Coral Gables

In an era of noise, Coral Gables’ ‘Silence Project’ showcases civility and diversity

The international sign of silence is displayed through 75 portraits of people who make up the City of Coral Gables. The “Silence Project” exhibit by Flor Mayoral will be showcased in empty storefronts through Gallery Night on Aug. 2. Pictured are Jeannett Slesnick and Teddy Tellam, who is 2 1/2 years old.
The international sign of silence is displayed through 75 portraits of people who make up the City of Coral Gables. The “Silence Project” exhibit by Flor Mayoral will be showcased in empty storefronts through Gallery Night on Aug. 2. Pictured are Jeannett Slesnick and Teddy Tellam, who is 2 1/2 years old.

If you have visited Coral Gables recently, you may have seen the large black-and-white photographs displayed in empty storefronts. All of the subjects, from postal workers to politicians and chefs to booksellers, are exhibiting the universal gesture for quiet.

The 75 people in the photos represent the diverse community of Coral Gables and their portraits are the work of Miami photographer and dermatologist Flor Mayoral who started the “Silence Project” 12 years ago.

Hurry, though, and plan a walk on Miracle Mile. The exhibit is nearing its end and will come down after Gallery Night Aug. 2.

You’ll find the photographs speak to you.

“These single portraits are telling a story of a community that can elevate itself above the noise and still connect,” said Venny Torre, president of the Business Improvement District of Coral Gables. “Coral Gables is made up of people from all walks of life, so this is a project that celebrates the city’s diversity and culture.”

Coral Gables residents and visitors can even create their own “Silence Project” photos at home using the hashtag #SilenceProject for a chance to have their versions projected during weekend public exhibitions at McBride Plaza, 150 Miracle Mile.

If you are pressed for time, a large selection of portraits can be seen at Conde Contemporary, 204 Miracle Mile.

“Silence Project” is a partnership between the Business Improvement District of Coral Gables, the Coral Gables Community Foundation, the City of Coral Gables, and Conde Contemporary. It was unveiled June 28.

“I am beyond pleased that my artistic project is bringing organizations in Coral Gables together, in service of the community,” said Mayoral.

For all Miracle Mile locations and more, check out www.shopcoralgables.com/event/the-silence-project and www.silenceproject.com.

Backers of a new wave of high-rise, mixed-use development in Coral Gables say it’s re-invigorating the city, but some residents fear that what’s made the Gables special is at risk of being obliterated in a rush to build big.

UM-NSU card raises over $325K

More than 500 supporters of the South Florida autism community raised more than $325,000 at the recent 17th annual Tropical Nights soiree.

The funds support free programs and the transformative work that the University of Miami - Nova Southeastern University Center for Autism and Related Disorders offers for families affected by autism spectrum disorder.

Guests enjoyed an evening cruise on Biscayne Bay, food, drinks, live music, dancing and a silent auction.

“The 17th annual Tropical Nights soiree celebrates the remarkable success of our constituents, their families, and the dedicated advocates of autism awareness. The funds raised at this event support the innovative programs, services and research initiatives UM-NSU CARD offers as well as our efforts to expand our reach into traditionally underserved communities,” said Michael Alessandri, executive director, UM-NSU CARD.

UM-NSU CARD presented pediatrician Dr. Jeffrey Brosco with the Community Leadership Award, and former Coral Gables city attorney and UM-NSU CARD Constituency Board Member Craig Leen with the Cruz-Whitehurst Advocacy Award.

“Dr. Brosco is a University of Miami professor of clinical pediatrics and associate director of the Mailman Center for Child Development who has been a tireless champion for children with special needs, particularly those with autism and related disabilities. His leadership on issues central to the health and well-being of these children has had local, statewide and national impact,” said Tropical Nights 2019 Co-Chair Ysela Heim.

“We were also thrilled to recognize Craig Leen for his extraordinary advocacy efforts. Craig is a father of two children on the autism spectrum, and he spearheaded a movement encouraging cities and counties in Florida and beyond to pass resolutions embracing ‘principles of inclusion’ as they relate to citizens with special needs.”

Blake Sando, chairman of the Constituency Board of Directors of UM-NSU CARD, said the generosity of others continues “to enrich the lives of families touched by autism and related disabilities. Serving just 88 families in our first year of operation in 1993, UM-NSU CARD now is a key valued resource for autism support for more than 12,000 South Florida families.”

“Thanks to the philanthropic support of Royal Palm Sponsor Camp Southern Ground as well as King Sponsors such as Greenberg Traurig, the Whitehurst Family Foundation, the Atienza family and the Cambo family, UM-NSU CARD will be able to continue our focused efforts on providing the highest quality resources and programs for the families we serve and to expand our reach,” said Sando.

“It’s great to see families, foundations, small businesses as well as corporations such as Bacardi, MasTec, Norwegian Cruise Line, Publix, and Ryder System Inc. all come together to support this great cause.”

Tropical Nights 2019 co-chair Mona Nasser said the funds will continue to “support services including referrals, care coordination, support groups, employment boot camps, social skills activity groups for teens, summer camps, educator training, a mobile clinic and so much more.

“As a parent of a young adult with autism, I know first-hand how UM-NSU CARD has been there for our family every step of the way,” Nasser said.

Learn more at http://www.umcard.org

Music Fest Winners

More than 70 talented young musicians from all over South Florida participated in the University of Miami Frost School of Music inaugural annual Young Artists Competition. Cash prizes were awarded for first through third places in five different age groups with the top prizewinner in the oldest age group receiving $500.

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The winners of the inaugural Young Artists Competition at the University of Miami Frost School of Music presented a recital and met some of their sponsors.

The highlight was the winners’ recital at Clarke Hall where the winners performed their pieces and were able to meet some of the sponsors of the prizes.

First prizes in each category were awarded to: Marianne Rose Scott (Category A, ages 4-6), Zoe Aldana (Category B, ages 7-9), Ryan Kim (Category C, ages 10-12), Luke Yang (Category D, ages 13-15), and Daniela Jimenez (Category E, ages 16-18).

The family of Dr. Rosalina Sackstein, Elaine and Andrew Daniluk, Humberto and Camille Vanegas, the family of Justin Veira and Lenore Gaynor donated the prizes.

The Frost School will announce dates for the 2020 competition later this summer. The event will be expanded to include other instruments and categories. Learn more about year-round programs and competitions at www.prep.frost.miami.edu.

If you have news for this column, please send it to CHRISTINAMMAYO@GMAIL.COM.

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