HistoryMiami’s South Florida Folklife Center is proud to present the Heritage Spotlight Series, an annual artist-in-residence program that highlights Miami-area traditional artists and cultures. Each year, the series showcases two individual artists or ensembles and their traditions. Participating artists share their art through public events, school programs, and multimedia products.
January – April 2023
Henry Linárez is a master of the cuatro, a small four-stringed guitar, who performs both traditional and contemporary Venezuelan music with his band, the Henry Linárez Ensemble.
September – December 2022
The Ukrainian Dancers of Miami perform Ukrainian folk dances, including traditional Avramenko dances and original pieces.
September – December 2021
Rose Max & Ramatis is a music duo specializing in the popular Brazilian music styles of samba, bossa nova, and chorinho.
January – April 2021
Delou Africa Dance Ensemble is a leading West African folklore company and artist collective of talented drummers, musicians, dancers, and storytellers.
September – December 2020
Susana Behar is a Cuban Jewish performer who sings the traditional Sephardic songs of her Turkish grandparents as well as Latin American folk songs.
January – April 2020
Master ceramic artist Apolinario “Polo” Ramirez practices an ancient Peruvian art form. Polo uses these traditional techniques to make contemporary designs inspired by nature and elements of Peruvian folklore.
September – December 2019
Seminole artist Pedro Zepeda is an expert dugout canoe carver specializing in a variety of traditional arts, including leatherwork, beading, patchwork, and basket weaving.
January – April 2019
Reza Filsoofi is an Iranian musician specializing in multiple instruments, including santoor and setar (stringed instruments) and daf and tonbak (percussion instruments).
September – December 2018
Puerta de Oro de Colombia is a music and dance ensemble showcasing the diverse folkloric traditions from Colombia’s distinct regions.
January – April 2018
Liliane Nérette Louis is a Haitian folk artist specializing in storytelling, cooking, and traditional medicine. She grew up in Port-au-Prince, Haiti where her mother told her stories in Haitian Creole.
September – December 2017
Born in Veracruz, Mexico, Alfredo Martinez is a dancer and musician with a passion for showcasing Mexico’s lesser known but vibrant traditional art forms.
January – March 2017
Originally from Portugal, Mannolie DiSantos is an expert beadwork artist who specializes in creating ritual items used in the centuries-old Afro-Cuban religion known as Lukumi or Santeria.
September – November 2016
Performer and choreographer Ranjana Warier began studying Indian Classical dance at the age of six. Trained by her gurus, Ranjana later founded the Rhythms School of Dance, a training center for the traditional art form.
April – June 2016
From Holguín, Cuba, Leandro Rojas is a master musician and instrument builder who specializes in the tres, a guitar-like instrument with three pairs of strings, and the primary instrument in the Cuban son genre.
January – March 2016
The Lee Boys are one of America’s most celebrated sacred steel ensembles, specializing in a little-known African American gospel music tradition thriving in South Florida.
October – December 2015
An expert textile artist, Nancy Billings specializes in art quilting and Jewish textile traditions, including chuppahs (wedding canopies), tallits (prayer shawls), and challah (bread) covers.
April – June 2015
A performer and choreographer, Clarita Filgueiras has spent a lifetime mastering the art of flamenco dance. Her passion for this Spanish tradition originates with her father and grandmother (both flamenco singers) and her mother, an expert in flamenco costume design.
January – March 2015
With a passion for celebrating Puerto Rican culture, Plena Es specializes in plena and bomba, percussion-driven musical traditions that reflect the island’s African heritage.
September – November 2014
Originally from Trinidad and Tobago, steel bands feature percussion instruments called “pans,” which are expertly crafted from oil drums. The 21st Century Steel Band is one of South Florida’s finest examples of these ensembles.
April – June 2014
Founded in Miami, Florida in 1994, the Flipside Kings are an acclaimed B-Boy dance crew. Over the past 20 years, the group has grown into a collective of artists that includes dancers, graffiti/visual artists, musicians, and educators.
January – March 2014
Based in South Florida, Bahamas Junkanoo Revue practices junkanoo, a Bahamian parade tradition that occurs on Boxing Day (December 26) and New Year’s Day.
September – November 2013
Founded by a collection of local Peruvian performers in 1999, dance and music ensemble Perú Expresión presents various expressive traditions, including those practiced by Afro-Peruvians.
April – June 2013
While growing up in Boston’s Armenian community, Joe Zeytoonian learned to play the oud, a Middle Eastern guitar-like instrument.
January – March 2013
Born in Haiti, Serge Toussaint is a Miami-based muralist and sign artist. His creations can be found in several parts of Miami-Dade County, including Little Haiti, a neighborhood that boasts a long-standing street art tradition.
September – November 2012
Mieko Kubota practices various Japanese traditions including ikebana (flower arranging), origami (paper folding), calligraphy and the tea ceremony.
April – June 2012
James Kelly, one of Ireland’s most renowned fiddlers, served as the artist-in-residence at HistoryMiami from April – June 2012. He learned the fiddling tradition from his father, a respected musician from County Clare.
January – March 2012
Ezequiel Torres served as our artist-in-residence from January through March 2012. Born in Havana, Cuba, he is a master drummer who specializes in the batá drum, a key instrument in the Afro-Cuban Orisha religion (sometimes referred to as Santería).