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MDC’s West Campus opens first public art gallery in Doral

"The Surface - Beneath and Beyond" An exhibition of Miami-based artists
MDC’s West Campus opens first public art gallery in Doral

Miami, November 12, 2007 - Donna Lee Steffens wants to disclose family secrets. Javier Gonzalez is fascinated by the flame that ignites life. Luis García-Nerey makes tower sculptures that represent the cluster of new buildings in Miami. Together with four other Miami-based artists, they make up The Surface – Beneath and Beyond, a bold art exhibition on display at Miami Dade College’s (MDC) West Campus through Jan. 31, 2008.    Friday, Nov. 9, was a special day for Toni Bilbao, executive director at the West Campus, who at last saw one of her dreams realized with the opening of West Art Gallery, the first public gallery in the City of Doral. Bilbao is a member of the City of Doral Cultural Affairs Advisory Board and an artist as well. 

“At West Gallery, students will have the opportunity to experience art from a wide variety of artists and styles, and to submit their own work to annual juried student exhibitions as well,” said Bilbao. “It also serves as a vital and vibrant art space for the community to view defined key movements and tendencies in the arts through exhibitions, conferences, workshops, gallery walks, concerts, video, and film.”

The opening reception, sponsored by the Cultural Affairs Advisory Board, drew in dozens of art lovers and MDC supporters, such as City of Doral Mayor Juan Carlos Bermudez.

“I think it’s fantastic,” said Juan Carlos Bermudez, City of Doral mayor. “As a city, we are honored that Miami Dade College chose Doral, and to open this gallery gives us an opportunity to emphasis art and culture.”   

The Surface – Beneath and Beyond is a collection of art, photos, sculpture, and installation work that delves into the human psyche, explores stereotypes and taboo topics.

Steffens was inspired by her two autistic children and the way they are sometimes treated as if they don’t exist. Her installation, titled “Family Secrets,” included a photograph of four white t-shirts hanging from a clothes line, each depicting a controversial issue. Family portraits with some of the faces removed were placed on a black, wooden cabinet and live versions of the same white-shirts were neatly folded inside its drawers.   

Gonzalez said his video installation – images of charcoal drawings, the scratchy sound of a match upon being struck and then a candle burning – is about the value of life. The Miami native teaches art at Bunche Middle School.

“In my work, life is represented by the light given from a seemingly insignificant tea candle,” said Gonzalez. “ 

Tere Pastoriza made a series of mini portraits, titled “What is Essential,” which explore the sense of self in human beings. Fellow artist, Nina Surel captured the feminine world with her Ma-Ma Doll display, a series of nine doll images with messages, such as “I’m adorable” and “I stand alone. Cuban-American artists Luísa María Mesa and Francisco J. Olazábal are also featured in the exhibition.     

The exhibition can be viewed Wednesdays and Fridays from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. through Jan. 31, 2008.

For more information, or to schedule an appointment during off gallery hours, please call (305) 237-8918.

Media-only contacts:
Juan Mendieta, 305-237-7611,, MDC communications director
Tere Estorino, 305-237-3949,, MDC media relations director
Sue Arrowsmith, 305-237-3710,, media specialist

Miami Dade College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate and baccalaureate degrees.
Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Miami Dade College.
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