Miami Design Preservation League (MDPL) is a non-profit organization devoted to preserving, protecting, and promoting the cultural, social, economic, environmental and architectural integrity of the Miami Beach Architectural Historic District and all other areas of the City of Miami Beach where historic preservation is a concern.
Romero Britto is a world-renowned artist whose work is immediately recognizable and associated with Miami Beach. Mr. Britto, whose art studio is on Lincoln Road, is known for his pulsating colors and pop themes. His brightly colored outdoor installations can be found throughout Miami Beach and 20 cities worldwide. It was his creation of an Absolut Vodka ad in 1989 that brought Mr. Britto worldwide acclaim. He has also designed a Brazilian postage stamp in honor of the 450th anniversary of the city of Sao Paulo, written a children’s book and created a living canvas performed by the Cirque du Soleil in celebration of Super Bowl XLI.
Elected the first Hispanic Mayor of Miami Beach in 2007, Matti Herrera Bower is a long time Miami Beach resident. She was instrumental in the preservation and restoration of the Art Deco District, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Tara Solomon, known as Queen of the Night, has inside knowledge of the workings of Miami Beach’s club and party scene. In the 1990s Ms. Solomon wrote a very popular nightlife column “Queen of the Night” in The Miami Herald. Her inside knowledge of the social circuit has allowed her to hobnob with the stars of the moment. She has been interviewed as Miami Beach’s nightlife expert by E! Entertainment, The New York Times, BBC, Good Morning America and MTV.
As the former president of the Greater Miami & The Beaches Hotel Association, as well as former director for Miami Beach Convention Center, Stuart Blumberg has insider knowledge of the comings & goings of the City’s who’s who. His personal & professional experiences include representing the Convention Center for the Miss Universe Pageant, Republican and Democratic National Conventions, the Muhammad Ali boxing matches and Jackie Gleasons’, of Honeymooners fame, many performances in Miami Beach.
Seth Bramson is Miami’s foremost and premiere historians. He has published 16 books about Miami & Miami Beach. Mr. Bramson also owns the largest private collection of Miami memorabilia and Floridiana in the country.
As the Associate VP for Cultural Tourism at the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau, George Neary is responsible for developing all of the City’s special cultural events and attractions. His experiences include working on the restoration of several of Miami Beach’s well-known theaters – the Colony and Lincoln Theater. Mr. Neary served as a key player to preserve the Art Deco District and started the annual Art Deco weekends, one of the largest street festivals in South Florida.
Jeff Donnelly is the Public Historian of the Miami Design Preservation League (MDPL). He has also served as Chair of the City of Miami Beach Historic Preservation Board. He co-authored (with Allan Shulman and Randall Robinson) Miami Architecture: An AIA Guide to Downtown, the Beaches and Coconut Grove which was published in 2010. Since 1988, he has led walking and bus tours of the Miami Beach Architectural District(Art Deco District) under the aegis of MDPL. Since 1990, he has been the principal instructor of MDPL's tour guide certification course. In a typical year, he conducts more than thirty tours, including several special tours for travel writers, members of the American Research Institutions Association(ARIA), and other groups with specialized and academic interests in the Miami Beach Architectural District. Tour guides he trained have led more than 400 tours per year from 1995 through the present. He holds a research doctorate from New York University in American Studies, with emphases on urban history, literature and politics. His research and experience taught him that the built environment is a unique and irreplaceable resource in teaching -- a lesson he has applied in Miami Beach.
The native Miamian, Stephen Sawitz is a member of the 4th generation of the family that owns Joe’s Stone Crab Restaurant. It was his great grandfather Joe Weiss who introduced the world to cold stone crabs in 1913. Joe’s Stone Crab Restaurant, one of the most famous restaurants in America has fed the likes of J. Edgar Hoover, Dew Barrymore, Bill Clinton, Dan Marino (just to name drop a few). Even Al Capone had a meal at Joe’s but only on Mother’s Day.