A major dispute over works of art has finally been decided in North Miami.
When board members left the city’s Museum of Contemporary Art, some 600 pieces of artwork were left in limbo. The city of North Miami, which owns MOCA, and the former board each laid claim to the art in a bitter battle that drew national headlines.
On Wednesday, in a joint released statement, both sides said they reached a settlement. Most of the artwork will remain at MOCA.
The primary election in Miami-Dade County was, for the most part, unremarkable. Voter turn-out was low, and there weren’t many contentious races
But at one North Miami precinct, every election is drama-filled.
Dozens of campaign volunteers lined the sidewalks around the Sunkist Grove Community Center on Northwest 125 Street and 13 Avenue.
They shouted at voters in English and Creole from bullhorns. They sprinted after unsuspecting drivers to shove fliers into their car windows. And they aggressively argued with one another over whose candidate will win.
In the quest for votes, candidates often vie for high profile endorsements.
In North Miami, the city has a history of mayoral candidates seeking and receiving endorsements from the son of the most high: Jesus Christ.
On Tuesday, campaign workers for North Miami mayoral candidate Jean Marcellus handed out fliers to voters with his picture and the word "Jesus" in bold blue print. The flier also had a declaration in French: "Victory in the blood of Jesus."
Marcellus was not immediately available for comment.
North Miami’s elections are typically drama-filled.
The upcoming mayoral election, triggered after former mayor Lucie Tondreau was arrested by federal agents and removed from office, is no different.
Three candidates are vying to replace Tondreau: Jean Rodrigue Marcellus, a former city councilman, Kevin Burns, a former two-term mayor and Dr. Smith Joseph, a local physician. All three men are familiar faces to voters; they ran for mayor last election against Tondreau.
Attorney Olivia Benson, legal counsel advising the city of North Miami, discusses the city’s next steps at a press conference Tuesday announcing the city has filed a countersuit against the Museum of Contemporary Art. MOCA sued the city earlier this month for breach of contract. MOCA is planning to move its collection to the Bass Museum of Art in Miami Beach.
The battle between the city of North Miami and the board of the Museum of Contemporary Art continued Tuesday as the city filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit filed by the MOCA board earlier this month, claiming that it is “legally deficient.”
The North Miami Police Department, code enforcement teams and even parks and recreation are joining forces in what are being called “building inspection sweeps.” The city says going in together as a team helps streamline code enforcement.
Three months ago, the roof of an apartment building in North Miami collapsed, displacing over 250 people from their homes. Though that was not the impetus for creating this coalition, city representatives said they learned from the accident.
Fans of the Museum of Contemporary Art in North Miami might soon need to cross the bay to their get art fix.
In a city council meeting Tuesday, North Miami Mayor Lucie Tondreau said she met with museum board members and learned of their plans to move MOCA's collections and operations to the Bass Museum in Miami Beach.
Both museums have not formally stated a plan to merge but officials have mentioned they are both in on-going conversations.
In the city of North Miami, a third of the population is of Haitian descent, and Creole-language radio is vital. During the lead-up to Tuesday’s runoff for city council and mayor, all kinds of election drama played out over the airwaves.
In North Miami, anyone running for office has no choice but to keep up with the latest chatter on the radio, regardless of whether they speak Creole. Many of the city’s Haitian residents rely on radio for their news and often take as gospel what radio hosts tell them—even when it’s not true.
In a White House ceremony Wednesday, the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in North Miami joined an elite group of just 69 museums to be awarded the National Medal for Museum and Library Service - one the nation's top seals of approval for museums and libraries.
"Well, I guess you could compare it to the Emmy's or Oscars," said Susan Hildreth, Director of the Institute for Museum and Library Service.