A romantic moonlit Valentine’s concert kicks off the Deering Estate Festival of the Arts, a 10-day celebration of literary, visual and performing art.
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 offered.
The invitational show Speak Now opens on Saturday, Feb. 16, from 6-10 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 periphery of view, while others are hidden, but actually are in view. 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. 29, as the featured speaker for Icon of The 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 to 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 age 4-14, there are several events scheduled. On Saturday, Feb. 16, from 10 a.m.- 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 Estates 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 a realtime feed from the Kodak Theater in Los Angeles, 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 world-class exhibition, concerts and informative lectures for the most sophisticated patron.
For a complete schedule of Deering Estate Festival of the Arts events, Feb. 14- 24, and for tickets, call 305-235-1668 ext. 233, or visit www.deeringestate.org. A limited number of All Access Passes are available for $75 and include free admission to the estate for February, all Festival of the Arts events, February Ghost Story Tour and Nite Hike.
The Deering Estate at Cutler is located at 16701 SW 72 Ave. Proceeds from events benefit the Deering Estate at Cutler for preservation, education and restoration of the historic estate. The festival was formerly known as the SoBay Festival of the Arts.