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    CAP Lab: Emerging Artists in a Community Museum

    Vizcaya founded CAP Lab in 2014 in partnership with the College of Communication, Architecture + The Arts at Florida International University. This learning initiative has multiple objectives, among them to further Vizcaya’s commitment to learning by engaging university students, fostering interactions between students and working artists, and further integrating the Contemporary Arts Program (CAP) into the fabric of the museum. CAP Lab provides students with real-world experience in the arts by engaging them in the museum’s annual CAP exhibition. As part of CAP Lab, a customized syllabus is created for students enrolled in FIU’s Master of Fine Arts (MFA) program in Visual Arts to explore the complex and contextually rich situations that arise when contemporary artists develop site-specific work for a hundred-year-old historic estate.

    As the program continually evolves, this year CAP Lab is co-creating a course with artist Robert Chambers, who is teaching Object Design this fall. Through a pecha kuccha proposal students have conceptualized site-specific projects for exhibition in Vizcaya’s Village. Students will use the centennial exhibition, Lost Spaces and Stories of Vizcaya, as a lens to explore materiality, replication, historic and modern fabrication techniques. Student projects will be exhibited for a one-night exhibition on December 5, 2016.

    In its second year, Vizcaya co-created another course with Professor Jacek Kolasinski to explore the conceptual and logistical considerations for site-specific performance work, or installations resulting from or based on a performance. Participating students were paired with the commissioned artists for the annual CAP exhibition Fantastical Vizcaya and charged to develop case studies for each artist’s project. The museum organized classroom and studio visits to connect students with artists, which resulted in rich discussions in artistic practice. Based on the individual needs of the artists, students supported installation and preparation, public programs at the museum during Art Basel Miami Beach week and in some cases implementation for the one-night exhibition.

    The following students were our partners in 2015. Two case studies on artist Dona Altemus and her project Southeastern Quadrant are featured below to demonstrate how each student developed and presented their case study through a personal lens.

    Amandy F. Carranza
    Matthew Adrian Chernoff
    Jose Garcia
    Michael E. Gray
    Rhea Leonard
    Lana Martínez
    Charline Monjanel
    Samannaz Rohanimanesh
    Sterling Rook
    Maricel Ruiz
    Ana Isabel Sanz-Saumeth
    Angela Yang
    Case Study, Michael Gray 
    Case Study, Jose Garcia

    Southeastern Quadrant

    Co-creating this course with Professor Jacek Kolasinski challenged us to consider how to best present and support practical professional experience for emerging artists. Participating students worked in small groups to submit exhibition proposals using the same RFP that the museum issued to artists for the annual CAP exhibition Vizcaya-fy or Bust!  Throughout a complex and demanding semester, students admirably rose to the occasion discovering lessons from success as well as disappointment. Success was not defined by an artwork included in an exhibition, but through collaboration, reflective practice, critical inquiry, and skill development. The following students were our partners for the first-ever CAP Lab. Two of four student groups realized their concepts for exhibition.

    Colette Alhabahbeh-Mello
    Mariele Capssa
    Javier Cuarezma
    Danielle Damas
    Isis Ellis
    Diana Garcia
    Hazel Gil-Salazar
    Victor Golden
    Roma Ingrid James
    Meg Kaplan-Noach
    Joe Locke
    Susan Maas
    Daniel Marosi
    Guido Mena
    Kim Moore
    Christopher Rodriguez Barake
    Brittni S. Winkler

    The Love Barge
    Mariele Capssa, Susan Maas, Daniel Marosi, Guido Mena, Christopher Rodriguez Barake
    Vizcaya’s Barge (off the East Terrace in Biscayne Bay) is playfully reimagined as an inflatable floating sculpture decorated with objects that epitomize Miami: dolphins, flamingos, seahorses and lizards. This pastiche of symbolism underscores the emblematic nature of Vizcaya and Miami.

    Pomp and Circumstance
    Danielle Damas, Joe Locke, Kim Moore, Brittni S. Winkler
    A projection of an iconic royal wedding paired with music played on Vizcaya’s organ alludes to the numerous weddings that take place here. The architecture and formal gardens become a backdrop for these ceremonies that parallel the appropriation evident in Vizcaya’s own history.