The not-for-profit BluSky Gallery brings an exciting new visual arts venue to Miami Beach and expands the cultural dimensions of the oldest Conservative Synagogue in the City. It is housed in the Blank Chapel of the imposing ten-story domed Temple Emanu-El. This structure, constructed in 1948, is an icon of historic architecture and is an essential feature of the City’s Art Deco District and South Beach. Modeled after the Great Synagogue in Algiers, Temple Emanu-El is considered one of the most beautiful synagogues in the United States.
While the Synagogue’s doors are corner-sited on 17th Street, BluSky Gallery’s entrance is independently located on its Washington Avenue side, across from the City’s Fillmore Theater and Convention Center. Nearby is the impressive Frank Gehry-designed New World Symphony Hall and its Soundscape Park. Together with these and the Temple itself (which also features musical performances in its 1400-seat Sanctuary throughout the year) the BluSky Gallery completes a hub of culture for the City of Miami Beach’s City Center.
The Chapel’s adaptation to a sizable first-rate exhibition gallery was made under the supervision of art consultant Diane W. Camber, who curates and organizes the exhibitions and related programming for the space she named BluSky Gallery, inspired by the existing color of its curved ceiling.
The BluSky Gallery at Temple Emanu-El showcases the work of artists from around the corner and around the world, reflecting Miami Beach’s diverse and vibrant Art scene. It creates and presents an annual series of exhibitions with a complementary program of performances, workshops, artist talks, and other community-enriching events. Combined with the Synagogue’s rich music schedule and dance performances, it establishes Temple Emanu-El as Greater Miami’s Temple of the Arts, unique to the region
About the Staff
Diane W. Camber
Director | Curator
Diane W. Camber has worked for decades as a curator, fine arts administrator, art advisor, and consultant, mounting more than 190 exhibitions, some of which have traveled nationally and internationally. She served as Director and Chief Curator of the Bass Museum of Art for twenty-seven years and more than quadrupled the institution’s permanent collection and renovated and expanded the museum facility. The Museum’s trustees named her Director Emerita upon her retirement. Prior to joining the Bass Museum, Ms. Camber held various positions at the Albright Knox Museum, Buffalo, de Cordova Museum and Sculpture Park, Lincoln, Massachusetts, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. She has taught art and art history and has extensive experience in the preservation and development of historic architecture and cultural tourism.
In recognition of her international cultural contributions, she was made Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Ministry of Culture recently, after having been made Chevalier de l’Ordre in 1986. She is a past president of the Florida Art Museum Directors Association and is an Emeritus Member of the Association of Art Museum Directors, a national organization for directors of the top American art museums. Ms. Camber is a graduate of Barnard College and studied art and architectural history at Columbia University. She also studied applied art at Massachusetts College of Art.
Currently Principal of Diane W. Camber Art Consultants, LLC. Ms. Camber works as an independent curator and consultant and advises private, public and corporate clients on collections management, strategic planning, grantsmanship, facilities development publications, and exhibition design. She has extensive experience developing programs to stimulate cultural tourism and is an accomplished speaker and writer on various aspects of the visual arts.
Rafael Vargas Bernard
Rafael Vargas Bernard is an interdisciplinary visual artist, cultural worker, noise/experimental musician, and performer with post-digital art and new media tendencies. Formerly Education Department Manager/Coordinator at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Puerto Rico, in 2018, Vargas Bernard moved to Miami, FL. He became Community Manager and Co-Directed the Mana Contemporary Miami / 777 Mall art complex and community until 2021. He worked as the Director of Programs and Operations for FilmGate Miami. Rafael currently works as the Assistant Director for BluSky Gallery. Vargas Bernard studied Computer Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Studio Art at the Recinto Universitario de Mayagüez Puerto Rico, Sculpture and Imagen y movimiento at the Escuela de Artes Plásticas y Diseño de Puerto Rico, and La Práctica at Beta-Local (San Juan, PR).
Rafael creates experiences, images, and objects that are often interactive. His work examines vulnerability, artificial and organic systems, power structures, and the human condition. Vargas Bernard combines performance, sound, programming, sculpture, painting, humor, readily accessible materials and technologies, commonplace items, and digital media in his creative practice. His work is in several private collections and the permanent public collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art of Puerto Rico, the Museum of Art of Caguas, and the Young at Art Museum. His work has been presented by Exit Art NYC, VOLTA NY, Mana Contemporary, Clocktower Productions, Oolite Arts, Edge Zones, Art and Culture Center of Hollywood, and the Wrong Bienniale. His work has been reviewed in the Art Newspaper, Vice Magazine, Medium, and Art in America, amongst others.