1986 - 2008
The Cultural Development Group (CDG) was formed from a concept created by a group of volunteers working on the Miami Film Festival and The Miami Book Fair International in the early 1980s. This group of individuals felt that South Florida needed an organization that would help bring a sense of cohesiveness to the community and work to eliminate the decades of separatism and competitiveness that existed, as well as providing world-class art presentations and exhibitions. In 1987 CDG was formed. An exhibition of David Hamilton Photographs was mounted at Mayfair in the Grove. After that the organization went into hiatus till 1996. With the approval by the Internal Revenue Service of 501(c)3 status and permission from the State of Florida to begin fund-raising a charter board of directors was formed. With the creation of a mission statement and the formulation of goals and direction, the board set out to create a membership organization of Artists helping Artists. A group where the knowledge of one could be shared with another and where a system of bartering of services, expertise, and product could be established to the benefit of all artists and arts organizations.
In 1996 we assisted the Miami Heat with their first Family Festival as well as beginning our Children’s Arts Program and Saturday Art Workshop series. We began providing rehearsal space for Freddick Bratcher and Company as well as providing them with office space.
In 1997 Our Disadvantaged Children and the Visual Arts Program was established with classes at CHARLEE/Gladstone Center for Girls and the Regis House, benefitting over 90 children. In addition we worked with The Jackson Children’s Hospital on their Healing Gardens project. Our website at www.cdgfl.org was born and the beginnings of our move toward providing Internet consultation and development began. Our Easel Loan Program was developed and coordinated by Rex Artist Supplies. The first issue of our newsletter Cultural Arts and Entertainment was produced (500 copies). Freddick Bratcher and Company became our first client for administrative services.
In 1998 CDG jointly produced the “Bunny Yeager - From the Beginning” Calendar. We began offering rehearsal space, which Dance Esaias and Sam Higgs utilized. We co-produced Jimmy’s Story by Billy Yeager, a feature length documentary, that we funded with sponsorship monies we received for the project. For the 6th annual Merrick Festival, we established the Visual Arts component where our members were invited to exhibit, sell and demonstrate (the event was previously a Performing Arts Festival). An auction held in conjunction with the event benefited our Disadvantaged Children’s program with art provided by CDG Members. We assisted the Pigeon Key Foundation in promoting their annual Jazz and Art Show and their Maynard Ferguson concert at Gusman Center. We consulted with the founders of the Pinecrest Art Show in their first event and helped underwrite their awards for the children’s art contest. In addition we received a grant from Childcare International, the benefiting agency of the event. We also received a grant from the Dade Community Foundation and the Coral Gables Rotary Club Foundation for our Disadvantaged Children and the Visual Arts Program. The Cultural Development Group Website began offering complimentary pages to members. Our Children’s Program was expanded to include one facility from the Children’s Home Society as well as the three existing facilities. Our eight instructors worked with over 400 children at our four facilities. We began working with Michele Kadison in developing Art Beat, a television interview that she was scheduled to begin airing locally in 1999. We became the fiduciary agent for The Espanola Way Arts Center and wrote their first grant. They were awarded $4,000 by the City of Miami Beach Cultural Affairs Council. Our printing service program became operational with the assistance of our major sponsor, Master Printers. The New Theatre, Momentum Dance Company and Freddick Bratcher and Company all benefitted from this program. In 1998 we designed and established Internet domain presences for The Film Society of Miami/Miami Film Festival, Momentum Dance Company, In-Motion Dance Studio, Rhythm Foundation, and Miami Children’s Museum. Two issues of our newsletter were published (1,000 and 5,000 copies), we are now distributing over 3,000 copies around the world, promoting CDG and our members to artists arts organizations and sponsors.
1999 was a transitory period. Our membership has been stable, with new members added to replace those we have lost. Our Children’s program has been limited by renovations and organizational restructuring at two of the facilities, while limited funding has reduced our classes at a third. Only the Gladstone Center has been able to maintain a schedule of projects with many of our instructors. Our Internet site received a constant flow of requests for information on the Arts in Miami-Dade. Several of our members that were utilizing our services have had their own funding problems and have had to curtail several of their projects. Our grant writers have been working with Freddick Bratcher and Company on their grants with the State and Local agencies and secured $6000 from the City of Miami Beach and $25,000 from Miami-Dade. CDG has also obtained funding from the State for The Disadvantaged Children’s Arts Program with a gift of $4,735, and Our Promoting the Arts Program with a gift of $2,809, along with a matching grant from the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs for $2,500. CDG, with the guidance of Darrell Calvin, became fiduciary and fiscal agent for Diaspora Vibe Gallery and assisted them in their receipt of $5,000 from Fifty over Fifty. The year saw the passing of several spiritual mentors, as well as the founder’s father and a member of the board of directors. All and all the organization maintained a steady, but slowed advance into the future.
2000 saw the retirement of our educational director, Dale Gary. She was responsible for the implementation and fine-tuning of our Disadvantaged Children’s Arts Program. As one of her last projects at Gladstone Center for Girls, Dale worked with the children to create an eight-foot mural entitled “Gladstone is Love,” that is on permanent display in their dining/activity room. Maria Stevenson ably continued Dale’s work at the Gladstone. The Actors Playhouse provided two sessions of Theatre Classes for the children at the South Miami After School House. Daniel Garcia and Antonia Gerstacker continued to work with children and Children’s Home Society and Jackson Children’s Hospital. We replaced our webmaster with long-time consultant, Keith Leonard, who redesigned the site and replaced our host with a more stream-lined and economical site. The Executive Committee also decided to abandon our design and hosting of sites for our membership, but are continuing to provide a free webpage for members at www.cdgfl.org. Freddick Bratcher and Company began a sabbatical after their June concert, thus allowing additional users for the studio space we lease out to members in South Miami. Dale Andree and Mary Street Theatre, UMOJA drumming and Temple Street Music all utilized the space, at a nominal fee. Antonia Gerstacker presented “Animal Kingdom, ” a series of paintings sponsored by CDG to The Jackson Children’s Hospital, where they are on permanent display including a plaque with the names of the sponsors. CDG again acted as fiduciary and fiscal agent for Diaspora Vibe Gallery and assisted them in their receipt of $10,000 from the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs Developing Arts in Neighborhoods. Annelore Jekel, an important contributor to the Art of Origami around the world, presented the chairman, Aaron M. Morris, with a check for $1,000. To end the year, The Cultural Development Group established a new tradition to the South Florida community, Art in the Tropics. A two-day (December 8-9) Festival celebrating the Arts and Artists of South Florida. In addition to honoring the 50th anniversary of CDG’s major corporate sponsor, Rex Artist Supplies, the Festival showcased 30 visual arts presenting their art for sale, along with Painting, Origami, Pergamino, Mat-making and Sculpture demonstrations. Live music was coordinated by Satchmo Blues Bar and Grill and presented Joey Gilmore, Jump Street 88s, Magic City Folk Project, and Tara Grieco. In addition the Actors Playhouse put in an appearance with selections from “A Christmas Carol.” CDG established a permanent website, www.artinthetropics.com to showcase the artists of the event.
The 2nd Art in the Tropics was held December 1 and 2, 2001. The location was again under the trees on the grounds of Rex Art. The Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs awarded CDG $4063 under their Community Grant program for Art in the Tropics. Performers were: Nicole Yarling, The Actors’ Playhouse Musical Miracles, Jumpstreet 88s featuring Piano Bob and Stan Street, Cache, Hugo Martinez and the South Florida premiere of classical singer Teresa Williams with arranger/pianist Ramon Dominquez. The “Certified South Florida Artists” were: Berta Cabarrocas Alfonso, Danielle Aurprix, Ambrosio Martin Art Collection, Sam Bayles, Steven Dini, Alicia Cabarrocas Francisco, Daniel C. Garcia, Antonia Gerstacker, Eduardo Jose Henriquez de Pool, Carmelo Prado, Israel Siam, Michael Bennett Stern, Pablo A. Velasco, Wayne Whittlesey .and our poster artist, Jossie Lynn Martinez. 10 returning form our 2000 edition. In addition, ArtSouth artist cooperative had several artists and artwork on display. Shar Sosh will be showcased Daler-Rowney Paints at her Painting Demonstration/Classes, Miles Laventhall demonstrated the Versatility of Golden Artist Colors and Lucia Vecino displayed her techniques in Pergamino(The Art of Paper Embossing). Maria Stevenson handled the Children’s Art Activity Area and provided a display of the work she has been doing at weekly visits to the Gladstone Center for Girls. Panet, Daniel Garcia, and Antonia Gerstacker also worked with the children of our Arts Program. Antonia also worked with inner-city children to create a mural. Timothy Sheehan taught Hip-Hop dance to the children at the South Miami After School House Darrell Calvin assisted Diaspora Vibe Gallery again in their applications to the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs programs, International Cultural Exchange and Developing Arts in Neighborhoods, and Fifty over Fifty. Diaspora Vibe was awarded a multi-year grant under the Dade Community Foundation Community Partners for Arts and Culture program for $22,500, along with $10,000 from the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs. Mary Street Dance Company used the studio all year. The Open Art Studio began development by our educational director, Maria Stevenson. The Program is designed to provide a large cooperative studio space for any person interested in art to attend. Although open to anyone, the project’s focus is primarily on those people in the grieving and/or recovering process from a physical or emotional loss, addiction or illness. The Dade Correctional Institute Arts program was gifted with art materials, and a dialogue has been established with the director, Madonna McKay, to collaborate with them and CDG on a long-term program of providing art classes to the female residents. A grant was submitted to the Dade Community Foundation for both the Open Art Studio and Disadvantaged Children and the Arts Program. An award of $7500 was received for 2002.
2002 was a quiet year for the Cultural Development Group, only the two educational outreach programs were active. The Open Art Studio, with the assistance of a grant from the Dade Community Foundation, began its trial year in March. The Dade Correctional Institute received materials for their arts program and the Open Art Sessions began at the classrooms at Rex Art in May, a weekly gathering of members of the South Florida community to create several 6 panel canvas murals for donation to local Hospitals, Youth and Civic Organizations. The Disadvantaged Children and the Arts Program continued at the Jackson Children’s Hospital with sessions conducted by Antonia Gerstacker; at the South Miami After School House with sessions by Daniel Garcia; at Gladstone Center for Girls with two sessions a week by Maria Stevenson. Darrell Calvin conducted a Theatre Arts Series there and at the Allapattah YMCA. Funding for these programs was with the assistance of the Dade Community Foundation, Rex Art, and Morris Investment Partnership. CHARLEE and the South Florida Jail Ministries provided financial and materials support for the programs as well. The Agape Women’s Center, CHARLEE/Kendallwood and the Miami Bridge all created Open Art Studio murals. As the year came to a close the Merrick Festival asked CDG to work with them to bring their Festival back from hiatus for 2003. The City of Coral Gables as granted us $1000 towards Art in the Tropics for April 2003 during the 7th annual Merrick Festival. Chase Brooke Associates accepted us into their Professional Technical Assistance Program and will be working with us throughout 2003 on over 70 potential grants. $35,000 was awarded to Diaspora Vibe Gallery by the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs, Fifty over Fifty and Dade Community Foundation.
CDG received a gift for Art in the Tropics of $5063 from the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs, in 2003. We also connected the Dade Correctional Institute with the Women’s Fund of Miami resulting in a grant of $4500 for them. April 12th & 13th marked the return of the Merrick Festival with the Art in the Tropics component being a major factor in the success of the event. 35 artists participated (see www.artinthetropics.com for a full list of the artists) with over 6000 people attending. Sally Baumgartner scheduled an exciting two days of live music, theatre and dance on stage outside Coral Gables City Hall. Darby Hayes brought in street performers and created a new component, Art of the Busker. The CHARLEE program has received funding to underwrite the instructor at the Gladstone Center for 2003 and Agape Women’s Center has received funding to underwrite an instructor for the Open Art Studio for Summer and Fall. The City of Coral Gables presented us with a gift of $500 for Art in the Tropics April 2004.