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Zen and the Art of Making, Making Music, Writing Poetry, & Building Community

An online arts series hosted by John Stuart, Associate Dean at FIU and Deborah Plutzik Briggs, VP of Arts at The Betsy Hotel.

Story by: The Betsy - South Beach

An online arts series hosted by John Stuart, Associate Dean at FIU and Deborah Plutzik Briggs, VP of Arts at The Betsy Hotel.


Presenting: Gidi Grinstein

July 20, 2020

TOM is a global venture inspired by a bold vision that seeks to improve the lives of 250,000,000 people through making. Its objective is to create and disseminate affordable physical and technological solutions to neglected challenges faced by people living with disabilities, the elderly and the poor. The TOM Global vision is to create a world in which technology and innovation allow every person access to affordable solutions for his, her or their needs. FIU MBUS is one of TOM”s University partners. Tikkun Olam Makers


Presenting: Nick Gelpi

July 27, 2020

Nick Gelpi is design principal and founder of GELPI Projects, an award winning architecture firm dedicated to engaging architecture through mockups, material representations and building concepts. Gelpi’s design practice has won numerous design awards, including two recent design awards from the American Institute of Architects Miami Chapter for built projects, first place in the international design competition for the Wynwood Greenhouse Park in Miami’s Wynwood Arts District, and in 2016 his design collaboration with artist Markus Linnenbrink, titled House Paint Pavilion was nominated for a Mies Crown Hall of the Americas Prize(MCHAP) at the Illinois Insititute of Technology in Chicago. In 2014, Gelpi received a CURBED YOUNG GUNS award naming him one of the top 10 Young Designers in America. He is currently an Associate Professor of Architecture at Florida International University in Miami, and has previously held teaching positions at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, The Ohio State University, and Columbia University.  Gelpi holds a graduate degree from Columbia University and a Bachelors of Architecture from Tulane University. Gelpi trained professionally in the New York office of Steven Holl Architects., he is a licensed architect in the state of Florida and since 2016, has been serving on the Planning Board for the City of Miami Beach.


Presenting: Julie Marie Wade and Joy Ladin

August 3, 2020

A poetry reading and conversation with two leaders in the LGBTQ Literary movement

Julie Marie Wade - Dr. Wade is a member of the faculty in FIU Creative Writing.  She earned a PhD in Interdisciplinary Humanities from the University of Louisville in 2012 and Master of Fine Arts in Poetry from the University of Pittsburgh in 2006, specializing in memoir, lyric essay, poetry, experimental/hybrid forms, and queer literature. Julie Marie Wade’s poetry is included on The Betsy Poetry Rail – a work of public art, located adjacent to the Betsy façade, that celebrates 12 writers who shaped Miami.   

Joy Ladin - Dr. Joy Ladin is an accomplished poet and professor of English and holds the Gottesman Chair in English at Yeshiva University. She received her PhD at Princeton, MFA in creative writing from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and BA from Sarah Lawrence College.  Ladin is the first openly transgender tenured professor at an Orthodox Jewish institution in the world. Special interests are creative writing, expository writing, creative non-fiction, American poetry, gender studies and Jewish studies.    Dr. Ladin is an alumna of The Betsy Writers Room artist in residency program.   


Presenting: Carole Ann Taylor

August 10, 2020

Carole Ann Taylor is everything to so many Miamians and to changemakers around the country - for so many different reasons and in so many different ways. She is an entrepreneur, civic leader, and professional singer who opened up Little Havana’s first souvenir shop.  She is also the longest-serving board member on the board of Viernes Culturales, one of Miami’s monthly arts festivals. Taylor was born in Connellsville, Pennsylvania, where she started taking music lessons as a child and grew up singing in church choirs, the daughter of a Baptist minister. Her father was a civil rights activist; her mother an active community volunteer. In Miami, then Mayor Maurice Ferré hired Carole Ann to assist him in community outreach. In 1987, she let her job in public service in order to open up a shop in the newly developed Bayside Marketplace in downtown Miami. Then she opened up Little Havana’s first souvenir shop, and later shops in other sites including Miami International Airport. She also became an active member of the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau (GMCVB), consistently advocating for cultural heritage tourism that would benefit Miami’s neighborhoods. Carole Ann  maintains her involvement in civic affairs, serving as a board member of the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Chair of the Multicultural Tourism Committee of the GMCVB (and as a member of its Executive Board), WDNA Jazz Radio and Viernes Culturales. She is also a ‘regular’ in The Betsy’s LIVE Jazz program – and has a huge following of adoring fans!

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