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U-Serve 2019, Unveils and Unites Community

By Silvia Alvarez

U-Serve 2019, Unveils and Unites Community

By Silvia Alvarez
Students Collaborate on Pop-Up for Liberty City

U-Serve 2019, Liberty City Unveiled, successfully achieved its goal to further unite and serve the community by revealing the iconic history of Liberty City, in partnership with the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center (AHCAC), led by Director, Marshall L. Davis and his team. U-Serve, now in its 5th year, was inaugurated by Dean el-Khoury in an effort for University of Miami School of Architecture to give back to the community. Per the Dean, “This year, U-Serve is unique, in that it is, and will continue to be a “process”. Through this process of collaboration, conversation, design and build, University of Miami School of Architecture and Miami Dade County public school students worked together, exchanging cultural similarities and differences, culminating in a pop-up installation, adorned by ancient Adinkra symbols. This pop-up installation was premiered at the April 6th, Sankofa Jazz Festival at the AHCAC, where it will live on as a recurring structure to be used by local market vendors. School of Architecture lecturer Germane Barnes, along with Xavier Cortada, a local artist and professor of practice at UM, came up with this idea of #LibertyCityUnveiled.

U-Serve invited students to adorn plaques on the student-built structure with customized Adinkra iterations. “Remember that these cultural symbols are constantly evolving, so as a community changes, different elements are added,” explained Nana Blackman (visual arts coordinator of the AHCAC) to the Turner Tech high school and U-SoA group at their first meeting, at UM’s award-winning, Thomas P. Murphy Design Studio Building. On April 5th, the U-Serve installation began, convening Miami North Western high school with U-SoA students, creating a “rich tapestry of the fabric of Liberty City; a platform for interaction, conversation and building, essential for community and capacity”, remarked Xavier Cortada.

In closing, U-SoA’s Germane Banes added, “U-Serve 2019 was extremely successful. Watching the students laugh, dance and exchange stories as they completed the community service project brought so much joy to both the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center and our faculty; then to see the entire intervention activated during the Sankofa Jazz Festival was a fitting end to a wonderful event.”This year’s generous sponsor was Stantec, and our thanks go out to Christina Villa, SoA Alumni, Master of Construction Management Board Member and Senior Associate at Stantec.