The Kitchin: A Journey of Community Building through Art

Claymation characters on the set of The Kitchin

Summer art-making programs have been a long-standing tradition at Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, dating back to the 2016 launch of the museum’s Participatory Public Art (PPA) program. This series was designed to unite the community through artist-led experiences – all for FREE.

In the summer of 2023, a new PPA project came to life through the creative direction of Miami-based mother-daughter duo, artists Karla Caprali and Sophia Cabral. They responded to the theme “the kitchen is the heart of the home” and created a stop-motion animation inspired by Vizcaya’s iconic kitchen.

This is how “The Kitchin,” Miami’s first-ever community-made stop-motion film, came to be.

The Making of “The Kitchin”

The creation of “The Kitchin” began with free workshops where Caprali and Cabral joined forces to teach stop-motion animation to Miami locals, many with no prior experience. Each of the eleven workshops, which took place every Saturday and Sunday throughout June, broke down one part of the filmmaking process, from storyboarding and character development to set design and post-production and everything in between.

Despite having a crew of newbies, the results were outstanding.

“It took a group of 250 community members and two professional artists six weeks to create what would normally take a year,” noted Rebecca Peterson, Vizcaya’s Sr. Manager for Community Programs.

This crew, originally strangers, quickly developed lasting bonds through their shared interest in stop motion and their deep emotional investment in this collaborative project.

“We knew we achieved our goal when we saw how invested participants were in the project,” said Peterson. “I remember how proudly people told their friends and family, ‘I made that character’ or ‘I worked on the set’ during the final screening.”

Inspired by the kitchen as the theme, participants even turned the recurring workshops into a potluck of sorts, bringing different baked goods and snacks to share each week.

While many originally signed up in search of a new hobby, it’s safe to say that they walked away with much more. The project succeeded in building community bonds, providing shared experiences, and exposing participants to new skills and artistic ventures.

Go behind the scenes and inside the different workshops with the 14-episode playlist below.

The Movie

The resulting short film, “The Kitchin,” was screened for participants and the general public inside Vizcaya’s Main House on July 15, 2023, with an introduction by Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine. 

The film, available on the museum’s YouTube channel, will now move on to the film festival circuit and is currently an official selection for the SubCulture Film Festival, which will feature a movie poster design by workshop participants as well. This initiative underscores Vizcaya’s commitment to involving the public in the artistic process and fostering a sense of shared ownership. 

If you want to find out what all the hype is about, click below to watch the full seven-minute film on Vizcaya’s YouTube channel. If that isn’t enough, check out the behind-the-scenes videos from the workshops for an immersive experience. 

What’s Next?

Looking ahead, the 2024 PPA project hopes to be a groundbreaking initiative. It will focus on a land acknowledgment work, aligning with Vizcaya’s dedication to supporting Florida’s indigenous communities. The project aims to dispel misconceptions and highlight the current realities of indigenous communities, fostering a broader conversation and exposing people to their present-day experiences. 

“Finding the right partner to guide the project with respect and appropriateness will be a significant challenge,” added Peterson. “This is the current priority for this endeavor.” 

We will also continue to see more from the mother-daughter duo, Caprali and Cabral. They will return to Vizcaya in the fall of 2023 to do a formal installation in the Main House kitchen, continuing to explore the theme of the kitchen as the heart of the home. 

Stay up to date on all the fun things coming to Vizcaya in the coming months and sign up for our email list below. 

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