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Diaspora Vibe Cultural Arts Incubator

Miami, FL

To emerge as an artist of any kind is a task not to be endured by the faint of heart; to emerge as an artist from a marginalized social spectrum with the added burden of immigration and public stereotypes from both the artistic peer and the ever judgmental critical sphere, not to mention the skepticism of the collectors, is a road travelled by few.  It is the ongoing mission of Diaspora Vibe Cultural Arts Incubator (DVCAI) to provide guidance, resources, and opportunities for artists who have put themselves in the fight for cultural capital and survival, specifically those from the African diaspora struggling to breakthrough into the established arts community of Greater Miami, the Southeast Region, the National scene, and across the Globe.

Since the inception of the Diaspora Vibe Gallery (DVG) in 1996, it has long been our goal to establish an organization with strong leadership, solid financial positioning, and a firm human resource platform, which will support the organization’s artistic mission, continued programmatic development and position DVG to have an ongoing impact within the greater arts community in Miami-Dade. Moving from a simple personal aspiration to Diaspora Vibe Gallery (1996), then transforming into DVCAI and obtaining 501(c)(3) status in 2003, this organization has exhibited a continual and consistent pattern of institutional growth.  Over the last twenty years, funds development, donor cultivation, and expanded partnerships have been at the heart of annual and strategic plans.  Past and recent community partners include the Bakehouse Art Complex, Miami Light Project, Miami Art Museum (PAMM), the Black Archives, The Bass Museum, Funding Arts Network, Miami-Dade County, Design and Architecture Senior High School, University of Miami, Haitian Cultural Arts Alliance, the Broward Library, Andy Warhol Foundation, The Ford Foundation, The Knight Foundation and the State of Florida.  

Through continued programming, DVCAI has provided over 1,500 Afro-Diasporic artists the opportunity to use dedicated workspace to develop, create, and refine new works of artistic expression without the constraints of mainstream aesthetics and preconceived, societal definitions of “fine art.”  Artists have included Hank Willis Thomas, Asser St. Val, Deborah Jack, Ayanna Jolivet McCloud, Erman Gonzalez, Jorge Rojas and Dinorah de Jesus Rodriquez, Deborah Willis, to name but a few; exploring mediums from conventional oils on canvas to contemporary site specific performance art with audience participation and response.  All artists have the commonality of self-expression; beyond that there methods are wide open.  Participating artists have always been held to a high standard, selected through invitational, and juried means with special attention placed on the inclusion of a Afro-diasporic of emerging artists who struggle to find recognition in Miami’s established cultural infrastructure.  The incubator is committed to the precept that the arts are essential to an open, enlightened democracy. Culture is a basic need and motor for change.

DVCAI promotes local emerging artists on a national and international level. DVCAI exhibited in the Birmingham Alabama Space One Eleven Space; The Moengo Art Festival in Suriname and Carifesta Festival in Haiti; Jamaica Biennial and The Havana Biennial. In 2016, artist Jacqueline Gopie was selected for the Joan Mitchell Artist Fellowship Award, Wura Natasha Ogungi in 2015 for the Guggenheim Fellowship and five DVCAI artists have earned Fulbright Scholarships to Jamaica, Nigeria, Ghana, Korea and Brazil. DVCAI continues to collaborate with the following local organizations; The Betsy Writer’s Salons, The Deering Estate, Miami Dade College, Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami, The Adrienne Arsht Center, Design and Architecture Senior High School, The National Young Arts Foundation, Florida Memorial College, and Cannonball Miami.

The DVCAI archive is housed in the special collection of the University of Miami and is open for cross-disciplinary study. The DVCAI archive holds information on all of our programming since 1996. In 2016, DVCAI served 30 artists with residency and experimentation and discourse and performance opportunities. With self-assessment and resulting organizational growth mapping and archival programming documentation, during our twentieth year of celebration, DVCAI awarded five local artists with $5000 each to dedicate time to think, experiment, and focus on research and creative art making.

DVCAI was supported in part by Miami Dade Department of Cultural Affairs the Knight Foundation and the WEGE Foundation.