HistoryMiami’s South Florida Folklife Center is proud to present the Heritage Spotlight Series, an annual artist-in-residence program that highlights Miami-area traditional artists and cultures. Each year, the series showcases two individual artists or ensembles and their traditions. Participating artists share their art through public events, school programs, and multimedia products.
View the Heritage Spotlight Series Meet-the-Artist Video Playlist
January – April 2021
Delou Africa Dance Ensemble is a leading West African folklore company and artist collective of talented drummers, musicians, dancers, and storytellers.
September – December 2020
Susana Behar is a Cuban Jewish performer who sings the traditional Sephardic songs of her Turkish grandparents as well as Latin American folk songs.
January – April 2020
Master ceramic artist Apolinario “Polo” Ramirez practices an ancient Peruvian art form. Polo uses these traditional techniques to make contemporary designs inspired by nature and elements of Peruvian folklore.
September – December 2019
Seminole artist Pedro Zepeda is an expert dugout canoe carver specializing in a variety of traditional arts, including leatherwork, beading, patchwork, and basket weaving.
January – April 2019
Reza Filsoofi is an Iranian musician specializing in multiple instruments, including santoor and setar (stringed instruments) and daf and tonbak (percussion instruments).
September – December 2018
Puerta de Oro de Colombia is a music and dance ensemble showcasing the diverse folkloric traditions from Colombia’s distinct regions.
January – April 2018
Liliane Nérette Louis is a Haitian folk artist from Port-au-Prince specializing in storytelling, cooking, and traditional medicine.
September – December 2017
Alfredo Martinez is a dancer and musician from Veracruz, Mexico and founder of Ameyal Mexican Cultural Organization. Through inventive and immersive presentations, the organization cultivates an appreciation for Mexican traditional culture and brings their heritage to life.
January – March 2017
Mannolie DiSantos is an expert beadwork artist who specializes in creating ritual items used in the Afro-Cuban religion known as Lukumi or Santeria. She creates jewelry, garments, and tools for practitioners across the country.
September – November 2016
Ranjana Warier is a performer and choreographer specializing in Indian Classical dance. She is the founder of the Rhythms School of Dance, a training center for this traditional art form from India.
April – June 2016
Leandro Rojas is a master musician and instrument builder who specializes in the tres, a guitar-like instrument with three pairs of strings, and the primary instrument in the Cuban son genre.
January – March 2016
The Lee Boys is an ensemble specializing in sacred steel, an African American gospel music tradition.The family group consists of two generations of musicians, all of whom learned the tradition growing up in the House of God Church.
October – December 2015
Nancy Billings is an expert textile artist specializing in art quilting and Jewish textile traditions. She utilizes traditional and experimental techniques in order to add a contemporary style to her pieces.
April – June 2015
Clarita Filgueiras is an expert flamenco dancer and choreographer. She has spent a lifetime mastering this Spanish art form and performs across the United States, Latin America, and Europe.
January – March 2015
Plena Es specializes in Puerto Rican plena and bomba, percussion-driven musical traditions that reflect the island’s African heritage.
September – November 2014
The 21st Century Steel Band performs Trinidadian steel pan (steel drum) music and is led by pan maker and player Michael Kernahan. Founded in 1978, this band performs at festivals, cultural programs, and Carnivals worldwide.
April – June 2014
Founded in Miami, Florida in 1994, the Flipside Kings are an acclaimed B-Boy dance crew. Over the past 20 years, the group has grown into a collective of artists that includes dancers, graffiti/visual artists, musicians, and educators.
January – March 2014
Bahamas Junkanoo Revue practices junkanoo, a Bahamian parade tradition. The group’s performances feature handmade costumes, music, and dancing.
September – November 2013
Perú Expresión is an ensemble that performs traditional Peruvian music and dance, including Afro-Peruvian traditions.
April – June 2013
January – March 2013
Born in Haiti, Serge Toussaint is a Miami-based muralist and sign artist. His creations can be found in several parts of Miami-Dade County, including Little Haiti.
September – November 2012
Mieko Kubota practices a variety of Japanese arts such as ikebana (flower arranging), origami, calligraphy, and the tea ceremony. She also teaches the Japanese language.
April – June 2012
James Kelly is a renowned Irish fiddler who is originally from the Emerald Isle. He learned the fiddling tradition from his father John, a respected musician from County Clare.
January – March 2012
Born in Havana, Cuba, Ezequiel Torres is a master drummer and drum maker who specializes in the batá drum, a key instrument in the Afro-Cuban Orisha religion.