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This spring, the National YoungArts Foundation named Carolina García Jayaram its new President and CEO. Lin and Ted Arison founded the organization in 1981 to nurture young artists across a variety of fields, and notable alumni include Doug Aitken, Hernan Bas, and Daniel Arsham. This winter in Miami, YoungArts will present José Parlá’s site- specific installation “Roots” commissioned by Rolls-Royce Motor Cars at the Jewel Box, YoungArts alumna Naomi Fisher and YoungArts Artistic Programs Coordinator Luisa Munera will co-curate a booth of works by YoungArts alumni at PULSE, and the exhibition “When We Were Young” from the JPMorgan Chase Art Collection will be on view at the YoungArts Gallery.
WHITEWALLER: When you came on as CEO of YoungArts, you said that one way you wanted to expand the foundation was to create new programs for the thousands of YoungArts alumni. Why is an alumni network an advantage for an organization like YoungArts?
CAROLINA GARCÍA JAYARAM: Through an alumni program, we can better provide artists with a national network and resources such as professional development, commissions, and opportu- nities to collaborate and participate in public programs in Miami, New York, and Los Angeles. This is a natural evolution for YoungArts, and we are excited for the chance to have a longer lasting impact on our Winners.
WW: How do you see new initiatives like the 2017 first-ever commissioning program “Transformations” and the “In Process” residence program assisting in that goal?
CGJ: With “Transformations,” YoungArts has created an opportunity for our alumni to collaborate across disciplines; expressing serious and important themes through cinematic storytelling. These opportunities are rare for young artists—few resources are available for them to make risky and non-commercial work, yet it’s critical for emerging artists to have the time, space, and funding to push their practices in this way. Another new program, “In Process,” pairs alumni, also across disciplines, with the opportunity to collaborate in a residency setting (with a stipend) and the opportunity to perform at Ted’s at YoungArts.
WW: You went to law school in Miami and lived there for eight years, later founding Cannonball. How has it been returning to Miami?
CGJ: I’ve spent a lot of time here over these past eight years because my family is based here and I continue to serve as a member of the board of Cannonball. Miami has grown and evolved, becoming more international and culturally relevant. At the same time, it’s maintained the entrepreneurial edge and generous sense of community that I find inspiring as I work with our board and staff to create a vision for YoungArts’ exciting next chapter.
WW: What is your vision for building YoungArts’ relationship with the city of Miami?
CGJ: This is a critical part of my early work with YoungArts. I don’t believe any community organization can be healthy and relevant without cultivating an honest and open dialogue with its local and national peers. I’m spending time with local arts and culture leaders from both small and large organizations to get a sense of where Miami is today. I’m curious about the challenges and the opportunities and I’m hoping that as I work through these conversations I’ll be able to craft an authentic and useful vision for the role YoungArts can play from a community partner standpoint. Our new and past Winners will be spending more time with us in Miami as we continue to develop the YoungArts campus and the new alumni program, which will launch next fall. We want our alumni to have as much interaction with the Miami community as possible, which I believe will only serve to enhance our shared cultural experience while giving our young artists a chance to work in and respond to Miami’s unique ecosystems.
WW: This year, during the week of Art Basel in Miami Beach, YoungArts’ Jewel Box will showcase an exhibition with José Parlá, “Roots.” Can you tell us more about the installation?
CGJ: José is one of our favorite Master Teachers. His generosity with the students is unbounded. He opens the doors to his studio, often sharing paintings that have never been seen, and openly discussing his creative and technical process. No questions go unanswered. He’s a natural teacher and we all love him. We are excited to share his site-specific installation and the worldwide debut of new paintings and sculpture which will explore the intersections between his Cuban and American heritages.
To find out more about Miami Art Week 2016, pick up the new issue of Whitewaller Miami.