Miami Northwestern students tour Art Basel, Wynwood Walls and Pulse Miami

Surrounded by some of the most innovative artwork from around the world – the latest in digital media, film and photography to traditional painting and sculpture, graffiti murals and even human installations – Miami Northwestern Senior High School student Jeffery Green hardly knew where to look first.

“It was amazing,’’ said the senior art student who recently attended Art Basel Miami Beach and several of its satellite shows through a partnership between FIU’s The Education Effect and Moving the Lives of Kids Art Center (MLK Mural.)

“I liked a lot of the things I’ve seen and I was shocked by a lot of the things I’ve seen,’’ said Jeffery, one of 19 art and foreign language students who took part in the event. “I saw art made out of pencils. It was so cool. You can make art from anything.’’

For FIU dual enrollment art teacher Ruth Admire, who helped organize the trip, the day was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for kids from Liberty City to experience a slice of life they might not otherwise ever see.

“This is an opportunity to open their eyes to the world, to opportunities in the arts and to so many new thoughts, ideas and concepts,’’ said Admire, who teaches performing and visual arts at Miami Northwestern.

“It blew my mind,’’ agreed Asheny Murray, as she viewed a colorful ceramic squid. “It’s a really beautiful piece.’’

With more than 500 galleries onsite, an estimated 75,000 visitors from around the world and 20 satellite shows scattered throughout Miami Beach, downtown and the Wynwood art district, Art Basel is one of the largest and most influential art shows in the world. In addition to the main Art Basel event, Miami Northwestern students also toured Wynwood Walls and Pulse Miami.

Viewing an installation of silver and black birds’ wings, student Juwan Harding described the piece as an expression of freedom.

“What makes it art is (that) it expresses what he’s going through – the emotions of how the artist is feeling at the time,’’ he said.

Edward Rawson, the chief operating officer of MLK Mural, said he hopes the students return from the event inspired to create meaningful art themselves. MLK Mural has created a partnership with Miami Northwestern and The Education Effect to create service learning mural projects at the school, allowing students to work alongside professional artists and student volunteers from FIU.

“They will get to see some of the best art the world has to offer,’’ Rawson said. “A lot of young people have no idea what kind of amazing career opportunities there are in the arts, and providing them with this kind of exposure opens their horizons to what is out there and helps them find a path through education to get there.”

Miami Northwestern Principal Wallace Aristide said the trip was yet another opportunity for students to look beyond the world in which they currently live.

“I think this inspires the students and helps them make connections between careers in the arts and education because they go hand in hand,’’ Aristide said. “Once they become emerged in the craft and understand the career possibilities, it motivates them to work hard to achieve their goals.’’

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