Talk About it Tuesday: Heroes Unite


Heroes Unite is a program created to provide opportunities that can nurture and empower communities through mentoring, volunteering and family engagement. Heroes Unite strengthens communities by teaching them about art, culture and education. They strive to serve people in need and give them a safer and healthier life.

Heroes Unite was created in 1994. They began by supporting families from the Ronald McDonald house. Heroes Unite provided support to families that were going through a tough time caring for their terminally ill children. Heroes Unite provided therapy to siblings and parents of patients as well as engaged them in theatre productions. They also provided these services for people going through AIDS treatment. They offered a fun and creative outlet for people going through a hard time.  In 1999, Heroes Unite restructured their program and offered an after school session that would help transform the lives of children by teaching them about Chinese martial arts.

Heroes Unite now has over 500 students in their program. From modest beginnings Heroes Unite has come a long way in changing the lives of youth and families in Miami. Through art, culture, and education, Heroes Unite has had an enormous positive impact on its participants and in the community.

Like what you’ve heard about Heroes Unite? Support them on Facebook or follow this link for more information on volunteering or interning!

What do you think about Heroes Unite? Do you think more programs such as this one are needed in Miami? Tweet us at @Loop305 and let us know your thoughts, with the hash tag #TalkAboutitTuesday


-Samantha Wagner

Local Hero: Ian Welsch



Ian earned his BS, as well as Masters Degree in Education from the University of Bridgeport. Taking a position as an educator in the Miami-Dade County Public School System in 2005- 2009 taught him a great deal, and recognizing the need for additional educational resources, he started an in-home tutoring company. As the arts were being cut from classrooms, Ian saw an increasing need to leverage the arts as a motivational platform for urban youth. Increasing referrals highlighted a community-wide need and as a result, in June 2008, The Motivational Edge Inc. was formed. Ian is currently the Founder and CEO of the company

Who has been your most influential mentor?

Donna Phillips, my Advisor and a lead professor at The University of Bridgeport.

How did you get to where you are today?

Passion, perseverance, faith and the ability to ask questions helped me get to where I am today. I’ve always known I was on the right path but I certainly did not get here without help and guidance from others!

How did you get to be a community leader?

In my case, the following saying is very appropriate, “actions speak louder than words.” I have been fortunate enough to assemble a team of dedicated teaching artists, educators and professionals that care deeply for our community and the youth that reside in it. Together, we are all leaders of our community, guiding the younger generation to make more mindful decisions.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I see myself still as the CEO of The Motivational Edge, thriving in multiple cities. I also see myself as a successful non-profit coach, impacting the lives of many people outside of my daily operations at The Motivational Edge.

What about this city inspires you?

I love that Miami is still a new and fresh city, with many cultures and ethnicities comprising the ever changing population of transplants, locals and everyone in between. I must say, the beautiful weather is also an inspiration.

What is your favorite thing about Miami?

Considering that I grew up in the northeast, my favorite thing about Miami is the winter…If we can even call it that.

Miami should be…  more collaborative.

Miami could be… more than a vacation destination for many.

Miami wants to be… a highly revered city and is trying to find its way.

Miami needs… to be worrying less about excess and more about access for its citizens.




Thank You Creativglu – HeArt of the City Show Premium Sponsor

Thank You CreativGlu
HeArt of the City Show Premium Sponsor

CreativGlu is a is a creative collaborative online space providing opportunities to artists and businesses. They are based right here in Miami and have a wonderful vision, very similar to Life Is Art, to help artists make a living at their passion and support the community. They are really showing their support of South Florida artists by coming on board as a Premium Sponsor of the HeArt of the City Show!

Soul Of Miami highly recommends that artists and businesses sign up for CreativGlu and start collaborating! Below is more information.


CreativGlu is a free online community that creates opportunities for artists from various industries by giving them tools to gain exposure, network, showcase their talent, make money and collaborate with local businesses and other artists.

Founded in 2010, CreativGlu set out with the sole purpose of encouraging collaboration and connecting creative communities around the world. Based in Wynwood, CreativGlu released it’s beta website in May 2013 and has been growing rapidly ever since its launch.

CreativGlu is a platform for artists created by artists. Join the movement today at

Save Money on Your Move with Unpakt


Save Money on Your Move with Unpakt

Get Instant Prices and Compare Movers Online with Unpakt

happyTraditionally, finding a reasonable price for lifting, packing and transporting all of your worldly possessions from one home to another was aggravating (to say the least). You repeat your inventory over and over… and over again, to one company at a time. Once you choose one, you may or may not wind up forking over extra money in hidden fees, surcharges, etc.

Cue, a price comparison site that helps ease the pain of finding a trustworthy (and affordable) mover. Unpakt streamlines the entire process into under an hour, giving Floridians the ability to compare local moving companies side-by-side – instantly.

Unpakt, now available in Miami (and across the country), does all the math and work for you. You simply enter the size of your place, where you are going and what furniture you have (they help you figure it out). Then, you are given exact prices for your move from a handful of reputable local companies. You can compare their user reviews and, once you have found your mover, book directly through the site.

While Unpakt cannot find you that perfect pad, they will make moving into it a piece of cake.

Now, exclusively for Soul of Miami readers, receive 5% instant cash back on your next move. Enter promo code: SOULMIAMI on and save! Expires 7/31/13.

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What is Unpakt? Plan, Compare & Book Your Move Online
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(This post is sponsored, please support the sponsors that make Soul Of Miami possible.)

The “Art Basel Week” Overload – What To Do?

Alright, I rarely post personal editorials here (I started my own blog), but someone needs to say something. Everyone’s thinking it, but I am going to come out and say it publicly. The “Art Basel Week” has gotten way out of hand.

I think it is safe to say that few people get out to more events than we do. There are some that do, but I think everyone would agree we make it to quite a few. We talk to a lot of people. A lot. And this year, the absolute consensus is the number of available events is just overwhelming. “It’s too much,” we hear over and over. Every year there is too much to do, but this year, we hear this refrain more than ever, from everyone. Everyone says they are suffering from overload.

And, it is true. Every year there are more fairs, more exhibitions, more parties and more people. So, how much is too much? You know, we love you all, all of you who bring art to our city, and we are really happy you have come here, but do you not think it is getting a little out of hand? Really, it is getting a lot out of hand. Maybe it is time for a change. I guess I will be the one to stand up and say it.

On Tuesday, December 4, 2012, there were over TWELVE Vernissages / Openings for various art fairs. Don’t believe me? Check out this screen shot from our Tuesday summary. I’ve highlighted all the Vernissages. As you can see, there are a numerous other parties, as well. And that is just Tuesday. (Click the thumbnail for a larger version.) We have over 120 events listed in our full roundup, and I know we have missed dozens of others. How can anyone possibly make even a small percentage of that?

We all know that there are many art people in town this week, and everyone wants to try to take advantage of that. But think about it, if you start a new show/fair/party, there are a couple of options. First, you might just pull people from the regular crowd. If a lot of new events open up (like has been happening), that means quite a few less people for each event. Not optimal.

On the other hand, maybe all these new events do draw more people to town. Where do those people park? Where do they stay? How do they get around. The traffic is already epic fail. It is not going to get better. There are only a finite number of hotel rooms and parking spots. Also, not optimal.

The same is true for the expansion of the current fairs/shows, it is either going to spread the same number of people thinner or it is going to add to the already terrible problem of overcrowding. How long is this really sustainable? How long until people just give up because they cannot handle the load? We have actually already seen this happen. Some people are going out to fewer events because they are so overwhelmed by all the options.

The thing is, you all are doing yourself a disservice with this much activity. Nobody can possibly do it all. Nobody can even do a small percentage. Sure, there are a lot of art people in town, but spreading them so thin hurts everyone. You are missing out on potential sales because people are at the dozen or more other events that night. By jumping on the bandwagon to try to take advantage of someone else’s hard work, you are actually adding to the problem.

Meanwhile, we have 51 other weeks of the year with only a few fairs sprinkled throughout. Like I said, we do love that all you guys and gals come to our city and bring all this art, but how about making it so we can see some of it? How about some of you get together and we all do another art week? Maybe a few.

April would be a good time. It is towards the end of season. Weather is still usually good (at least as good as it gets in Miami). Most of the snowbirds are still here. We are past all the mayhem of WMC, Boat Show, and the other big winter events. Why not create another art week then? Who is going to have the courage to take the first step?

This is what I would really like to see. I think it would be great if a couple of the bigger ancilliary fairs stepped up and took leadership to do this, maybe Scope or Art Miami. Pick a new week. Start a different art week.

Think about how awesome that would be. Anyone who does it will be hailed as courageous and visionary. Plus, you get your name up in lights. Right now, this is “Art Basel Week” (no matter what anyone else tries to brand it) and all of the other fairs and events are mentioned secondarily. But, if one of the other fairs took the initiative to step up and make the change, then that would their week. Rather than just being a follower during “Art Basel Week”, they would be the leader for “Scope Art Week” or “Art Miami Week” or maybe “Pulse Miami Week”. There is a real opportunity here to break out of the pack and be a leader.

The thing is, Miami is not what it was 10 years ago, when the brave souls at Art Basel decided to open up a new fair here. Back then, it was not really seen as an “art” destination, known more for the nightlife and beaches, and it was a challenge to convince people to come for an art fair. But, now it is becoming one of the major players in the art world. Now, it would not be as hard to convince people to come for art. Opening up a second week would give people a much-needed relief from the overload that is “Art Basel Week” right now.

Will anyone do it? Seems unlikely, but we can hope. It would take a lot of guts and smarts, just like the guys who started Art Basel Miami Beach. They took a chance and tried something new, and it certainly worked out. Will anyone else step up and take a leadership stance? We hope so.

I figure I will get a million flames telling me why this is not feasible, but that is okay, leaders always have people telling them that what they are doing is impossible, as they go ahead and do it. Happens to me all the time. All I know is what I hear from the people, and the people are overwhelmed. Something needs to be done.

Soul Of Miami Is Now Accepting Contributors

As you know, the Soul Of Miami website was started by just two people, James Echols & Annette Peikert. Since then, we have had a few friends join on to help us out, Betty Alvarez, Anthony Jordon and Talmage Thornhill. Over the years, it has grown exponentially. Also, you know, the scene has gotten so big, it is impossible for us to cover it all. To that end, we have decided to open it up to other contributors.

Would you like to (A) help support the south Florida scene AND/OR (B) get your skills in front of a big audience? Well, we recommend you start your own blog. BUT, if you do not want to go through the hassle of setting up all the technical details and building an audience, this might be for you. Soul Of Miami gets between 60,000 and 100,000 hits per month with 30,000 to 40,000 unique visitors.

If you think you might like to be part of the team, click here for more info.


{An accidental website. Thanks to everyone who is stopping by. We hope you find it helpful. Just click on the date below. If you like what we do, please remember to tell your friends.}
Photo by Mitchell Zachs

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