Alexander Porto is the third artist to be featured at Palmetto Bay’s Perrine Community House in ArtSouth’s program of showcasing local artists. His exhibit, titled “The Muses and the Broken Dreams,” had its well-attended opening night on Aug. 17 and will be on display for a month.
Born in Bayamo, Cuba in 1973, Porto began dabbling in sketching and drawing at an early age and he gradually realized that art would be his world and his life’s work. Porto earned a bachelor’s degree in art from Santiago de Cuba University at the age of 22. He worked as an Art and Graphics professor, then immigrated to the United States in 2004.
He is a member of the Portrait Society of America, and the Figurative Art Convention &Expo. Working with Editorial Portavoz, he illustrates books helping at-risk youths in schools, minority communities, and detention centers in the U.S. and Latin America.
“I feel very lucky to be here in this great community house,” Porto said. “I’m really grateful that the village supports artists. It’s an interesting initiative. This place is amazing, how it looks, more cozy than galleries.”
Porto said that 80 percent of the paintings in the exhibit were done in the past year. The rest are earlier works. The exhibit has 16 oil on canvas paintings and 12 black and white drawings. All are realistic and meticulously rendered.
“I’ve been working on a lot of different projects at the same time,” Porto said. “In November I have another exhibit coming up, but it’s not a solo show. There are other artists. I like to vary what I do. When I do a solo show I like to do everything new, although this time I do have some older work. I love to do portraits…I love to see the difference between each individual.”
Dozens of people attended the event to view the art and to chat with the artist and each other. Village Mayor Karyn Cunningham was there and is pleased with the partnership with ArtSouth, not only for supporting the arts but also for the impact it has on the community.
“One of the nicest things about these events is the social interaction that goes on,” Mayor Cunningham said.
Maureen Peterson traveled from Cutler Bay to see the exhibit, her first time at an ArtSouth event.
“I think this artwork is absolutely beautiful,” Peterson said. “There are certain ones that are not for sale that I want. I’m thinking about having him do a portrait of my late husband.”
Beatriz Herrmann, board secretary of ArtSouth, was there to help oversee the event.
“Our mission is not only to help local artists by showcasing them here, but also to make the community aware that this facility is here for them,” Herrmann said. “We would like to get the input of residents about what other events or activities they would like to see here, and invite them to contact the village Parks & Recreation office.”
Porto will be participating in an art festival in Venice, Italy in the near future and is looking forward to spending a little time as a tourist there as well.
Perrine Community House is located at 900 Perrine Ave. in Palmetto Bay. Next to be featured there will be the assemblage sculptures of Richard Cohen.