In a time where people continuously express the need to try and come together, they often do not know how to do it. The Institute of Contemporary Art Miami (ICA Miami) in its new Design District space is working on a solution through its commitment to offer open access public art to members from every community to enjoy year round. In this way art becomes the catalyst to bring people together from every walk of life.

Aside from bringing people together, the public benefit associated with public art includes the encouragement of discourse and critical thinking. As art exposes its admirers to thoughts and ideas created by people from many backgrounds, it can also open minds and create more appreciation for diversity.

ICA Miami opened at its new address in the center of the thriving Miami Design District on Dec. 1. Held that morning was the Inaugural Ribbon Cutting Ceremony, designed by the renowned creative visionary and event producer David Stark. An expert at creating events detailed with his touch of unforgettable splendor, Stark and his company produces the Whitney Museum of American Art Annual Gala. David Stark Design and Production was commissioned to create additional sublime event experiences at ICA Miami during the week.

During the Inaugural Ribbon Cutting Ceremony ICA Miami Founders, members from the Board of Trustees, political leaders, art patrons and students from Miami Charter Arts School and Gulliver Preparatory School were in attendance. Speaking at the event was ICA Miami Director Ellen Salpeter; Founder of ICA Miami who is also an American auto dealer and former owner of the Philadelphia Eagles, Norman Braman; Founder of ICA Miami and co-founder and co-owner of Design Miami and developer of the Miami Design District, Craig Robins; and newly elected Miami Mayor Francis Suarez.

Mayor Suarez greeted the audience with a quote by Sister Wendy Beckett, better known as “Sister Wendy.” Sister Wendy, a British nun, art historian and author has spoken out in support for gay marriage with the message that “God is love and perhaps both are presently not fully understood by human beings.”

Quoting Sister Wendy, Mayor Suarez told the audience, “A place where there are museums and libraries is a means to freedom.” Mayor Suarez pointed out, “We have a booming city but not too far from here is a part of the city that is hurting. This space brings both together in a place where everyone can benefit.”

Wearing a pair of boots that signaled “artistic bling,” Ellen Salpeter stressed the mission of ICA Miami as advancing the work of the Knight Foundation and “a space to grow families from beyond its walls.”

ICA Miami’s community engagement programs connect families and communities to contemporary art through workshops, artist residencies, and monthly programming developed around exhibitions. The programs at ICA Miami foster connection with local private schools, organizations and Miami-Dade Public Schools to contemporary art. Critical thinking is a goal that ICA Miami strives to encourage with its project-based workshops that use the theme of identity to provide a platform for participants, including K through 12 students, to think critically, not only of themselves but also their community.

Norman Braman spoke about the new ICA Miami location and commitment that the ICA Miami founders, board of trustees, executive team and staff have to the community. Partners, such as Cartier, have united with ICA Miami to support their community cultural mission.

Craig Robins emphasized the impact that cultural programs have on a community. “Neighborhoods become great places when there is culture.”

After the ribbon cutting ceremony, the audience was invited into the museum on a tour. In the courtyard, a mix of elected officials, ICA Miami founders and trustees, art patrons, press and high school students mingled while sipping complimentary coffee with a special New Orleans chicory twist, by Blue Bottle Coffee.

ICA Miami is open from Tuesday through Sunday from 11 am to 7 pm. To plan a visit to the museum, visit: