Doral establishes new arts program for creative displays in public places

The Doral city council met on Monday, June 15th.

The main item

The council unanimously approved an ordinance establishing a public arts program that will promote creative displays in public places within the city. According to the legislation’s language, “the goal of the Public Arts Program is to enhance the aesthetic character and cultural environment of the built environment by incorporating public art in public spaces, including streetscapes, infrastructure, public facilities, parks, and greenways.”

Several South Florida-based artists and art enthusiasts took to the podium to speak in favor of the arts. One resident showed a Spanish-language video presentation with several local artists giving their thoughts on the importance of artistic expression echoing the phrase “a city without art, is a city without a heart.”

“If you have art, you can use it as a way to improve people’s lives,” said Pablo Azar, a Mexican actor currently living in South Florida. “If we look at art as a way to create positive emotions in people then the city comes alive and gets an identity that buildings alone cannot give you.”

The program would consist of a five-member committee appointed by the mayor and city council. The board would be made up of two architects, two members skilled in fine arts, and one interior designer or a professor of art or art history. Members of will serve for two years.

The board will review proposals, establish guidelines, and make recommendations to the city to ensure that the program accomplishes its intended purpose and acts in the public interest.

“This program will create a cultural legacy to future generations through the collection and exhibition of high-quality art pieces and meaningful opportunities for artists to partner with the public and private sectors to contribute to the development of the arts in the city of Doral,” Mayor Luigi Boria said.

There was some debate among council members as to whether the program would seek classification as a nonprofit organization, which would make it easier for possible donors to the program to receive tax considerations for contributing to the program, but the current ordinance has the program established as an advisory board under the purview of the city of Doral.

The motion was passed 4-0. Councilman Pete Cabrera was out of the country and did not attend the meeting.

Other business

▪ In God We Trust: In a discussion item requested by Boria, the council voted to display the motto “In God We Trust” prominently in the city’s council chambers. Though there were some opponents to the item, several members of Doral’s religious community came out in support of the item. Miami-Dade County approved a similar item in December 2014 and unveiled its display last month. The display was approved unanimously and city staff was instructed to come back to council with a proposed design and location for the display. “In God We Trust” is Florida’s current state motto.

▪ Intercontinental Village development: Two separate items made amendments to the city’s zoning and land use plans in connection with Intercontinental Village — a proposed luxury residential community development that would be located in the general area east of Northwest 87th Avenue and south of Northwest 25th Street. The area’s zoning was changed from “industrial community” to “community mixed use,” allowing for the development to move forward. A Doral resident alleged possible “spot zoning,” which is illegal in Florida. The city’s own planning and zoning staff report advised against the changes because they constitute “an obvious departure from the established development pattern of the immediate vicinity.” The council approved the changes unanimously.

▪ Off-street parking requirements: A city ordinance further limiting the amount of parking spaces afforded to certain residential and commercial developments was passed. Boria indicated to the Miami Herald that the policy is part of the city’s intention to limit traffic and promote alternative forms of transportation. The item was approved by a vote of 3-1.

They said it

“We promote the arts, maybe not enough, but I think this would really elevate us to another level.” – Vice Mayor Sandra Ruiz

You said it

“Having a particular community identity, especially in terms of what our towns look like, is becoming even more important in a world where every place tends to look like every place else. … The absence of public art would be an absence of our human rights.” – Devorah Sasha, a Venezuelan singer and activist, who currently lives in Hollywood, speaking in favor of Doral’s approval of a Public Arts Program

The next meeting

▪ When: 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 11.

▪ Where: 8401 NW 53rd Terr., Doral