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By Verónica Bouza

From May 13 - 15, Carlos Albizu University will welcome Art Fest @ Doral, an art festival that will be a celebration for the entire family, where children and adults will be able to enjoy an extensive and diverse program of activities. This is an excellent opportunity to experience three days of art, culture and wholesome entertainment.

Art Fest @ Doral is an initiative of the Rotary Club of Doral. It has come into fruition thanks to the vision of Felipe E. Madrigal, who founded this area’s Rotary Club in 2004. Madrigal soon noticed the absence of cultural spaces and initiatives in the city of Doral. In 2005 he created this festival along with Noel Santiesteban, a Cuban multidisciplinary artist with extensive experience in the organization of exhibitions and cultural programs.

Noel Santiesteban and Felipe E. Madrigal with Doral Police Explorers.

Each year the festival brings together visual artists from different disciplines as well as authors, poets, musicians, actors and singers in a mega event that the public can attend free of charge. The Rotary Club of Doral enlists a significant number of corporate sponsors, notably Leo Pérez, a South Florida Toyota concessionaire, who is also an art collector. These sponsors contribute the necessary resources not only to hold this celebration for the arts, but also to contribute to charitable works - a portion of the funds collected is destined for the acquisition of educational materials, books, dictionaries, etc. to support education in Doral’s schools and also to aid orphanages in Central America. This splendid initiative adds to the work that the Rotary Club has charitably developed throughout the world since it was established in Chicago in 1905.

The festival, which in previous editions has boasted daily public attendance of over 1500 people, includes a significant program of cultural events including children’s art classes with sessions in painting, clay modeling, printmaking and photography. There is also a mega exhibition in which professional artists from several countries gather to present their work.

Photos courtesy Art Fest @ Doral

On view will be paintings, sculpture, drawing, prints, photography, and jewelry, among other artistic disciplines. The following artists will participate in Art Fest @ Doral 2011: Ana María Sarlat, Mario Almaguer, Antuán Rodríguez, Guillermo Portieles, Tomás Esson, Sergio Payares, Noel Santiesteban, Rogelio Serrano, Pedro Vizcaíno, Laura Luna, Miguel Fleitas, Rafael Consuegra, Boris Hernández, Yovanis Bauta, César Beltrán, Alicia Erminy, Diana Albadan, Marta Estrems, Adela Romero, Eumelia Castro, Verónica Grassi, Carolina Solórzano, Yanina Monti, Alexia Puche, Arturo Palomino, Andrés Jiménez, Yosvany Rodríguez, Ernesto Capdevila, Guillermo Caminos, Roberto Gorki, Lorenzo Moya, Reinaldo González, Nelson Calzadilla, Carlos Masis, Octavio Cuellar, Frank Izquierdo, Gabriel Gutiérrez, María Cristina Llanos, Patricia Winston, among others. A jury comprised of artists and art critics will award a prize to a creator from each artistic discipline. The members of the jury include Ana Candioti, Alejandro Sainz, Said Bazze, Ruben Pares, Sergio Lastre and Juan de Lara, among others.

The festival has invited other local artists and artisans who will show and sell their work in tents in the gardens of Carlos Albizu University. There will also be an exhibition of artworks created by talented students selected from among Doral’s schools.

Photos courtesy Art Fest @ Doral

Another of the exhibitions taking place during the three days of the festival is the presentation of the most recent collection from the Taller de Grabado Santiesteban Print Schmidt. Also on exhibit will be “Giants in the City,” directed by artist Alejandro Mendoza. It consists of a group of huge inflatable sculptures created and designed by Miami artists. With these colorful sculptures, their creators intervene in the urban landscape and bridge the gap between art and daily life.

Festival visitors will be able to enjoy dance presentations in which local children’s groups will show off their abilities. There will also be a program of classical music concerts that in previous editions has included a performance by the Miami Youth Symphony Orchestra. Popular music will be present with the performance of the renowned Cuban musician Roberto Garrido. Videos of Floyd the Rock Artist will be projected with music by the composer Edesio Alejandro, recently nominated for a Latin Grammy award for the documentary 100 Sones Cubanos.

Young people will enjoy an excellent music program with performances by G2 and Siamese Blu, and on Saturday, May 14 there will be a concert with the band The Melting Pot of the Sounds. This band is conducted by Cuban composer and instrumentalist Michael Gil, who has composed music for the cinema and theater and has created audiovisual projects with artists Nedine del Valle and Eduardo Valladares. The Melting Pot of the Sounds transcends folklore, styles and eras. Its musical offering combines instruments from various times and cultures, spanning from the sounds of ancestral cultures to the most contemporary avant-garde, passing through classical music.

Photos courtesy Art Fest @ Doral

This year Art Fest @ Doral will offer an interesting cinematographic program that includes the presentation of the Argentinean full-length film La Soledad directed by Maximiliano González and the documentaries El Santo Pájaro, Fation and Portrait produced by Handyman Films. Other movie directors showing their work at this festival are Ubaldo Medina of Orange Bite and the Cuban director and documentarian Javier Echeverría. Furthermore, documentaries by Pixie Productions will showcase the work of various local artists. This production company also prepared the festival’s promotional video on this occasion.

On Friday, May 13, Art Fest @ Doral will honor the cultural endeavors of local personalities like the author, historian and poet Salvador Larrúa and the caricaturists Arístides and Pancho Varela. Another of the honorees will be the sculptor Rafael Consuegra, who has contributed to the education of various generations of artists in the city of Miami. Festival attendees will be able to enjoy a display of part of his prolific oeuvre.

The Rotary Club and the sponsors of this event have contributed numerous prizes to hold a raffle that will award from electronic appliances to trips and vacation packages to the attending public. Visitors will enjoy entertaining and enriching activities in a relaxed family environment.

Art Fest @ Doral is an expression of the altruistic work of the Rotary Club of Doral, which has a considerable number of members and volunteers of all ages.

Art Fest @ Doral. May 13 - 15, 2011. Carlos Albizu University. 2173 NW 99th Avenue. Miami, 33172. Hours: Opening Reception: Friday May 13, 2011, 6:00 pm. Open to the public 8:00 - 11:00 pm. Saturday May 14, 2011: 10:00 am - 12:00 pm. Sunday: 10:00 am - 6:00 pm. For more information: Noel Santiesteban 786-444-0475 / Felipe Madrigal 305-298-5917. Admission to all activities is free of charge.