of the mission of Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden. Now, the new Adam R. Rose and Peter R. McQuillan Arts Center has been recognized with a 2015 City Beautiful Award.

The accolade, in the exterior commercial building category, is among the awards given annually by the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce.

“It is an honor and privilege to receive this prestigious award for the new Arts Center whose design was inspired by the Florida vernacular architecture of the Garden,” said Nannette M. Zapata, chief operating officer of Fairchild in a release. “The Adam R. Rose and Peter R. McQuillan Arts Center, which is home to art exhibits, music and Fairchild’s rich cultural and botanical exploration history, promotes the arts in the southern part of Miami-Dade County.”

The City Beautiful Award program recognizes outstanding commercial properties in Coral Gables in four categories: interior, exterior, historic preservation and showroom/restaurant. The awards shine a light on “architectural achievement in commercial properties and outstanding aesthetic charm and beauty that reflect the City Beautiful.”

The Adam R. Rose and Peter R. McQuillan Arts Center opened in December 2014 and was designed by architect Alberto Cordoves of Corwil Architects. In addition to six original botanical friezes, the building’s exterior features a pitched flat roof, oolitic limestone walls, cut keystone, and window shutters. The elements create the look of a historical building that compliments Fairchild’s older buildings and the newer DiMare Science Village.

To learn more about the many activities, and to become a member of the garden, take a look at

Donate used sports equipment

It’s time to go through those closets and garages to find used, but still usable, athletic equipment, clothing and sneakers. The items can be donated to impoverished children who want to play sports in the Higüey and Punta Cana areas of Dominican Republic.

Blake Miller, a senior at Palmer Trinity School, has chaired the Patriot Outreach program for the past five years. He coordinates the organization’s collection drive in south Miami-Dade County.

The equipment and clothing give Dominican Republic youth an opportunity to participate in athletics, much the same as boys and girls do here in South Florida.

Patriot Outreach members have been conducting the drive for eight years and during that time, more than 65,000 sports items have been sorted, boxed, shipped and re-used.

This year, Patriot Outreach is comprised of students from many area high schools and includes Blake, along with board members Keaton Zargham, Ryan Booth and Jett Caplin from Palmetto High School; Ryan Merritt of Christopher Columbus High School; and T.J. North of Westminster Christian School.

The drop-off location is Suniland Park, 12855 S. Dixie Hwy., Pinecrest. Donations may be made 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Sundays, now through Oct. 30. Just pull your car to the front of the building and there will be a drop-off box in front of the office.

If you have any questions, email Blake at

Meet environmental photographer

Using an antique 4”x5” field camera, Marilyn Brown produces large format, hand crafted, silver gelatin photographic prints. The beauty of Florida and preserving its environment for generations to see is her inspiration.

Brown will present some of her work at the next Bea Peskoe Lunchtime Lecture noon Oct. 5 in the Pioneer Room on the third floor of the 1st National Bank of South Florida at 1550 N. Krome Ave. in Homestead. The event is free and open to all.

“Our Everglades, coastal shorelines, sunrises and dramatic skies are all unique to Florida,” Brown said in a release. “I want to preserve these sights on film so that others can enjoy the beauty, awe and inspirations that I see and increase awareness of Florida’s fragile and embattled environment.”

Lunch at 11:30 a.m. is available for $10 by reservation. Call 305-230-9185 before 2 p.m., Oct. 2 to reserve yours. And to view some of Brown’s beautiful pictures, visit

Fashion show and lunch

Check out the latest in what to wear at the next gathering of the New Neighbors Club of South Dade. Socializing starts at 11 a.m., Oct. 14 at Killian Palms Country Club, 9950 SW 104th St., followed by the group’s annual fashion show and lunch. This year, members will be wearing versatile styles from Chico’s at The Falls. Reservations are required. Send email to or call her at 305-595-0213. Deadline for reservations is Oct. 1. Cost is $26.

This group’s mission is to help residents make friends and create community awareness while enjoying good times. Everyone is invited to attend the luncheon or any of the upcoming club activities. To learn more, visit or call program chair Thelma Tucker at 305-297-4625.

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