A new exhibit that spotlights and celebrates 10 Little Havana residents is now open to the public.
Titled “Little Havana Me Importa: The Faces and Places That Define a Neighborhood,” the exhibit invites the public to step into the daily lives of 10 local residents whose passion, creativity, and penchant for history are shaping the Little Havana we know today.
The exhibit is open free to the public and will be on display through the end of May.
“This exhibition offers a glimpse of 10 people whose energy, creativity and passion are helping to make Little Havana the vibrant and dynamic neighborhood it is today,” said Robert Nieweg, senior field officer at the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
“From artists and small business owners to authors, students and entrepreneurs, these 10 people are helping to ensure that Little Havana remains one of the most unique and beloved neighborhoods in America,” he said.
The exhibit currently is on display in a colorful, mural-covered alley directly off Calle Ocho. Photographer Cyn Lagos captured artists, authors, students, and people from many other walks of life who live and work in Little Havana. Writer Lia Seirotti conducted interviews with each to explore why Little Havana matters to them.
The photo exhibit is being presented as part of the Little Havana Me Importa coalition’s ongoing work to ensure that Little Havana remains a thriving, healthy, and culturally-rich urban neighborhood.
Funding for the project was generated in the summer of 2017 as part of Heineken USA’s Cities Project.
Background on photo exhibit subjects
Corinna Moebius: Widely considered an expert on Little Havana, Moebius co-authored a book called A History of Little Havana and has offered walking tours of the neighborhood for more than a decade through her business, Little Havana Tours.
Santos Méndez: Méndez is a Cuban-born artist who showcases his work throughout Little Havana and in his own gallery on Calle Ocho.
His art depicts the beauty of the natural world in bold, vivid colors and a style reminiscent of Pablo Picasso.
Marisol Blanco: Blanco is a professional dancer who studied dance at the prestigious Instituto Superior de Arte in Havana and performed in some of the city’s most iconic venues. She left Cuba in 2008 and began teaching Afro-Cuban dance at Little Havana’s DAF Studio.
Brigid Baker: Baker is the owner of the 6th Street Dance Studio, a celebrated gathering place for artists dedicated to holistic principles and deep learning. Under her leadership, the studio offers explorations in contemporary classical technique classes, light body movement, the newest and oldest in urban dance, and composition classes for the development of new work.
Gabriela Rosado: Born and raised in Little Havana, Rosado is a student at Florida International University whose passion for her neighborhood led her to an internship at the National Trust for Historic Preservation. As a part of her work there, Rosado completed a door-to-door survey of Little Havana’s locally owned businesses.
Suzanne Batlle: Batlle is the owner and founder of a Little Havana gem, Azúcar Ice Cream. Through her business, Batlle is on a mission to expose younger generations in the Cuban traditions that make Little Havana so special.
David García: The García family has been in Miami since the 1960s when they started a small fishing company that today has turned into two of Miami’s most iconic seafood restaurants. David is the owner of La Camaronera, a W. Flagler Street staple known for its famous fish and shrimp sandwiches.
Dr. Paul George: The resident historian at HistoryMiami Museum, George is a world of knowledge who hosts a free community walking tour of Little Havana and various other tours throughout the city with HistoryMiami. He is a former college professor and has authored 15 books.
Guillermina Hernández: Owner and operator of the oldest running fruit shop in Florida, Hernández is a first-generation Cuban who you can always find behind the bar at Los Pinarenos Fruteria making cafecito or her famous “Guarapo,” fresh squeezed sugar cane juice.
Francisco Cazañas: Cazañas (aka El Manicero ) is a local peanut salesman who sells roasted peanuts in traditional Cuban fashion — in small white paper cones filled to the top. Locals and tourists alike agree that his smile lights up Calle Ocho.
The National Trust for Historic Preservation is a privately funded nonprofit organization that works to save America’s historic places. For more information, visit www.savingplaces.org.
Comprised of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Dade Heritage Trust, PlusUrbia Design, and Live Healthy Little Havana, the Little Havana Me Importa Coalition is engaged in a long-term community planning process that seeks to work with neighborhood residents, civic leaders, and local partners to ensure that Little Havana can remain a thriving, healthy and livable community that embraces its past while planning for a brighter future.