On Wednesday I was super excited to pick up Laura the videographer from the Fort Lauderdale airport. My employer, Charles River, not only approved me for a 4 week paid sabbatical leave but also arranged for a videographer to document my journey. After settling into her hotel located in Miami, Florida we immediately went to work. Our first stop was to the famous Little Havana. It is a tourist destination and considered a Florida Heritage Historic destination. The Maximo Domino Park is located in the heart of Little Havana and I was proud to share with Laura that the backdrop was my father’s mural from the 1st ever Summit of the Americas which was held December 9-11th, 1994. The mural depicts then president Bill Clinton and 33 heads of state. My father was given a very short period of time to complete the massive mural. He worked with graphic designer Oscar Herrera and students from Miami’s Southwest High School in order to meet the deadline. Laura was able to capture the vibrancy of the mural and the environment that surrounded it.
While we were filming I met Parks & Recreation employee Miguel. He was excited to meet me and shared that people always asked about the artist and wanted to know what he looked like. I pulled out my phone and showed him a picture of my dad. He asked if it was okay if he printed my dad’s photo and displayed it at the welcome center office. I was blown away at the request and agreed, a minutes later we were exchanging information and I was emailing him my dad’s photograph.
Laura also was able to capture the art work located at my home as well as interview me regarding my sabbatical experience. I was able to share the many wonderful adventures and discoveries that occurred since I started my journey. We also visited the Belafonte TACOLCY center and interviewed CEO Horace Roberts in front of one of my father’s mural. We then went on to the History Miami Museum and was able to capture me listening to one of the audio interviews of my dad back in 1989. The audio file is currently a part of the museum’s folk art archive collection. I would like to send a special thank you to the History Miami Museum for allowing us to film onsite and to Ashley and Dawn for all their assistance.
Laura was able to truly capture the magnitude of this experience for me and the many people lives that my father touched with his art and his humanitarian heart. Friday photographed murals and was able to visit the historic Overtown Lyric Theater. A total of three pieces of my father’s art work is displayed in the gift shop and in the black archives reading room. We wrapped up the week with lunch with award winning photographer James Rush. He is the owner of Made You Look, LLC. He won medals for photographs that he took of my father’s murals. I was elated to see my dad’s artwork professionally displayed is beautifully matted frames ready to be mounted. I was blown away by his skills as a photographer and the all the images of my father’s art work that unfortunately are of buildings that have since been burned down, destroyed, painted over, or murals that are of need of repair. Each photograph highlighted the genius and sheer perfection and my father’s skills as a large scale billboard and mural artist.
If you have a private art piece or have worked with my father in the past, I would love to hear from you. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. To stay current with me and my projects, please visit my website at www.tashathomas.org and follow me on Instagram at @dr.tasha.thomas or look up #findingmyfatherspaintings #oscarthomassr