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Miami Dade College and CINTAS Foundation Announce 2012 - 2013 Winners

Cintas winners 2012 1

(L-R) CINTAS Foundation President Hortensia E. Sampedro, visual arts winner Jillian Mayer and MDC Museum and Galleries of Art + Design Director Jeremy Mikolajczak.

Miami, December 12, 2012 - Miami Dade College (MDC), home of the CINTAS Fellows Collection, and the CINTAS Foundation announced this year’s fellows for the annual CINTAS Foundation Fellowship competition at a special reception held at the college’s iconic Freedom Tower. The competition awards a $10,000 fellowship for each winner in three categories: visual arts, music and architecture.

The MDC Museum of Art + Design at the Freedom Tower will be showcasing the visual arts finalists’ works through Dec. 14. The exhibition is free and open to the public, during gallery hours. 

This year’s winners are:

2012 – 2013 CINTAS Foundation Award in Visual Arts: Jillian Mayer 

Jillian Mayer calls upon drawing, photography, video, online platforms, installation, and performance to enact scenarios of apathy, dysfunction and disillusionment. Born in Miami of Cuban parents and grand-parents, she earned a BFA from Florida International University. In 2010, her work was one of the 25 selections for the Guggenheim’s Youtube Play: A Biennial of Creative Video. Her work has also been exhibited at Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice, Italy; Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, Spain; and Deutsche Guggenheim, Berlin, Germany. Recent solo projects include Erasey Page at the Bass Museum of Art (2012). Mayer was recently featured in Art Papers and plans to publish a book soon. Mayer is a recipient of the South Florida Cultural Consortium's Visual and Media Artists Fellowship 2011.

Past visual arts fellows include Guillermo Calzadilla, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Carlos Alfonzo, Teresita Fernandez, Anthony Goicolea, Ernesto Oroza, photographers Andres Serrano and Maria Martinez-Canas, sculptor Maria Elena Gonzalez. 

2012 – 2013 CINTAS Foundation Brandon Fradd Award in Music Composition: Ailem Carvajal

Ailem Carvajal graduated in piano from the Habana National School of Arts (ENA), under the tutelage of Andrés Alén, and from the Institute of Advanced Studies of Cuba (ISA) in musical composition as a student of Carlos Fariñas and Harold Gramatges. Most recently, she studied at the Conservatory "A. Boito" in Parma, Italy with Luigi Abbate. 

Carvajal’s many compositions have earned her praise and been performed internationally, including in the U.S., France, Italy, Holland, and Spain. Most recently, Okán, her piece for mixed ensemble was commissioned by the Latin American Puente Sonoro Festival in New York in 2011. Carvajal is the recipient of numerous awards, including First Prize at the International Competition for Women Composers in Venice, Italy.

Past music fellows include Fabian Almazan, Sergio Barroso, Armando Bayolo, Mario Bauza (known as the father of Afro-Cuban jazz), José Bernardo, Aldo Rafael Forte, Orlando Jacinto Garcia Julián Orbon, and Tania León.  

2011 – 2012 CINTAS Foundation Award in Architecture: Marilys Nepomechie & Marta Canavas (joint application)

A college freshman drawing class led Marilys Nepomechie to the visual arts and a graduate degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her work taps the utopian gene, focusing on designs that render communities truly sustainable — financially, environmentally, culturally, and socially. An associate professor at Florida International University, she led the multi-disciplinary FIU 2011 Solar Decathlon Team, one of 20 selected world-wide to design, construct and operate a fully solar-powered home that will be displayed at the National Mall in Washington, D.C.  She also designs and guides students in designing affordable, sustainable housing for communities in need. 

Marta Canavés is chair of Landscape Architecture and an interdisciplinary design professor at FIU’s School of Architecture. In addition, she has provided curriculum consultancy to the Dade County Public School Board where she developed curriculum and program guidelines for the interdisciplinary tracks at DASH (Design & Architecture Magnet High School). Her recent collaborations with Nepomechie include invited low-cost rural housing in eastern Kentucky, urban infill and infrastructure for Smoketown / Shelby Park, Kentucky, infill housing for Little Haiti in Miami, and most recently an invitation to exhibit and present at the International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam. As a licensed interior design professional, Canavés has received awards for design, graphics and photography from AIA Miami, IDG, and the International Interior Design Association IIDA.

Past architecture fellows include Luis Calzadilla, Jose Bernardo, Andres Martin Duany, and Tomas Luis Lopez-Gottardi.   

About the CINTAS Foundation

The CINTAS Fellowship Program encourages creative development in architecture, literature, music composition and the visual arts. The Foundation was established with funds from the estate of Oscar B. CINTAS (1887-1957), the former Cuban ambassador to the United States, a prominent industrialist and patron of the arts. In June of 2011, the Cintas Foundation entered into an extended loan to MDC’s Art Gallery System (AGS) of the Cintas Fellows Collection, comprised of nearly 300 pieces by artists of Cuban descent living outside Cuba who have received prestigious Cintas Fellowships, awarded since 1963. For more information, visit

Miami Dade College

Miami Dade College has a long and rich history of involvement in the cultural arts, providing South Florida with a vast array of artistic and literary offerings including The Miami Book Fair International, the Center @ MDC, the Miami International Film Festival, the MDC Live! Performing Arts Series, the Cuban Cinema Series, the Prometeo Theatre, the Miami Leadership Roundtable speakers’ series, the Miami International Sculpture Park, a renowned art gallery system, several campus theaters, and the nationally recognized School of Entertainment and Design Technology. It is also the home of the National Historic Landmark Miami Freedom Tower.


For more information about the CINTAS program at MDC, please contact Jessica Brodsky at 305-237-7722, or

For more information about the exhibition, please call MDC’s Museum of Art + Design at 305-237-7700.

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
Alejandro Rios, 305-237-7482,

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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