IFDA Florida’s Education Foundation Fundraiser was an inspiring day in the Miami Arts District including Windwood Walls, art galleries and an artist’s studio in Little Havana. We even learned about the fine art of cigar rolling at a local cigar factory.

We began our adventure at Conde Contemporary, a gallery in the Little Havana section of Miami that specializes in Cuban Contemporary Art.

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Above members Marsha Koch, Wanda Godz, Jeannie Coppers, Leah Keitz, Lynn Sicarrone, Beverly Stewart, Elizabeth Zecca, President Caroline Rogow, Stephanie Ferguson, and our host, Gallery Owner Stacy Conde.  Also joining us were several guests not shown and member Carol Teti Keesler.

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Our hosts were artist Andres Conde, who created a fabulous chair for our Take a Seat Auction and his wife,  Stacy Conde. (See an earlier post about Andres Conde, Meet the Artist Series at Decorative Crafts.) Here they pose beside a painting by Andres.  Stacy told us that when they opened their gallery they showed mainly Andres’ work but then realized there are so many amazing Cuban artists that really need to gain exposure in the United States, they began to showcase and represent them with great success.

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Above is just one of the beautiful pieces by a young Cuban artist Darian Rodriguez Mederas.  Just look at the detail in this close up.

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Above Stacy fascinates us with stories about how they discovered some of the artists.  We were also treated to authentic Cuban Coffee and pastries to get the day off to an energetic start. (Seen above are Stacy Conde, guests and members Lynn Sciarrone, Elizabeth Zecca, Wanda Godz, Beverly Stewart and President Caroline Rogow. )

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President Caroline Rogow could not resist a purchase for herself.  These wonderful pieces are by Andres Conde, our host.

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Take a peek behind the scenes at the studio where Andres creates his magic.

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Above, member Leah Keitz and her client and Andres contemplate one of the gallery’s paintings for a project as members look on.  We were fascinated by the soft sculpture figures in the window.  There was so much to take in. Wow what a perfect place for our first stop.

Next we strolled up the street to a local cigar factory and shop.

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What treat it was to see how these artisans worked.

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The owner’s mother Maria was trained in Cuba and has been honored to travel all over the world because of her craft.

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The gentleman in the photo above says he makes 100 cigars per day from tobaccos from many countries in Central and South America.  We found out that some of the tobacco used to wrap them comes from Connecticut!

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It was no surprise some of us just had to buy a few to take home as gifts. Above, members  Jeannie Coppers, Beverly Stewart, Lynn Sciarrone, Leah Keitz and host Stacy Conde watch in wonder.

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A short drive away is an arts district known as Wynwood.  As we approached the area we could not help notice that many of the buildings had incredible art painted on the outside.

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The art kept getting better and better and then we found ourselves at Wynwood Walls.

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Wynwood Walls was created by one generous person who bought all the buildings in one area and then invited artists to paint on the exterior walls, creating an outdoor art gallery.  It was incredible.

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Member Elizabeth Zecca can’t resist this photo op. Wouldn’t that mural make a beautiful fabric?

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Some of us could not resist going into this warehouse gallery and look what we found inside.

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Member and Surfer Girl, Jeannie Coppers considered riding the waves on one of these.  Below President Caroline Rogow is delighted to see one of her favorite things to say created into a work of art.

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It’s All Good….and it was all amazingly good!

We visited several more fantastic galleries, each more wonderful than the next.  We thought we had taken in all the art we could possibly see until our final stop, The Museum of Fashion.

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We were in for a treat.  This show is titled Out of Africa and was curated by gallery owner Keni Valenti. Below our gallery tour guide Myra Wexler introduces Keni as member Elizabeth Zecca captures the moment on film as others look on including Lynn Sciarrone, Wanda Godz, Carol Tete-Keesler and Beverly Stewart.

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Keni shared his history of collecting fashion for over 25 years.  These designs were a combination of vintage couture fashions combined with African textiles.  It was so intriguing.

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Above Keni tells the story behind each outfit in passionate detail.

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Our tour of the arts district was arranged by art patron Myra Wexler.  We can’t thank her enough for guiding us on this magic carpet ride into the world of art.  Above President Caroline Rogow and Myra Wexler are enthralled with the fashions in this wonderful exhibit.

What an incredible day we shared with each other and what a beautiful way to raise funds to benefit our IFDA Educational Fund!

We all took so many photographs.  I wish we could share them all!  Have you ever gone on an art walk?  How does art inspire you or the work you do?   Starting with the art is a wonderful  way to create a design scheme.  Have you ever begun a design plan based on the art that it will contain?

As always we invite you to share your experiences and inspirations in our comment box.  We look forward to hearing from you!