A passionate advocate for the arts and former executive vice president of the New World Symphony, Victoria Rogers was recently selected as the vice president of arts at the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, a national organization dedicated to the promotion of journalism, media innovation, engaged communities and the arts. A native of Louisville, Ky., Victoria Rogers lived in Atlanta before settling in Miami. It is no surprise that as the daughter of a classical musician, her love of the arts was sparked at a young age where it became a vocation and avocation. When she is not traveling to Knight Foundation cities around the country, she likes to explore the area's public parks and gardens to "contemplate, relax, sketch, read or just be" or daytripping to the Everglades National Park. Here are Victoria's recommendations for how to spend a perfect day in Miami.
Victoria Rogers' Perfect Day in South Florida
We live in such a beautiful environment, it’s hard not to be outdoors all the time. So thankfully some of the best spots are combining the outdoors with arts and culture. You can start off with a kayak ride off the Deering Estate and then walk around the grounds and see the studios for their artist residency program (there’s also a theater on-site). Or go to Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden for a morning walk as the sun rises and catch their latest visual-arts installation between the palms and ferns.
You cannot have a trip to Miami without visiting the Perez Art Museum Miami. Be sure to check out the Project Galleries, where the museum commissions artists for experimental works. Finish up with a delicious lunch at Verde, overlooking Biscayne Bay. You’ll want to stay all day, but there is so much more to do.
Miami is a great place to see how the arts can reinvent neighborhoods, and Wynwood and Opa-locka are two excellent examples. Take time to see both. Wynwood, with its murals and galleries, draws the photo shoots and international visitors. But Opa-locka is gaining attention, a place where leaders have played off the traditional Moorish architecture, created by the city’s founder Glenn Curtiss, and engaged the community in creating some significant public art pieces and programming.
The Wolfsonian is one of those only-in-Miami institutions. What started as philanthropist Mickey Wolfson Jr.’s private collection has turned into an interesting place to spend an afternoon, looking at pieces from the Industrial Revolution to the Second World War that explore the persuasive power of art and design.
Whether it’s the Here and Now Festival, which showcases new works by Miamians, or the Nu Deco Ensemble, which is looking to reinvent the orchestra for the 21st century, the Miami Light Project gives you a look at what’s new and next in Miami culture. Plus, their facility, the Light Box at Goldman, is an incubator and space for artists to co-work and create together. Then grab takeout from Joe’s Stone Crab—its fried chicken is delish—and head over to Soundscape Park on a night when the New World Symphony is playing and simulcasting to the park outside via the Wallcast: 5,000 people, all ages, from all over our city, enjoying a night of music under the stars.
Catch a movie at O Cinema. Independent filmmaking is thriving right now in Miami, and independent theaters like O Cinema, Miami Beach Cinematheque, the Coral Gables Art Cinema and the Cosford and Tower Theater are helping to grow the audiences for great film here in Miami. Plus, it’s fun to see a film in such an intimate setting and feel rooted in the community.
Every week, Microtheater Miami, a project of the Centro Cultura Español, puts on a series of short plays in several shipping containers in Downtown Miami—yes, shipping containers. If you think O Cinema is intimate, try Microtheater. Wednesday and Thursdays the plays are in English, Fridays and Saturdays in Spanish, where they draw actors and writers from Miami’s "telenovela" (soap opera) industry. You can grab some food and drink in between shows and it quickly becomes a party. For those who like a late night, Microtheater offers a special bonus session Fridays and Saturdays, offering seven plays from 11 pm to 1 am.