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garden 391 Susie Jim Billie, Seminole Medicine Woman

Posted By Kevin Espinoza, Friday, April 25, 2014
Susie Jim Billie is a Seminole medicine woman who’s rich knowledge help cure several people from her tribe and others. Born in 1895 and died in 2003, Susie Billie learned all of her knowledge of medicine and chants, rituals, and ceremonies from her father and grandfather, who they themselves were medicine men of their tribe. I plant this garden in her name because she is one of the many people that make up Florida’s rich heritage. From Hispanics to Natives, Florida’s history will forever remember Susie Billie for the contributions that she has shared with us. This garden not only represents Susie Billie but also represents a piece of Florida. Even to this day her rituals and practices live on in the Big Cypress Reservation along with many of her family members like her daughter who also has learned the full knowledge of medicine from her mother. Another reason as to why Susie Billie was such an important Floridian is because she gave insight on medical practices used today. During her time labeled the Territorial Days, Susie Billie helped cure those not from there lands and worked with doctors so to educate them on the land and how to be healed by it. Susie Billie is an amazing woman and received a Folk Heritage award for her contributions, knowledge, and insights on the world of medicine in Florida. 

16500 NW 87th Ave Miami Lakes FL 33018

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Posted By Jose Ulfe, Wednesday, April 23, 2014

"Edge Garden"

Garden location: 10333 SW 76th Street, Miami FL

I’m dedicating this garden at Kendalltown to George E. Edgecomb. This man was an important Floridian because he was the first African American Assistant State Attorney, and in 1973, became the county’s first African American Circuit Judge. He lived in Tampa, where his legal career was a success. In a time when white males dominated all aspect of legal and political careers, George made his way up the ladder.

George died at the age of 33, in 1976. This is another reason to dedicate this garden to him. He did so much as an African American, as a person in general and he was so young. Unfortunately his life ended early because he had so much potential to continue making his way up in the legal world.

Obama, is our first African American president and he was elected in the year 2008. African Americans have gained equal rights and opportunities in this country thanks to early pioneers like George. People who wanted to chase their goals when they have a lot of struggles ahead deserve credit.

This garden will reside in Kendalltown where there aren’t many gardens at all. I’m going to take care of it for others to see and acknowledge. My goal is that it will gain attention so that others may be encouraged to plant gardens alongside it. I’m hoping to lead the way in an effort to make the location more beautiful with nature. George led the way in his own right, and I’m hoping to do something similar.

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Garden 475 - Guy Metcalf

Posted By Alexa R. Chavarry, Tuesday, April 22, 2014

I am dedicating this garden to Guy Metcalf, an Ohioan who is very important to South Florida, and the newspaper system we have today. Metcalf founded the Indian River News in Melbourne, FL on February 24, 1877. Indian River News was very soon renamed Tropical Sun, then moved to West Palm in 1895. Tropical Sun was the first newspaper, and the only newspaper in South Florida north of Key West. Tropical Sun was a source of hope for the people of South Florida, because until its publishing, newspapers from New York would take 40 hours to travel down via railroad, whereas a newspaper written and designed in the area would display news far sooner and more locally accurate. 

Guy Metcalf was very important at this time of Floridian history, because around 1898, when the Spanish-American War posed a threat to Florida, he decided to take initiative and insisted that guns be mounted to protect West Palm hotels.

Although very important to Florida’s current newspaper system, Metcalf was rumored to have a very short temper. When he was passionate about something, his fuse was short and his tongue was quick. Tropical Sun’s main publishing competition was the Gazetteer, and Metcalf had actually feuded with their publisher several times.

I believe that the reason Metcalf was so short-tempered with the publisher of the Gazetteer was due to his immense passion for news and helping others. He served as mayor in 1904 and 1905, and pushed for the separation from Dade, eventually establishing Palm Beach County. He also became Palm Beach County schools’ second superintendent. He was a pioneer for newspaper and education, and I do believe that this garden is accurately dedicated.

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GARDEN 200 Blanche Armwood, Educator, Community Activist, Civil Rights Activist

Posted By madeleine salazar, Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Blanche Armwood was born on January 23, 1890 in Tampa, Florida. She was an educator and activist who worked to improve conditions for African Americans and women. I didn't even know this person existed before this project but she is such an inspiration to all women. Having surpassed so many obstacles to be able to go to school due to discrimination, she then dedicated her life to helping others in unfortunate situations as well.
She taught in the Florida public school system, was active in many organizations and was the first African American female from Florida to graduate with a law degree.

She also served as assistant principal at Tampa’s Harlem Academy School. Soon after, she was appointed as the first Supervisor of Negro Schools by the Hillsborough County School Board. During her tenure as Supervisor, Armwood established five new school buildings, increased black teacher salaries and extended the school year for blacks from six to nine months. She is also credited for establishing the Booker T Washington High School in 1926 for black youth in Tampa. This amazing  career she had improving education is why I chose to plant my seeds by Eagle Point Elementary, I didn't plant them directly on the school's property because I wasn't sure if I was allowed. However it is in a spot that most students walk by on their commute to school.The students can walk past the garden dedication and can appreciate that Blance Armwood is part of the reason their school system is the way it is today. Even after her death in 1939 she was honored years later by the state of Florida. In 1984, Congressman Michael Bilarkis and the Florida House of Representatives paid tribute to Armwood’s legacy. That same year, Blanche Armwood Comprehensive High School in Tampa was opened in her honor, today the school is called Armwood High School. She was truly an amazing human being and an inspiration to all.

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GARDEN 472 Eva Mack, Health Educator and Community Leader

Posted By Joshua Carisma, Tuesday, April 22, 2014

West Kendall District Park
11255 SW 157th Ave, Miami, FL 33196

I am dedicating this garden of blanket flowers to the life of Eva Mack. Mack was the first health specialist for the Palm Beach County Board, founded the Sickle Cell Disease Foundation of Palm Beach County in 1979, and in 1982 was the first African American to be elected mayor of the City of West Palm Beach. Though she has had many great accomplishments in her lifetime, it is the founding of the Sickle Cell Disease Foundation of Palm Beach County that I truly commemorate her with this garden.

Sickle cell disease is one of the biggest causes of death, affecting millions of people throughout the world. In the United States alone, it is estimated that Sickle Cell Disease affects 90,000 to 100,000, occurs among one out of every 500 Black or African-American births and occurs among 1 out of every 36,000 Hispanic-American births. A study also shows that black children with sickle cell disease in Florida has a much higher risk of dying than in other areas in the country. Though sickle cell disease is very common, it does not get much attention and consequently does not get much research funding. That is why I believe that there should be recognition and support for its research.

I have decided to create Eva Mack’s garden at a dog park because the few people I have encountered with sickle cell disease all have dogs and credit their companions for the quality of their lives.  It will be a reminder for those affected by sickle cell disease directly or indirectly the contribution of Eva Mack and the importance of continual efforts towards research.

Image Source: 

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Garden 338 Gilbert Barkowski, Cattleman

Posted By Kristian A. Millan-Diaz, Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Garden Location: Cooper Park 
  • 5751 SW 16th St
    West Miami, FL 33144

    My dedication and tribute to Gilbert Barkowski came from my inspiration in bringing the theme of the pasture and countryside into setting up signs providing history and backstory to a very important figure in Florida. Barkowski, who was known as 'Cowman of the Century' for his ingenious use of cross breeding development with different species of Cows, paved the way for a more prosperous and active cattle ranch. It can definitely be agreed that the innovative use of cross breeding opened a much needed and steady supply of livestock, providing very healthy and more advanced cows. It is with this thought of mine that my homage to Gilbert Barkowski would be a project to implement and make use of ornaments pertaining to some way, shape, or form to Barkowski's accomplishments, as well as provide insight to a Floridian whose actions had a very large impact on American livelihood and also provided an influence to the countryside. 

    I made use of decorating the signs and art displays with green colors very reminiscent of the countryside as well as using images that compliment the achievements of the Floridian I'm paying homage to. Not only that, but on one of the displays I added Cow figurines to bring life and personality to the art project so that anyone walking past it could get a better picture of how influential Barkowski was(considering how prominent and consumable meat was in the 20th century to this day. I went for an approach that is akin or very similar to a mini-gallery, using all four art displays to be placed around the planting spot in my garden of choice. As I went to visit my garden in the area I noticed many younger children with parents being drawn to the art piece and the portrait I drew of Barkowski, which was very inspiring and amazing to see how friendly and thoughtful parents and other park-goers were to the art project and the message behind it(To encourage the use and implementation of Floridian plants). This project was very fun and a very enlightening experience as a whole.

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Tags:  art  cowman  cows  influential  project 

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Garden 337, Moses Barber

Posted By Priscilla R. Mercado, Monday, April 21, 2014
Priscilla Mercado
Artistic Expression

Garden 337, Moses Barber (1800-1870)

Researching Moses Barber has been an interesting project for me. It was quite difficult to find his story, but once I did, I was impacted by his zeal.

Residing in Brevard County (near Orange County, Florida - Central East of the state), Moses' main occupation was that of a cattleman. Before that, however, Barber was fought in two Seminole Indian wars and the Civil War. Being the fighter that he was, barber had a difficult time staying passive. On several occasions he would be found in severe dispute with the Orange County Sheriff and tax collector at the time. The greatest dispute was the "Barber-Mizell Family Feud of 1870". The story goes that Barber refused to pay taxes towards the reconstruction of the government by the Republican party. Because of that, Mizell took it upon himself to steal Barber's cattle. This provoked Barber especially because he claimed that the sheriff was overstepping his jurisdiction (the border lines between Orange County and Brevard County were not clearly defined at that time). Moses and David went at it in a violent fashion. Over forty deaths were reported as a result of that feud.

I believe Moses Barber should be commemorated not only for fighting for his country but for fighting for his principles and political convictions as well. And so, as a part of the Flor 500 project, I am honored to dedicate my Indian Blanket Wildflower Garden to a worthy veteran, commendable cattleman, and brave Floridian - Moses Barber.


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Hernando D’Escalante Fontaneda tribute by simon behnejad

Posted By Simon b. Behnejad, Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Simon Behnejad

Artistic Expression





Hernando D’Escalante Fontaneda was a Teenage Spaniard who survived a shipwreck on the coast of South Florida during the 16th century. He spent seventeen years living with the Indians of South Florida. In 1575, he published his memoirs of the experience he had with the natives, which became one of the earliest descriptions of Florida’s Native Americans. I chose to plant my garden at my Grandpa’s house because he lives right by the ocean, which signifies the shipwreck Hernando D’Escalante Fontaneda went threw. We planted the seed in the center of his backyard to signify how Hernando D’Escalante Fontaneda felt being so isolated and different from the Native Floridians. The sign I put up was a picture of a ship which signifies the ship of knowledge that Hernando D’Escalante Fontaneda would never let wreck. He ended up writing all his memoirs about all the things he learned from the Florida Natives. I had visited my friends house twice a week to check up on the garden but after 2 week the plant didn’t grow an inch. No matter how small the garden is or how little the flower actually grew, the intellectual affect Hernando D’Escalante Fontaneda’s memoirs of Native Americans had will always be cherished and appreciated for without his persistence of perusing knowledge even threw adversity of surviving a ship wreck in the oceans of Miami, we would not be where we are today. I hope somewhere in the soil, the life of the flower will live threw the earth.

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Billy Larry Cypress, 406

Posted By Josue Louis, Thursday, December 05, 2013

Billy Larry Cypress


Billy Larry Cypress was a Seminole tribal historian who directed the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum and spent his entire life teaching children and adults in the ways of Florida's largest Indian tribe. He also served in the U.S. Army as a combat platoon leader, rising to the rank of major. Billy stayed grounded in his native roots and wanted others to understand also. I decided to plant this garden at my church because I’m also grounded in church. All my life that’s what I’ve always known. There was a point where I decided to leave but I was brought back and I’m an advocate for other young adults who feel the same way I felt when I decided to leave. I and Bill have a lot in come like being the first to graduate from college and so forth. I can say the greatest thing we do have in common is our passion for helping others grow like we did. Bills love of the tribe, its culture and its members was evident in everything he did. He spent several years teaching the tribe's Head Start program and worked 18 years in the education department at the Bureau of Indian Affairs. My love for church has allowed me to now join a couple of ministries to spread my gifts and talents to use so others can be blessed. They say great minds think alike and I think me and Bill are very much alike. His passion in tribes being kept sacred is what drove people towards him and I hope to do the same.



Works Cited

 "RootsWeb: FLORIDA-L Billy Cypress, Tribal Historian, Dead at 61 / April 12, 2004."RootsWeb: FLORIDA-L Billy Cypress, Tribal Historian, Dead at 61 / April 12, 2004. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Nov. 2013.






Billy Larry Cypress

A man admired by the community for his love in the preservation of Seminal Tribal History.

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356 Bill France Jr.

Posted By David Stolear, Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Bill France Jr. More Than Just a Race Promoter

at Greynolds park 17530 W Dixie Hwy, North Miami Beach, FL 33160


Bill France Jr. is an important figure in the history of Florida. France grew a sport that was barely televised and had small prizes into a national craze. "Little Bill” struck a lucrative deals with CBS Sports in order to televise the Daytona 500 live. This was an instrumental step in developing the previously regional sport. When Bill France Jr. became president of NASCAR the points prize was $750,000, France took this prizes and more than doubled them. Although France was born in Washington D.C. he moved to Florida at the tender age of two and living near Daytona Beach he grew fascinated by races. He worked 12 hours a day 7 days a week for 13 months in order to complete the construction of this track. His father Bill France Sr. known as "Big Bill” was the founder of NASCAR and his son "Brian France” is currently the CEO. France enjoyed racing motorcycles and participated in many races like the "Baja 1000". Aside from being a great business man "Little Bill” was known for caring about the drivers and about the people that built the cars. I decided to dedicate a garden to "Bill Jr.” because I believe his contributions to the sport of NASCAR have changed the sport loved by many Floridians. I picked to plant the garden in Greynolds Park because this park is home to many biker conferences annually and I believe bikers will enjoy looking at the beautiful wildflower garden and monument placed in the memory of Bill France Jr.

By: David Stolear

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Page 1 of 3
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9/27/2014 » 1/4/2015
Glenbow Museum (Calgary, Canada): Vanishing Ice: Alpine and Polar Landscapes in Art, 1775 - 2012

11/19/2014 » 2/1/2015
30 Years on the Road: ArtCenter | South Florida

11/20/2014 » 1/15/2015
Urban Arts International Art Exhibit

1/31/2015 » 4/26/2015
McMichael Canadian Art Collection: Vanishing Ice: Alpine and Polar Landscapes in Art, 1775 - 2012

FIU College of Architecture + The Arts

Xavier Cortada
Florida International University
College of Architecture + The Arts
420 Lincoln Road, Suite 430
Miami Beach, FL 33139

Xavier Cortada's participatory art practice is based at Florida International University.


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