Miami, Fla. –100 women representing various ethnicities, races and ages gathered to close out Art Miami Week at Collective Drift’s the “Art of Becoming a Woman – A Rum Punch Brunch” Sunday at the Art Africa Miami Arts Fair in the Overtown neighborhood of Miami.

“It’s absolutely amazing to see my vision come to life. I’m elated that so many wonderful culturally aware women joined me for this event. The love and openness that was shared today was truly amazing,” said Erica Vernet Knowles founder of Collective Drift.

Knowles said she created the “Art of Becoming a Woman” to bring a diverse group of women together to exchange stories about their lives and experience the art together. “I’m really grateful for all of my co-hosts that lead inspiring conversations about being a woman, art, culture and travel with our attendees.”

Dionne Polite, Operations Director of AARP Florida and one of the event’s cohosts, said “Today, AARP South Florida participated in one of the amazing events affiliated with Miami Art Basel 2019. Under our Disrupt Aging umbrella, we hosted a listening post roundtable discussion about women/arts/culture and Aging Gracefully. With a room of about 100 women who were diverse (in age/race/culture and experience), we discussed the nuances of how certain cultures embrace their traditions and aging. Great space for AARP to show up in to surprise and delight folks in the room.”

The attendees experienced an array of treats starting with viewing the Art Africa Miami Arts Fair Gallery. Some of the women commented that this was their first time in Overtown and they were glad they were invited.

They then made their way to the event space where the women mingled and enjoyed Mount Gay Rum Punch. They were welcomed by their host Erica Knowles and then treated to a belly dance performance by Njeri Sofiyah, founder of Alkebulan’s Nubian Jewels of the Nile.

Chef Andre Nurse who was flown in from Barbados prepared variety of Bajan food for the event. The meal was capped off with an Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony by Awash Ethiopian Restaurant.

The heart and soul of the event was the conversations the attendees enjoyed with co-hosts leading small groups of women in answering the following questions:

• If you could submerge yourself into a different culture, what would it be and why? – Dawn Titus, Iyanifa Fajemirola Ifetayo Fakayode

• What does aging with grace look like in your culture? – Dionne Polite, director of Operations of AARP Florida

• How do you express your spirituality? – Dita Devi, visual artist and poet

• How can you live “mini” lives abroad? – Florencia Jimenez-Marcos, co-founder of the Biscayne Bay Group and advocate for the arts, education, and women

• Fashion, Food, Culture, and Travel! What are your conscientious quests for life’s greatest pleasures? – Iva Kosovic Duvin, vice president of Advancement and Community Engagement at Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science

• What is your experience of being the only woman? – Maria Elena Ortiz, curator at Perez Art Museum Miami

• How do you strengthen bonds with mother/daughter travel? – Dr. Minca Brantley, professor at Miami Dade College

• What is your hair journey? – Nicky Gelin, founder of the brands 2 Fro Chicks & Nicky Says Yolo

• How do you How do you embrace all of you? – Shomara Garcia, creator of @ShopBlatina

• Universalism or community? That is the question. – Vanessa Selk, founder and executive/artistic director of the ToutMonde Foundation and CEO/artistic director of Snowblack

“We had an amazing time this afternoon having conversations about anything and everything travel related … (including) how to integrate thoughtful and touching experiences about culture into our everyday life. The food was delicious… And we’re going to come back and do this again,” commented Florencia Jimenez-Marcos.

Erica V. Knowles closed out the event by announcing that Collective Drift will host a trip to Barbados in June 2020. Retreat attendees will enjoy a cross cultural dinner with Bajan women, activities such as a catamaran ride with snorkeling, spa, yoga and meditation, and bonding activities.

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