Miami Dade College (MDC) and Dimensions Variable (DV) have formed an innovative partnership pairing a local non-profit artist-run space with the largest and most diverse higher education institution in the nation.
The vision for the program is uniting a cultural community asset with an educational institution, enabling DV to continue presenting contemporary art exhibitions and public programs in addition to providing enhanced educational and community curricular activities to invigorate the Centre Gallery on MDC’s Wolfson Campus in Downtown Miami.
In collaboration with the MDC Museum and Galleries of the Art + Design (GOA+D), the partnership broadens the diversity of programs GOA+D presents and deepens its established role as a leader in innovative partnerships that enhance the educational model, while supporting the proliferation of the active artistic community in downtown Miami.
In 2009, artists Frances Trombly and Leyden Rodriguez-Casanova founded Dimensions Variable. The inception came about through a donation of space by Dacra/Design District to several artists including the founders. They later established a space to further support and present contemporary art through a collaborative exchange with artists and institutions.
With the main support of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, DV has developed a robust exhibition program that is engaging and compelling. In 2012, DV secured a large temporary space in the Miami Worldcenter’s Downtown Art House complex. In June 2015, Worldcenter’s developers broke ground, thus scheduling the closing of the arts complex that also housed several other cultural institutions and artists.
Emerging organizations like DV are important in every city as they take risks and cultivate the artists and innovators of tomorrow. Creating partnerships to ensure their survival is crucial to any cultural landscape.
“Dimensions Variable’s survival is made possible by engaging the community to explore new collaborative ideas and to support innovative cultural institutions through partnerships and donations,” said Leyden Rodriguez-Casanova, co-director of Dimensions Variable. “The support of the arts can be cultivated in many ways and the use of donated space is just one of them. When it comes to the presentation of contemporary art, the space is a huge part of the equation.”
MDC’s President Eduardo J. Padrón added, “The pioneers at MDC and the creative community have built Miami to become a major cultural destination that is centered on the visual arts. Now, more than ever, the college can serve as a leader in this community by taking steps to maintain the vibrancy of this great cultural city.”
Since the 1960s, the art galleries at the various campuses of Miami Dade College have served as the home for exhibitions of art and design, exhibiting contemporary artwork from throughout South Florida and beyond. Over the years, the galleries have established themselves as incubators of knowledge and exchange, creating curricular support to the departments and communities they serve.
“As we are currently enjoying an economic upswing in the growth of Downtown Miami, we are also seeing a decline in availability for artist-run spaces and artists’ studios — dismantling the grass roots of our community in our own neighborhood,” said Jeremy Mikolajczak, executive director and chief curator of MDC’s Museum and Galleries of Art + Design. “We are grateful to the leadership of Dr. Padrón and the support of important organizations like the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation for their commitment to our cultural community.”
DV is slated to open in September of 2016, with visual arts-based installations, exhibitions and performances of newly created works by emerging and more established contemporary artists. Additionally, the college and DV will engage in collaborative educational initiatives that support the ongoing professional development and interactions for students and the public at large.