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College Forum Volume 19, Number 5 : Page 2

ALUMNI transform art world At left, artist José Parlá, an MDC alumnus, put the finishing touches on his magnum opus ONE: Union of the Senses in the lobby of the new One World Trade Center. Alumnus Expands Message of Graffiti Art MDC alumnus José Parlá has won some of New York’s most sought-after commissions. In a span of two years, the artist has completed three major large-scale works: Gesture Performing Dance, Dance Performing Gesture for the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Diary of Brooklyn for the new Barclays Center, and his magnum opus ONE: Union of the Senses , a gar-gantuan painting spanning 90 feet by 14 feet in the lobby of the new One World Trade Center. Parlá has cited the magnitude of the responsibility he felt, his deep respect for the families, and his memories of Sept. 11 as driving forces in the creation of this paint-ing, which he hopes will bring peo-ple together. The mural took Parlá eight months in the studio and two weeks on-site to complete. An esti-mated 20,000 people per day view the work as they enter the building. A backstory that makes Parlá’s work so unique is that it originat-ed on the street. With the name “Ease,” Parlá began as a graffiti art-ist, painting socially incisive images on the walls of New York to create a new form of public parlance sim-ilar to that of Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring. Parlá now brings into the gallery the complex palimpsest of exterior urban walls combined with writ-ing – replete with layers of peeling paint, shredded posters and marks. In an interview with Blouin Artinfo, Parlá explained that he sees walls “as a way to understand humanity through this psycho-geographical map of traces that not only belong to the past, but continue into the present.” A native of Miami, Parlá fondly remembers his formative time at Miami Dade College. “My favorite class was logic with Professor Alfredo Triff,” he said. “The José Parlá way that I studied logic and the way that he taught it allowed me to apply his teachings to my art-mak-ing process.” Besides major commissions, Parlá continues to exhibit his work extensively around the world. He has had solo exhibitions this year at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta and a two-part exhibition held simultaneously at the Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery and the Mary Boone Gallery in New York City. Alumna Awarded Dramatist Guild Fellowship in NYC WRITING M HER TICKET TO SUCCESS France-Luce Benson iami native France-Luce Benson dis-covered her passion for the arts early on in middle school, studying theater, music and drama. By the time she reached high school, Benson was certain she had found her calling, so she entered New World School of the Arts at Miami Dade College where she took her very first play-writing class. “NWSA gave me such a head start,” Benson said. “The program is run like a professional con-servatory, and you get to study with people who are actually working in the field. It really put me at a different level.” From there Benson built an impressive body of work, writing plays infused with familiar themes close to her heart, often with the city of Miami as a backdrop and characters of Haitian descent, like herself. “I always like to celebrate and explore my cul-ture through my art,” Benson said. “I think it’s so important to provide an image that challeng-es what the media puts out, which is an image that’s often negative.” As she grew into a professional playwright, Benson joined The Dramatists Guild of America, an organization with a reputation for providing world-class opportunities for its members. Her outstanding work paid off recently when she be-came one of the lucky playwrights out of more than 150 applicants to receive a coveted 2015-16 Dramatists Guild Fellowship. Benson is developing her talents during the www .mdc .edu/main/collegeforum /MDCollege nine-month fellowship in New York City by working with seasoned theater professionals, observing rehearsals for off-Broadway plays and developing a full-length play that will debut during the showcase capping off the fellowship. “I was very pleasantly surprised and ecstatic to receive this fellowship,” Benson said. “There are many esteemed playwrights who’ve received this award in the past, so I’m blessed to be in such good company.” – NN For more alumni news, see Pages 26-27. MIAMI DADE COLLEGE COLLEGE f orum November 2015 • Volume 19 • Number 5 Published by Miami Dade College, Office of Communications 300 N.E. Second Ave., Miami, FL 33132-2296 Send emails to editor@mdc.edu. Communications Director . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Juan C . Mendieta Marketing Communications Director . . . . . . . . .Irene Giménez Muñoz Editorial Director . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Brenda Krebs, Ph .D . Copy Editors/Contributors . . . . . . . . . . .Nnéka Nnolim, Monica Roos, Anne-Margaret Swary, Walter Villa Graphic Designers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Pasita Andino, Reynaldo Arroyo, Carmen Bosch, Grizelle Paz Photographers . . . .Cristian Lazzari, Carlos Llano, Deborah Rodríguez Production Coordinator . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Susan Smitherman For more information about MDC programs, call 305-237-8888 or visit www.mdc.edu. 2 COLLEGE forum @MDCollege @MDCollege www .youtube .com/MiamiDadeColleges Photo by Dirk Anschutz PARLÁ’S NEW PARLANCE

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