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Photo courtesy of Mira Lehr/Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU

Mira Lehr’s “Sacred Dreams” finds a home in Miami

New York-based art collector Robert B. Feldman has promised a large-scale installation by artist Mira Lehr as a gift to the Jewish Museum of Florida at Florida International University (FIU). The installation is currently on view at the museum as a loan from Feldman and will become part of the museum’s permanent collection in September.

The artwork, titled “Sacred Dreams,” is comprised of 183 aerial sculptures that descend from the ceiling of the museum and is estimated at a value of $300,000. The sculptures are made of burned and dyed Japanese paper, acrylic, ink and resin.
The museum is located in South Beach, Miami, Florida, the heart of Miami Art Week and Art Basel Miami Beach.

“I am honored to donate this major work by Mira Lehr to the Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU,” Feldman said. “This large-scale work now has a permanent home in the community for all to enjoy, including the millions of tourists that visit Miami Beach, at this beloved gem of a museum that is of historic importance in the Southeast.”

The museum is on the National Register of Historic Places and is the only museum dedicated to telling the story of more than 250 years of Florida Jewish history, art and culture with a growing collection of more than 100,000 items.

“We are very grateful to Dr. Robert B. Feldman for this donation to the museum,” said Susan Gladstone Pasternack, the executive director of the Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU. “Mira Lehr created this stunning installation, ‘Sacred Dreams,’ specifically with the museum in mind as a result of a personal visit here. After Lehr spent time at the museum, she reflected upon the emotions and inspiration she felt and created these 183 aerial sculptures to interact with the light they create together with our stained-glass windows. The result is truly magnificent.”

Nationally renowned as an eco-feminist artist, Lehr is celebrated for working with imagery from the natural world, creating layered abstract compositions with unconventional materials. The “60 Minutes” television correspondent Morley Safer once referred to her as “the mistress of light.” Lehr also grew up in Miami Beach and has been making art there for six decades.

“I want viewers to feel like they are walking beneath an aerial garden of luminous, reflecting sculptures — a holy garden of light that takes people out of the actual world and transports them onto a spiritual plane,” Lehr said.

In 1960, Lehr co-founded one of the country’s first co-ops for women artists. It was called Continuum and thrived for more than 30 years, blazing a trail that helped establish Miami’s evolution as an art destination. She is known in the art world as “the Godmother of Miami’s art scene” and has mentored many artists through the years.

The Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU is housed in two restored historic buildings that were once synagogues for Miami Beach’s first Jewish congregation. The original synagogue was built in 1929, and the second, built in 1936, was designed by Art Deco architect Henry Hohauser. It features 80 stained-glass windows, a copper dome and a marble bimah. While reflective of the Jewish experience in Florida, the museum creates understanding of the shared immigrant experience in the United States’ multicultural society.

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