Art as Power

The University of Miami’s Lowe Art Museum and the Cuban American National Council’s Little Havana Institute (CANC-LHI), incollaboration with the Metropolitan Dade County Cultural Affairs Council Community Grants Program will implement the ART AS POWER project.

The “Art as Power” project will generate a greater appreciation for the visual arts among Hispanics. Both institutions will engage in an a full range of intensive and ambitious multicultural educational programs; bringing the power of art to a Hispanic community school and make an accredited art museum more accessible to Little Havana families.

Art is an instrumental vehicle for breaking down cultural barriers and misconceptions. By proving them with art creation and art appreciation activities, the CANC Little Havana Institute and the Lowe Art Museum are empowering students as transition into their adult lives. By increasing the comfort level and providing with culturally appropriate programming, Little Havana families are provided with ownership in a major cultural institution. The “Art as Power” project addresses the critical need to promote cultural harmony through art in a community with tremendous deficiencies in its accessibility to art.

The program includes a variety of art-related activities and events including: the establishment of a “Little Havana Lowe Wall” at the CANC Little Havana Institute; the conceptualization and creation of a student-driven art mural on-site at the CANC Little Havana Institute (under the direction of local Cuban-American muralist and artist, Xavier Cortada), along with an unveiling celebration and poster distribution for the students, families and community of CANC Little Havana Institute; docent-led tours of the Lowe Art Museum; individual art production activities at the museum based on the art studied on tours; and a Little Havana Family reception, student exhibition and tour at the Lowe Art Museum.

Description of the Art as Power Project


The “Art as Power” project is about process; an integral component is having students create a mural at their school. The mural will be conceived by the participants, in collaboration with community artist Xavier Cortada. Through a thorough team-building, Cortada will lead the students to conceptualize and paint the mural on the foyer of the CANC Little Havana Institute. Cortada, who was raised in the community and has since remained as an active community leader, has used his art as an agent of social change in four continents (please access information about him in his web site at

The murals will serve to recognize that the CANC Little Havana Institute belongs to the community, and that their art can serve as a coalescing agent. From that day forward when youth walk into their school, their mural will serve as conspicuous reminders of what can be accomplished when they work as a team. Through their participation, youth will be informed about and invited to other components of the project, including field trips and family days at the Lowe Art Museum. The mural then becomes an invitation to an art-immersion process: seeing the school-based community mural, connecting with it, and accessing other cultural institutions.

Classroom Pre-Visits

Through multiple classroom visits to CANC-LHI, trained docents from the Lowe Art Museum will prepare students for their field-trip to their University of Miami and the museum. In the classroom, docents will engage students in a variety of multicultural education experiences and activities preparing them for their visit. Orientation video of the museum, a slide presentation and hands-on cultural artifacts will be used to foster a heightened awareness of art.

Lowe Wall

CANC-LHI will dedicate an indoor wall to the Lowe to create five changing thematic displays highlighting works of art and programs at the Lowe. Reproduction posters of works of art from the Lowe’s permanent collection will be exhibited. Under the direction of the Lowe’s curator of education, teams of students will help create and design displays, and write labels for works of art.

University of Miami tours

Four separate day-long field trips (September 5, 12, 18, 19) will take all 139 students on an educational tour of the University of Miami campus and its Lowe Art Museum. University student-led tours of the University of Miami campus with emphasis on the art, architecture, and theatre departments and will include lunch on-campus. Through this process university volunteers will serve as pro-social role models for the CANC-LHI children, most of whom have never visit on a post-secondary setting. UM students interested in having a more profound effect in the lives of these students will be invited to the CANC-LHI to serve as mentors and/or tutors.

Lowe Art Museum tours

Docent-guided, multicultural tours for all 139 CANC-LHI students and their teachers will utilize both the western and non-western permanent collections of the Lowe Art Museum (including Native American, Pre-Columbian, Latin American, African, Asian, European and American cultures) to teach CANC-LHI students art awareness through exposure to their own and their classmates’ artistic heritage. These thematically oriented tours will provide and opportunity for multiple artistic heritages to be connected by a participatory educational experience consisting of a lively interchange with docents presenting interdisciplinary information about works of art from a variety of cultures and hands-on activities with museum objects from the Museum’s study collection.

Hands-on Art Immersion Workshops

Following the tour of the museum, CANC-LHI students will participate in a variety of art-related hands-on activities in the museum’s studio centered around works of art viewed on their tour. Designed to give these students a positive studio art experience, they will have an opportunity to create individual original works of art under the guidance of the Lowe’s curator of education and an accredited art educator. These works will be included in a student art exhibition to be displayed at the museum during Little Havana Family Day in the Fall Semester, 1997.

Little Havana Family Day at the Lowe

Little Havana Family Day at the Lowe will celebrate the partnership nurtured during the “Art as Power” project. Invitations announcing the event will be distributed to school families and stakeholders in the Little Havana community (business and civic event will include a reception honoring CANC-LHI and its students through an awards ceremony, a student art exhibit, distribution of posters of the CANC-LHI student-created mural, and providing families with Spanish-language, guided tours of the museum. By making this a Spanish-language event and by celebrating their children’s creativity, the museum makes its institution more accessible and welcoming to parents—most of whom have never visited a museum in the U.S.