Biscayne art program delights visitors

HOMESTEAD, Fla.— Miles away from the art galleries of Miami’s design district, Miami Beach and Coral Gables is Biscayne National Park’s Dante Fascell Visitor Center.

Best known for its location overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and its recreational facilities the Visitor Center has commemorated its beautiful surrounding landscape and seascape through a series of art exhibitions.

A painting of dolphins on display in the Biscayne National Park Visitor Center (Photo by Ali Bustamante).

“Paradise for Marine Life” is the center’s current exhibit featuring 20 original paintings and prints by Carey Chen. Carey is the featured artist for more than 200 fishing tournaments around the world and is celebrated or his near-photographic paintings.

A native of Los Angeles, Chen was raised in Jamaica where he took an early interest in fishing, boating and marine life. He gained notoriety as a top sport fisherman but decided to pursue art after his sketches became acclaimed by fishing publications. His family moved to South Florida in the mid 1970s where he continues to reside.

One of Carey’s oil paintings on display is “Boca Chita”; a beautiful and brightly colored depiction of Boca Chita Key, located on the northern end of the park.

The bottom half of the painting features sprawling reef life along the mangrove shoreline and the Biscayne Bay. The top portion above the waterline illustrates a great white heron flying past the Boca Chita lighthouse.

Artist Patricia Cummings works on a new painting at the Biscayne National Park Visitor Center (Photo by Ali Bustamante).

“Not only is this paradise for marine life, it is a paradise for a marine artist,” said Carey. “The abundance of beauty displayed in seemingly infinite settings can rarely be captured by anything other than an artist’s brush.”

In “The Wall,” Carey depicts Biscayne’s coral reef and clear waters as a group of dolphins swim by. The painting displayed is a digital print known as a glicee that is used for reproductions of fine art.

“The exhibit highlights the beauty of Biscayne’s unaltered under water world,” said Juan Rodriguez, a Miami Beach resident and art aficionado.

Quattro H2O is another art exhibit presented by the Visitor Center through a joint venture between the park and ArtSouth. The four artists involved in the project all maintain studios at ArtSouth, a 3 ½ acre artist’s community in downtown Homestead.

The show includes 27 watercolor, oil, acrylic and pastel paintings by artists Vanessa Bryson, Aleta Burge, Patricia Cummins and Luis Nuñez. All works inspired by the waters of Biscayne National Park.

“My goal as an artist and a painter is to communicate the beauty found in nature,” said Patricia Cummins whose works include distinctive seascapes of the park. “To make my viewers look again at what we normally take for granted is what I find most important in my work.”

A painting of marine life and lighthouse at Boca Chita Key is on display in the Biscayne National Park Visitor Center (Photo by Ali Bustamante).

The Visitor Center has allotted its space during the past four years to contemporary artists who wish show their works inspired by the beauty of Biscayne National Park and South Florida. Past shows have included color and black-and-white photography, oil, acrylic, pastel and watercolor paintings, drawings, collage and sculpture.

The park’s striking scenery offers photographic potential but a painting can capture much more than a photo ever could. The wonderland of tropical reef fish exposed through the exhibit is admirable.

Due to traveling collections exhibited at the visitor’s center consisting of art exhibits and ocean life displays not all services and activities may be available


If You Go

  • Address: 9700 SW 328 St., Homestead, FL 33033.
  • Hours: Dante Fascell Visitor Center – daily 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • For more information: Telephone: 305-230-7275 or visit

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