Thursday , 24 July 2014
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Miami Beach Urban Studios (MBUS) — The New FIU Creative Think Tank

Miami Beach Urban Studios (MBUS) — The New FIU Creative Think Tank

Left to right: SOM Jazz Ensemble: Osvaldo Vargas (drums), Kennan Torgerson (saxophone), Jason Whitting (elect. Guitar), Cori Alexander (piano), and Carlos Itturalde (bass)

MBUS, a new addition to The College of Architecture + the Arts of Florida International University (FIU), is home to some very exciting programs and innovative learning opportunities for its students. The College is comprised of seven departments, ranging from Architecture, Landscape Architecture and Interior Architecture to Art and Art History, Communication Arts, Music and Theatre.

I had the pleasure of speaking with Dr. Brian Schriner, Chair of our Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce Arts and Culture Council, and Dean of the College, about the Miami Beach Urban Studios (MBUS) in the newly acquired 16,000 square foot space at 420 Lincoln Rd. Dr. Schriner explained that some of the reasons they have opened this satellite location is to integrate the Arts and Architecture students with the vibrant city of Miami Beach, and include practical experience via internships and community activities on Miami Beach. Through this program, the students will acquire a very different perspective from their studies on the main campus location in Miami.

“In this international and creative environment, our faculty will collaborate with prominent artists, scholars, and designers to offer our students an exceptional educational experience that is truly Worlds Ahead,” Schriner said.

The building itself is located in the center of the pulse of Miami Beach – Lincoln Road, at the main “artery” of Washington Ave. Creativity and artistic inspiration, paramount to every student in this College, are heightened by the energy and sensorial stimuli that abound in South Beach.

MBUS includes a public gallery, design studios, performance and rehearsal spaces, offices and class rooms. It is a notably well-designed space, with synergies enveloping the activities and physical needs of the diverse practices. For example, the rehearsal rooms are integral to the overall layout, yet allow for the requisite sound isolation from the surrounding student workspaces, which have an open format that is conducive to a more collaborative and multidisciplinary creative process.

One of the most exciting aspects of the MBUS is the new Office of Engaged Teaching, Scholarship, and Creative Activities (ETSCA), established by Dr. Schriner.

The focus of the Office of ETSCA is to leverage the Arts to “create, innovate and inspire a more beautiful, sustainable, healthy, and just tomorrow.” It is committed to research and activities that will impact the health and sustainability of local and global communities; it will bring together various FIU offices, local governments, business leaders, students, alumni and faculty to accomplish its mission.

“The establishment of the new ETSCA will certainly prove to be of great benefit to not only Florida International University, but the entire local community,” said Schriner.

The access to this location on Lincoln Rd has been made possible by the generosity of Ambassador Paul L. Cejas, for whom the main campus Architecture School Building is named. Astrong supporter of FIU for over twenty years, Ambassador Cejas is strongly committed to the future development of the Arts and Architecture. The new MBUS is an important testament to the possibilities of future innovations within these fields.

“Art and architecture are two passions of mine,” said Cejas. “I’m also passionate about FIU and nothing brings me greater satisfaction than playing a part in having arts and the university come closer to our community in a way that enhances both.”

Each discipline in The College of Architecture + the Arts draws on creativity and the connection of the world via art. The educational process draws from understanding the history of the respective subject matter, and bridging the present into the future of new developments. What better place to learn and innovate than in the heart of Miami Beach? The Arts and Culture Council is thrilled to support the efforts and successes of this new “think tank,” in particular as it aligns completely with our Mission Statement:

“To proactively enrich and elevate the importance and success of arts and culture within the City of Miami Beach.”