Deering Estate Festival of the Arts: A celebration of all things artistic

A romantic moonlit Valentine’s concert begins the Deering Estate Festival of the Arts, a 10-day celebration of literary, visual and performing artsw at the historic estate. Avariety of events and programs are scheduled from Feb. 14 through Feb. 24.

A curated exhibition “Speak Now,” places artistic interjections throughout the grounds, one-night only art events, classical and chamber ensemble concerts, a Curator’s Tour, and a spectacular closing Red Carpet Wrap-Up are just some of the cultural experiences to be offered.

Guests can enjoy an “All Access Pass” for $75. Alimited number of these passes are available and only can be purchased online. Individual event tickets can be purchased online; by phone at 305-235-1668, ext. 233, or at the event.

The invitational show “Speak Now” opens on Saturday, Feb. 16, from 6 to 10 p..m., and features artists from the Deering Estate Artist in Residence Program, Fountainhead Residency and Studios, and invited exhibitors. The title, “Speak Now,” alludes to the urgent need to communicate with and be understood by others, and to the relationship between literary and visual arts as support structures for expressions of thought.

Curator Ralph Provisero encourages the viewer to discover and develop dialogues between the space and artists with works placed around the estate. There are pieces that confront the viewer; some works are on the peripheries of view, while others are hidden in plain sight.

Opening night highlights include spontaneous poetry readings by the fire circle, and performance pieces that engage visitors to listen or travel around the site. Guests are welcome to bring blankets, lawn chairs and picnic baskets. A walk and talk Curator’s Tour precedes the opening at 4:30 p.m. and provides insight to the concept, creation and selection of works for the exhibition.

Bill Belleville, environmental writer and filmmaker, presents “Salvaging the Real Florida: Lost and Found in the State of Dreams,” on Wednesday, Feb. 20, as the featured speaker for “Icon of a Moment.” The Icon, the late John Kunkel Small, was a botanist who lived in the estate’s Richmond Cottage in the early 1900s, and used it as a base for his explorations through the hammock and the Everglades.

For over a decade, Kunkel Small documented the development and destruction of Florida. Author Bill Belleville wrote the introduction Kunkel Small’s updated edition of From Eden to Sahara — Florida’s Tragedy which parallels his own travel, study and writings on the regions rich flora and fauna.

For the budding botanist, artist and musician, ages 4-14, there are several events scheduled.

On Saturday, Feb. 16, from 10 a.m. to noon, is “Field Study Books” at Book Nook by the Bay, where kids explore and draw plant-life and outdoor art installations from the “Speak Now” exhibit. Also in partnership with the Greater Miami Youth Symphony there is a Piano Master Class and on Feb. 23 a Concerto Competition that showcases South Florida’s best young musicians.

For fans of chamber music, the Living Artist Concert Series presents “Dreams of Biscayne Bay”, on Friday, Feb. 22, with guest composer Roberto Sierra. Intimately set in the ballroom of the historic Stone House, the Deering Estate’s Chamber Ensemble highlights the works of Schubert, Touzet, Valdes and Brahms.

The smashing Red Carpet Wrap-Up ends the festival on Sunday, Feb. 24, with a blend of broadcast and live entertainment hosted by Teddy Behr (David Rohn) and Adora (Danilo de la Torre). With real-time feed from the Kodak Theater in LA, the actual Oscar ceremony and red carpet will be broadcast and projected on large screens, while Teddy and Adora offer erudite commentary on the fashion choices, questionable results and all manner of madness surrounding Hollywood’s most glamorous event.

Adding to the sparkle is the estate’s very own red carpet, staged on the historic main entrance. Guests are encouraged to dress up, whether as historic Hollywood actors or one’s own version of red carpet attire.

The Deering Estate Festival of the Arts provides cultural engagement for all ages, offering literary, musical and artistic experiences for youngsters, to presenting a worldclass exhibition, concerts and informative lectures for the most sophisticated patron.

For more information on the Deering Estate Festival of the Arts, a complete schedule of events and tickets, call the Deering Estate Ticket Office at 305-235-1668, ext. 233, or visit online at

The Deering Estate at Cutler, a Miami-Dade County Park, is located at 16701 SW 72 Ave.. This 444-acre natural and archeological preserve and historic site is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and serves as a center for education, culture and recreation.

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