Huge Public Sculpture, Art Center Planned For Little Haiti

Viter Juste (15 December 1924- 19 November 2012), a Haitian-born businessman, an American community leader and activist is considered as the father of the Haitian American community in Miami. In earlier times "Little Haiti" (founded by Juste in the early 1980's), the present heart of the Haitian diaspora in Miami, was historically known as Lemon City. Juste, to describe the place in an article published in the Miami Herald, first coined the name, "Little Port-au-Prince." The editor of the newspaper found the name too long and shortened it as "Little Haiti."

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Today, the signs of Little Haiti's impending transformation are evident everywhere. A bronze statue of General Toussaint L'Ouverture, the father of Haitian independence, stands at Northeast 2nd Avenue and 62nd Street in the heart of "La Petite Haiti." The spot of Wendy's restaurant on NE 62nd Road in Little Haiti, while maintaining own typical character, will be very soon transformed into a space of $2.5 million cultural arts center with art studio and exhibition area with a courtyard and an eatery. The project as envisaged will be completed in 2017 as per the imaginations and thoughts of two Venezuelans, artist Miguel Prypchan and lawyer Francisco Herretes. They are working to protect cultural heritage and expand valuable green and public gathering space of Little Haiti.

Miguel Prypchan, who is a native of Venezuela, said he was captivated by Haiti. His home country Venezuela and Haiti, both are homes to beautiful and peaceful mountains and they share old ties. He is presently working on in an abstract interpretation of mountains since February 2016, which would create a new language and a colorful, eye-catching representation of mountains. He was in Haiti on a one month tour to gain inspiration to complete his small-scale model as well as a large-scale project-- an abstract mountain structure for Miami. In February 2016, he has started the large construction, an urban median intervention project, which would be installed at NE 2nd Avenue & NE 62nd Street and he expects that to be completed by the beginning of the next year. The place will be transformed into a pearl like, multi colored iron mountain range shining with warm, tropical chartreuse, indigo, and fuchsia.

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