For more than 60 years, Mira Lehr of Miami Beach has been creating important work and championing women artists.
The eco-feminist’s new show features her latest paintings and 180 aerial sculptures at the Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU. Lehr, 85, will also make a special appearance at the opening reception Oct. 15.
This show emphasizes her dedication to nature and protecting the planet. It also honors Lehr’s memories of the museum, originally a synagogue.
“I am thrilled to celebrate my sixth decade as an artist in Miami Beach by showing my new work at the Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU for Art Basel season,” Lehr said.
“Because this museum was originally built in the 1930s as the first synagogue on Miami Beach for Jewish residents who were discouraged from living north of Fifth Street, my story comes full circle as I look back on my own experiences as a Jewish child growing up in Miami Beach during the 1940s.”
She remembers at that time walking by a sign each day on the way to school that said, “No Jews, No Dogs.”
“During the years 1947-1950, my family lived in the northern part of Miami Beach, where not many Jewish families lived at that time. I remember seeing that terrible sign every day on a building in a secluded neighborhood street and thinking: When I grow up I’m going to do something so great that will make the people who created this sign change their minds.
“It makes me realize that although signs like that are not allowed anymore, there is an undercurrent of anti-Semitism that has always existed in the world. I hope that this changes, as people become more evolved,” Lehr said.
Now, 70 years later, the artist has created powerful work that calls attention to saving the planet and protecting the environment.
“My creation of art has always been based on nature, but now I am more dedicated to ecology and saving the planet. We are all in a terrible dilemma now. The planet is suffering and is in danger. People need to be aware of the danger that is threatening all of us, and we have to work together to reverse this situation,” she said.
Jacqueline Goldstein, the museum’s curator, conceived the exhibition.
“Mira Lehr has created a spectacular new series of artworks specifically with this museum in mind,” said Susan Gladstone, executive director of the Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU.
“The exhibition is a result of Lehr’s personal visit to this museum, after she spent time here and reflected upon the emotions and inspiration she felt. Lehr has combined her art with that of the stained-glass windows and the play of light they create together. The result is truly magnificent,” Gladstone said.
Located in the former synagogue that housed Miami Beach’s first Jewish congregation, the museum’s restored 1936 Art Deco building and 1929 original synagogue are on the National Register of Historic Places.
The 7 p.m., Oct. 15 opening reception of “Mira Lehr: A Walk in the Garden” is free and open to the public. The show is through Feb. 3, 2020. The museum is at 301 Washington Ave, Miami Beach. For more, visit www.jmof.fiu.edu or call 305-786-972-3175.
The 28th annual Dade County Bar Association Annual Achievement and Pro Bono Awards Luncheon will honor attorneys who give their time freely to help the vulnerable residents of Miami-Dade County.
Join these legal legends and heroes, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Oct. 25, at Hilton Downtown, 1601 Biscayne Blvd. The awards are presented in memory of, and in honor of, distinguished jurists in our community.
One of the honorees, Adrian Acosta, said he does pro bono work because it gives him a sense of purpose.
“The happiness that comes from my pro bono cases is contagious and affects others in a positive manner whether it is the clients, clerks or judges themselves. Not only do I get to help people I never met, I also get to make new friends and help others in their darkest times,” Acosta said.
The Duane Morris firm will receive the Wills on Wheels Pro Bono Award for spending thousands of hours assisting individuals and nonprofits on a pro bono basis locally, regionally and internationally.
“From drafting wills and living wills to healthcare surrogates and power of attorneys, the veterans we serve with ‘Wills on Wheels’ have peace of mind knowing their testamentary affairs are in order,” said Marsha G. Madorsky, partner at Duane Morris.
The attorneys in Miami and Boca Raton travel to Veterans Affairs centers and hospitals to assist those in need as part of “Wills on Wheels,” created by Put Something Back in 1993.
To RSVP, visit www.dadecountybar.org. Prices are $60 for members and $70 for future members. Tickets at the door are $75, space permitting. For more, or to support pro bono legal services and help those who cannot help themselves, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Medical school scholarships
The Rotary Club of Miami, Trustees for the Thomas Brown McClelland Trust, selected 59 recipients for the Trust’s 2019-2020 scholarships. The Fund was established in 1980 to help aspiring medical school students with education costs.
McClelland was a Rotary Club of Miami member and a horticulturist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He felt that being a physician was a worthy profession and set up this trust in his will.
This year’s awards totaled $194,000 and were distributed to students attending medical schools all over the U.S. The majority are in Florida schools including: Florida Atlantic (1), Central Florida (1), Florida State University (1), University of Florida (4), University of Miami (15), and Florida International University (25). Since 1983, more than $7 million in scholarship funds have been distributed benefiting almost 750 individuals.
To be eligible for the scholarship, students must have graduated from a Miami-Dade high school, public or private, and be in, or entering, an AMA accredited medical school. An application and an interview with Rotary Club of Miami members are part of the process.
Any student interested in attending medical school upon college graduation can look for the application and details at www.miamirotary.org. The next deadline is Jan. 15, 2020.
If you have news for this column, send it to CHRISTINAMMAYO@GMAIL.COM.