The vibrant colors of Caribbean culture were on full display, Saturday, April 8th at Island SPACE Caribbean Museum.
Guests of all ages from the Caribbean region, and from far beyond — nearly 600 people over the course of the day — passed through the facility’s new location. They explored the archive and the Women Warriors-themed exhibition of art and Caribbean sheroes that were on display.
The day started with a performance by the Winston Park Elementary Steel Band, followed by a ribbon cutting by Island SPACE board president, Calibe Thompson, executive director, Steven Meza, and past president David I. Muir. Muir and Thompson are co-founders of the museum.
The first 50 guests received welcome packages, including promotional swag from some of the museum’s partners, including FPL and The Bahamas.
The children thrilled the crowd with their renditions of songs like “Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot,” and enjoyed a bit of Kumina-inspired cultural Jamaican dancing led by “Queen” Maxine Osborne.
For the remainder of the day, former Island Space President, David Muir led group tours through the archive, ending in the gallery area, affectionately known as “The Verandah.” There, on display, was artwork by Michelle Drummond and Krystle Sabdul of Jamaica, and Sonya Sanchez-Arias of Trinidad and Tobago — part of the “Earth, Water and Skin: Caribbean Women in Art” exhibit, and information panels as part of the “Caribbean Sheroes” cultural exhibit supported by the Community Foundation of Broward.
In the Caribbean heritage museum’s bonus room, guests enjoyed snacks of bun and cheese, as well as patties donated by a local Golden Krust restaurant, and drink refreshments provided by museum partner Grace Foods. In the bonus room, guests also enjoyed games of dominoes and Ludo — traditional Caribbean pastimes.
Museum partners, The Bahamas and the Jamaica Tourist Board, had a presence, greeting guests with authentic island vibes.
At the conclusion of the public portion of the day, the room was reset to receive a gathering of select community partners and leaders for a private reception.
Muir expressed to the packed room the importance of Caribbean culture and the Caribbean community, particularly in the South Florida landscape. “One in four South Floridians was born in the Caribbean,” he shared. “So representation matters.”
VIPs in attendance included Angelica Rosas of funding organization the Community Foundation of Broward, Camila Clark and Neki Mohan from Visit Lauderdale, Broward County’s tourism marketing agency, and Dr. Solanges Vivens, sponsor of the museum’s spectacular new entry signage.
The evening’s program was hosted by Lasana Smith, founder of GAROI Media and a board member at Island SPACE, and Commissioner Winston Barnes of the City of Miramar and WAVS Radio. Queen Maxine did a final cultural presentation for the evening, and Thompson closed the evening with a speech appealing to the audience for their support, partnership and contributions.
“When people walk in,” she said of the new location, “they feel like they have a connection to the region. People walk by and they stare, or they ask whether they can come in, or they’re fascinated by the idea of a place that represents them; that represents the culture that they left behind when they chose America.”
Guests enjoyed ice cream from Mr. Flavors, coffee from Xaymaca Coffee Traders, welcome punch presented by Barbados, in support of their upcoming Food and Rum festival, and delicious hors d’oeuvres provided by Sarita Martine Bistro.
Guests left, invigorated and inspired, looking forward to the many and varied programming activities on the museum’s upcoming calendar.