Dr. Shed Boren, visiting clinical instructor at the Florida International University Robert Stempel College of Public Health and Social Work, and his partner, Mr. Jose Valdes-Fauli, gifted the college 29 pieces of Purvis Young artwork.
“Purvis’ work speaks to the community that we serve as social workers,” said Dr. Boren. “I discovered his art when I was working with the indigent and homeless populations in Miami and really appreciated how it represented that point of view, one that many try to turn a blind eye to but that Purvis understood and celebrated.”
In addition to the social work, Purvis’ work speaks to other disciplines at the college such as public health, nutrition and community research collaborations that serve the vulnerable living with health challenges.
“He painted the world around him as it existed in a time when the African American experience was undergoing a lot of change in the South, and he documented what he saw around him: violence, racism and hope,” continued Dr. Boren.
A once-thriving community and the epicenter of African American society in Miami, Overtown was devastated by the construction of I-95 in the 1960s, leaving the lively area destitute as business moved elsewhere and much of the resident population left.
“We are very grateful to Shed and Jose for their generous donation to the School of Social Work,” said Mary Helen Hayden, director of the School of Social Work. “My hope is that by lining our hallways with Young’s work, we can inspire students to keep on fighting for social justice and change. Young’s work stands as an inspiration to all and I invite the community to come and see it.”Friday Letter Submission