Jose serves as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Coral Gables Museum and was a candidate for the Coral Gables City Commission in the April 2021 election.
Since becoming Chairman of the Board of Directors last October, I have been working very hard to professionalize the museum, making it relevant to the community of Coral Gables and beyond.
I recruited a museum professional, Elvis Fuentes, to take over the position of Executive Director, and secured major funding of $97,500 from the Knight Foundation, to bring to our city a major scholarly museum exhibition of Ukrainian art from a research institution, Rutgers University’s Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum. This exhibit has put our museum among the top South Florida museums this season due to its timely relevance and academic rigor.
Under the guidance of Mr. Fuentes, we began the process of elevating the standards of our museum by preparing the galleries to receive these major museum loans in the Fewell Gallery. We upgraded equipment in the gallery and installed hagio-thermograph to monitor the humidity and temperature inside the galleries. This is what made possible to host the Ukrainian art exhibition in the Fewell Gallery while discovering that all other galleries lack minimum requirements for doing so. Thus, we need to renovate our galleries, repairing damages caused by water intrusion, seal windows, and install drywalls to control the environment in which objects from our permanent collection and from loans are displayed.
The ultimate goal of our work is to obtain the proper accreditation of the Coral Gables Museum by the American Association of Museums. This will mean potential access to major sources of funding at national and federal levels.
I am surprised and appalled that the professionalization and accreditation of the museum has led to the opposition by a few members of the community that despite being very vocal and interested in undermining the work we are doing, have had little or no knowledge of the process and have rejected the museum’s offer to provide clarification about our purposes and plans.
They are pandering to a fringe minority of naysayers and misinforming the public with distorted information and fake news. Those responding to their campaign are neither members nor regular visitors of the museum. In fact, their calls to protest the closing of the exhibition, Creating the Dream, haven’t translated into more visitors to the museum, but rather vitriolic attacks on social media platforms and echoed by some media outlets.
What is more surprising is that they do this from the pulpit of an organization that self-proclaims itself as inheritor of the cultural and historical patrimony of the city of Coral Gables, while ignoring the multifaceted and diverse nature of our culture and history. This assault on the museum by a fellow and collegial institution is unprecedented and unwarranted. It only shows the shortsighted vision of its current leadership.
I sincerely hope that the City Commission does not allow this rogue and vocal group to dominate the conversation about the bright future we are building for the Coral Gables Museum.