Iconic Images Celebrates Art and Friends

A Benefit Event for the Miami Children's Initiative











For artist Barbara Schwartz, creating ceramics is about passion and a desire to share her vision with others. Michael Neijna, an engineer by profession, integrates his professional knowledge into his artistic painted constructions. "I employ geometry, order and discipline in the practice of my profession and my art."

The good friends will combine their talents by showing their works at a very special event, Iconic Images, with all proceeds benefitting the Miami Children's Initiative (MCI) programs. The evening will be hosted by Barbara and Stanley Schwartz (who are also celebrating their 50th anniversary) and Michael and Sandy Neijna.

A presentation of 75 of their most iconic works, the event incorporates art with food, drink and lively conversation on Saturday, Nov. 14, from 6 to 11 p.m. at the Miami Ad School Event Center, 571 N.W. 28th St., in Miami's Wynwood District.

Barbara has been creating sculpture since graduating from Ohio State University, where she majored in art. "I am looking forward to sharing my retrospective work for the first time," says Barbara. "I also admire Michael's work and dedication to his art. Our art connection is probably our attention to detail, making a statement about the world around us and the joy of creating," she says.

A desire by the two artists and their spouses to "give back" will also surround the evening. The idea for Iconic Images was spurred by the desire to find a way to support "a wonderful and worthy cause," The Miami Children's Initiative.

"Dedicated to transforming the lives of the children and families in Liberty City by providing a unified system of support, education and care that begins before birth and extends through college and career, the program has proven successful and it serves a population of our hometown that is deserving of our help," says Barbara.

She was among one of the first Head Start teachers in the city and the country at the Charles R. Drew K-8 Center for the Visual and Performing Arts, the place Barbara calls "the school at the heart of MCI. We were introduced to MCI by David Lawrence Jr." Lawrence, retired publisher of The Miami Herald leads The Children's Movement of Florida, dedicated to improving Floridians' investment in the first five years of children, and is president of The Early Childhood Initiative Foundation.

Barbara and Stanley are also committed supporters of education. Their student scholarship, the Moe and Laura Schwartz Scholarships for advertising and magazine-journalism at the University of Florida, has helped countless students realize their goals. The Schwartzes are now initiating the first of its kind Advertising Sales Course at the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications. After many years of publishing and trade show producing, Stanley is currently producing The Big Pitch, a trade show program for new products to come to market.

"Iconic Images is a way to introduce friends and neighbors to the wonders of our community in a fun and unique way," says Barbara. Our goal is to create a great place to live for families and children, and the people attending this event are true 'difference makers.' A donation is all you need to do to attend. Even if you cannot attend, a donation is happily accepted." A minimum donation of $50 is requested (the amount chosen as a tribute to Barbara and Stanley's 50th wedding anniversary) to attend the event with all proceeds going to the Miami Children's Initiative.

To purchase tickets or to make a donation, go to www.miamichildrensinitiative.org/iconicimages