Life Cube Miami Beach: If You Dream It, They Will Come

Susan Askew
Susan Askew

Life Cube Miami Beach: If You Dream It, They Will Come:

Interactive, Collaborative Art Project comes to Soundscape Park November 20-24

Artist Scott Cohen has been writing out his goals since he was a child so he knows the power of putting pen to paper. As an artist, he wrote down another aspiration – to work with a museum in creating an opportunity for many people to write their hopes, dreams, and goals while sharing in an art project that connects members of the community to each other. Cohen’s dream will be on full display in Soundscape Park in the form of a twelve-foot high metal Life Cube beginning this week.                                                                                                                                                                              

The Life Cube Project began at the Burning Man Festival in 2011 and eventually transitioned to a project connecting art and community in civic environments. It kicked off in Miami Beach with a Family Day Workshop at The Bass Museum in late October where children and family members were encouraged to write down their goals, dreams, and aspirations on colorful “dream tags” which were displayed on a Life Cube wall sculpture panel installed at The Bass. This week, those dream tags will become part of a collaborative “Tapestry Wall” outside on the larger Life Cube.
The form of the cube will be installed Tuesday in preparation for the public opening on Wednesday. Then, over a period of four days, local artists and members of the community will produce an art piece that changes by the hour, adding hand painted murals and dream tags. Participants can read what others have written as they add their own goals and dreams to the Life Cube.
“I strongly believe that if you write down what you want to accomplish in your life, the chances of it happening increase significantly,” Cohen told RE:MiamiBeach. He said he gets calls, notes, texts, emails, and Facebook messages from people telling him how much the Cube has impacted them “because it becomes a moment in their life. We all make lists but the fact that they have participated in this project hits a nerve with people. They take it seriously.”
“I have been incredibly blessed to get these people to tell me how this project has impacted their lives in such a positive way,” Cohen said. “People have gotten married in front of the Cube. Some have changed their life completely based on what they wrote down on the Cube as a goal that they want to accomplish.”

The New World Symphony, which will host its Education Concerts November 21-22 targeting over a thousand local students, is partnering with the Life Cube project. In a press release announcing the Life Cube, Cassidy Fitzpatrick, VP of Musician Advancement, said, “NWS’s mission is to prepare pre-professional musicians for leadership roles in the field of classical music and the Fellows have spent their young careers setting goals and achieving excellence. Inspiration is part of our DNA and we’re grateful that Life Cube offers the chance to Miami youth and community members to share their own dreams and goals.”

Cohen said there will be chalk for kids and blank canvasses which, once painted, will be assembled into what he calls “a tapestry or a quilt" and added to the Cube.

There will also be artist talks and impromptu performances nearby in the park. “I invite anybody to bring their energy, their creativity, their talent,” Cohen said. “If you bring it to the Cube, we’ll find a place for you to express it or share it… This is not about ‘come and see what Scott did’… this is about 'come and be a part of the art.' This is for the community. This is about saying ‘come see what the community has created.’ I’m secondary to this whole thing. I say that sincerely.”
The Life Cube is about letting the community share their stories, he said. “It’s important for me to make sure that people do understand that this is about the community [and] the artists who have been a part of this.” Some students applying to art schools have used their work at the Cube in their artist portfolios, he added. “Muralists have gotten commissions from cities and private individuals and so they’ve gotten paid commissions to do work that was shown at the Life Cube and I think that’s really cool.”
From Wednesday, November 20 through Sunday morning, November 24, the Cube will be open to the public. “After it goes up it looks like you’ve got this big cube with a really cool design on it and you’ve got these white canvasses and a blackboard. That’s it. It doesn’t look like much,” Cohen said. “Then the wall begins disappearing” as murals and dream tags get added. 
“Come by in the morning [Wednesday], you’ll see one thing. In the afternoon, it will be very different. The next day it’s going to be so different that you’re going to be shocked,” Cohen said. “By the end of it, it will be a completed piece of art.”
He explains the nature of ephemeral art as “a process. It doesn’t matter what day you come or how many times you come, it’s always going to be different. If you don’t come, no matter how many photographs, no matter how many videos, no matter how many stories you read… you’re never going to really experience the magic of what happened and how it happened at the Life Cube.” Even a time lapse video would not be the same, Cohen said. “It’s really an energy. It’s a vortex of creativity.”
There are 27 panels – 24 on the side and three on top. 10,000 dream tags, 3,000 of them in Spanish, are ready for the community to write their aspirations.
Up until now, Cohen said all but one of the Life Cube installations has been in drier climates. Here, he said, he also had to be prepared for a potential late season hurricane. In that unlikely event, the Cube can be disassembled quickly. “As far as rain, we’re going to get some tarps and probably drape it over the Cube. Hopefully it won’t be a day-long [rain] event.”
And if there is bad weather? Cohen said, “I’ll be there in the pouring rain… dancing.” 
Artist Scott Cohen with a Life Cube panel

Life Cube panels being assembled

Dream tags on a Life Cube in El Paso, Texas

Cohen with a "dream tag" panel

Life Cube rendering with examples of different media used

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