Poetry from 40,000 feet: Look down and read between the lines


Park on Blue Garage’s rooftop, and experience poetry. A gigantic poem written in between the lines of parked cars is the latest addition to the 2016 Honors College’s Aesthetics and Values exhibit currently on display at the Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum.



The Poems to the Sky project, brainchild of local artist Randy Burman, is part of the O, Miami Poetry Festival, founded by P. Scott Cunningham MFA ’08. The mission: expose everyone in Miami to poetry, often in unexpected places, during National Poetry Month in April.

To get the project approved, the students in Aesthetics and Values class and their professor John Bailly won the support of Honors College Dean Lesley Northup, President Mark B. Rosenberg and Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Kenneth A. Jessel. And, at the request of O, Miami staff, Miami-Dade County Commissioner Juan C. Zapata sent a letter in support of the project.

The students helped Bailly and master sign painter Steve Showen paint the poem’s letters on the rooftop.

At the poem on the Blue Garage, students in 2016 Aesthetics and Values class pose with Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Kenneth A. Jessel, Professor John Bailly and artist Randy Burman and his wife Manita Brug-Chmielenska.

“We wanted to make the exhibition different,” student Daniela Arevalo says of pushing to make the project a reality. She explains maybe not everyone will get to see the exhibit at the museum, but now they can experience it at the garage–preferably from an airplane, as FIU lies in the flight path of Miami International Airport.

The poem was written by a fourth grader from Orchard Villa Elementary School in Liberty City. A second poem is on the rooftop of Mana Wyndwood Art Space.

“I think it’s a wonderful way to bring students and faculty together,” Jessell says of the campus word art. “It’s a wonderful poem. It’s about dreaming, which is what we do at FIU – we create dreams and we fulfill dreams.”

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