📸 Photo by Jeancarlos Fernandez
Hi Yady! Who are you? What do you do?
Hello! I am a museum curator at the Frost Art Museum, a.k.a. FIU’s art museum. As a curator, I wear many hats: organizing museum exhibitions, providing supplemental research and writing, giving tours to student groups, and developing a good chunk of our digital experiences, to name a few.
What neighborhood(s) are you reppin’?
Kendall. Or as my best friend and I (and literally nobody else) (no matter how hard I try to make it stick) like to call it, K-TOWN.
What brings you most alive about the 305?
The pace of life. It’s fast but not too fast. It’s never frowned upon to spend an entire Saturday in a pool, doing very little except giggle with my nieces and nephews.
What’s your favorite Miami memory?
I grew up in an apartment complex behind a Winn-Dixie Supermarket. Whenever my parents needed to do a grocery run, they’d take a secret iron gate that was exclusively accessed by people living in our complex. You needed a key and everything. When I was a child, this was my favorite trip. There was a gravel footpath along this meandering canal (which occasionally had alligators) and then BOOM, you were inside the shopping plaza. I used to feel like a secret spy on these trips.
If you could eat only one meal from a local restaurant for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Not a restaurant, but my mom’s cooking is the best in the world. We are Dominican, but she learned to cook primarily from a Haitian woman. My mom’s cocido (garbanzo-based soup) is my favorite dish of all time.
Besides eating a bowl of mom’s cocido, how else would you spend your perfect Miami day?
My favorite Miami day definitely includes a beach trip. If it’s Miami Beach, I prefer driving a bit north, near 41st Street. Another destination I love is Mister O1 in Brickell. Whenever I have friends and family visit, I take them there, not only for the food but for the scenic location, which is particularly the case during the Saturday markets. Not sure if I would squeeze this all in one day, but I must mention Taco Chundito, an amazing Mexican food truck located in Hialeah.
What’s your favorite local social media account and why?
@art.seen.365. Dainy does a great job of documenting and sharing an incredible range of art happenings around the city year-round! (Not just during Art Week.) (Plus, it helps that she’s a sweetheart.)
If you could give any one piece of advice to locals, what would it be?
Not sure that I’m in a position to dish out advice, I’m not even 30 yet! But personally, I think it’s important to appreciate Miami for what it is: an incredibly unique and diverse American city.
How does Miami help you do what you do or influence your work?
The work I do at the museum is largely mission-based. For us, it’s important to serve our immediate community — especially because we are out in the suburbs. It’s a privilege for me to be a museum professional in the city I grew up in because it allows me to share genuine intimacy with our direct audience. I was trained in Chicago, and would often find myself yearning to bring my scholarship to Miami communities who don’t often spend time looking at art (like my family, who first visited a museum when I started working in one.) The Miami experience is at the core of the storytelling we do. For instance, all our signage and didactics are bilingual.
If there was one thing you could change, address, etc. about Miami, what would it be?
Rent prices. (Sigh.) And I suppose more trains would be nice.
What are you looking forward to between now and the end of the year?
I’m excited to see how the diverse art practices found here continue to evolve.
That’s a wrap on this week’s Locals to Know. Know someone who ought to be featured or would like to be featured yourself? Reach out by sending an email to [email protected] with the subject line “TNT Locals to Know 2023.” If chosen, you might just see yourself or a friend in a future newsletter.