O, Miami builds community around the power of poetry. Through collaborations, projects, events, and publications, we create a platform for amplifying Miamians, investing in a new shared narrative of our city and a more equitable picture of its future.
We celebrate National Poetry Month with a festival that aims to have every person in Miami-Dade County encounter a poem during the month of April. Mixing site-specific events, community gatherings, and poetry-in-public-places projects, the festival is a celebration of Miami and its people. —> Learn more
We teach poetry to Miamians through in-school programs, community workshops, and teacher training. We celebrate self-expression as our principal and abiding ethic, and we aim to reach Miamians of all ages, skill levels, and backgrounds both in-person and online. —> Learn more
Our publishing program goes beyond the printed word to reach Miamians by using every available city surface, from fake parking tickets to warehouse rooftops. We collect literary work by Miamians through open calls, workshops, and outreach, and then broadcast that work into the community through books, public art, and digital platforms. —> Learn more
Caroline Cabrera (Education Director) is the author of the lyric essay collection, (lack begins as a tiny rumble) from Tinderbox Editions, as well as three poetry collections, Saint X (winner of the Hudson Prize from Black Lawrence Press), The Bicycle Year, and Flood Bloom, and two chapbooks, The Coma of the Comet (winner of the Burnside Review chapbook contest) and Dear Sensitive Beard (Dancing Girl Press). She holds an MFA in Poetry from The University of Massachusetts. She is founder and editor of Bloom Books from Jellyfish Magazine and co-host of the arts advice podcast Now that We’re Friends.
P. Scott Cunningham (Founder / Executive & Artistic Director) is the author of Ya Te Veo (University of Arkansas Press, 2018), selected by Billy Collins for the Miller Williams Poetry Series. His writing has appeared in Harvard Review, American Poetry Review, POETRY, Gulf Coast, The Awl, A Public Space, RHINO, Los Angeles Review of Books, Monocle, The Guardian, and others. A graduate of Wesleyan University, he was named one of "20 Under 40 Emerging South Florida Leaders" by The Miami Herald; one of the five “most creative Miamians under 40” by Ocean Drive; and one of 51 “brilliant urbanites who are helping to build the cities of America's future" by Fast Company. He received his M.F.A. in Creative Writing in 2008 from Florida International University. A South Florida native, he has lived in Miami since 2005.
Melissa Gomez (Communications Director) is a narrative specialist who leads O, Miami’s year-round storytelling and bridges connections between the design, social media, and the public relations team. She has a background in coordinating & producing specialty film programs such as Popcorn Frights Film Festival, Film Junkies, and the Third Horizon Film Festival, where she also served as technical director. A lifelong native of Miami, Melissa holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Film Production from Miami Dade College with a focus on directing and editing.
Sara Haley (Production Assistant) is an award-winning, state-certified art teacher with a BFA from the Cooper Union School of Art. As a teacher in the Miami-Dade Public School System, she has presented her interdisciplinary arts curriculum at the district and national levels. She is also the founder of Tropotrope: Arts Learning Lab, a space that provides arts experiences for Little Haiti and its surrounding communities. She joins O, Miami for 2021-22 after years of festival collaboration, most notably when she oversaw the creation of a student animation of a poem by Inaugural Florida Prison Poet Laureate, Edwardo Martinez, that went on to be recognized at the Indie Grits Film Festival.
Kristia Leon (Education Associate) assists Education Coordinator Caroline Cabrera in managing the free in-school residencies, workshops, and other educational offerings. Kristia first joined the team as an O, Miami Fellow in 2020 and was officially brought on to support the expanding education program. You can find her in classrooms across Miami where she instructs poetry in French. In coming semesters, she hopes to fold therapeutic approaches into the poetry curricula and continue bridging academic gaps using creative writing.
Marie McGrath (Director of Development) is a poet from Miami. She leads O, Miami's fundraising and major gifts campaigns. Formerly in the youth empowerment space, she is proud to bring her experience as a classroom educator and nonprofit executive back to Miami. She earned her MFA in Poetry from the University of Florida in 2018 and her B.A. in English from Boston College in 2014. She is also the co-host of Spare Time the podcast and an avid collector of hobbies. For more on Marie, visit www.mariekmcgrath.com.
Amancio Paradela (Development Coordinator) is a Miami native and avid tinkerer. He has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, with studies in Biology and Anthropology, and a Master of Arts in International Administration from the University of Miami. After years of collaboration, Amancio joined O, Miami in 2021 as Development Associate, bringing over a decade of development and non-profit experience. Amancio’s passion for the arts is reaffirmed by the arts’ transformational force in not only the lives of individuals but in the greater community—a subject which is featured heavily in their own artistic practice as a sculptor and maker.
Monica Peña (Programs Director) is a filmmaker, writer, and Miami native. She previously created programs for Miami Beach Cinematheque, Borscht Corp., and Locust Projects, where she led all artist-driven programming, including WaveMaker Grants and Care. As a filmmaker, she was an inaugural Sundance Institute | Knight Foundation Fellow. Her films have screened at the Miami Film Festival, New Orleans Film Festival, Indie Grits, and Eastern Oregon Film Festival, among others, and her work has been featured in Variety, VICE, Remezcla, Filmmaker, and Miami New Times. An alumna of the graduate program in Cinema and Media Studies at UCLA, she lives in Miami Beach.
Melody Santiago Cummings (Senior Director of Operations & Technology) is a proud Miami native with over 14 years of executive level arts administration experience. An alumnus of the National YoungArts Foundation, she studied at School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University, Boston, and holds a B.F.A. from Massachusetts College of Fine Art. Recognized as a 2019-20 “Miami Leader” by The Miami Foundation; she received a certificate from Indiana University – The Fundraising School in 2019. In addition to contributing to over 700 projects and events at O, Miami, Melody has been a creative strategist specializing in cultural programming for Apple and Pérez Art Museum Miami.
Dana Raja Wahab (Education / Editor) is a writer whose interests range across creative industries from arts and literature to culture and travel, with several years of experience teaching English, copywriting, and editing. She worked for seven years as a teaching artist at The Cushman School and now teaches in O, Miami's Sunroom program, in addition to managing and editing O, Miami book projects. Dana holds an M.A. in Creative Writing from Goldsmiths, University of London, and lives in Miami.
Matthew Abess is a writer, researcher, curator, and occasional lecturer specializing in nineteenth- and twentieth-century material culture, the literary avant-garde, and representations of trauma in literature, film, and documentary media. He is Director of Innovations at ThinkLAB Ventures, a family office with interests in agriculture, real estate, and sustainable forestry.
Webber J. Charles is a first generation Haitian-American who was born and raised in Miami. A graduate of FIU, he serves as the Director of Student Achievement for Breakthrough Miami, as well as the Senior Site Director for Breakthrough Miami at Ransom Everglades School. He has been named one of 40 Under 40 Black Leaders of Today and Tomorrow by the Miami Herald and one of The Top Black Educators in South Florida by the Sun Sentinel, in addition to receiving a Genius Award from BMe Community. He has previously served as a faculty committee member for the Diversity Council, the Booker T. Washington Student Exchange Program, and the Haiti Initiative, and he currently serves on the board of directors for the Nyah Project, the Executive Board of Footprints Across Haiti, Excelsior Charter Schools, and O, Miami.
LeeBetsy Charon is the founder of The Craft Accountant, an accounting firm that specializes in craft breweries and other small businesses.
P. Scott Cunningham is the founder and executive director of O, Miami. For more, see Scott’s staff bio.
Sady I. Díaz-Martorell is a proud daughter of the Dominican Republic/St. Kitts and was raised in Cleveland, Ohio. She serves as the Public Engagement Manager for the City of Sunrise, leading the city’s initiatives in corporate social responsibility, community/stakeholder engagement, multilingual campaigns, skill-based volunteerism, and impact investment. She is the original curator for the City’s highly regarded Word Up! Poetry Slam Initiative and a co-founding member of Border of Lights, an international human rights collective. She devotes her time to mentoring students and non-profits focused on the arts, career readiness, economic parity, fitness, and Caribbean diaspora.
Asha Elias is a Miami-based writer whose debut novel, Pink Glass Houses, will be released in spring 2024 by William Morrow (HarperCollins). Raised in Boca Raton and a graduate of the University of Miami, she is passionate about all things creative, community-building, and a little bit weird in South Florida.
Tom Healy (Chair) is a writer, activist and educator. A finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the Lambda Literary Award, Tom is the author of three books of poetry, as well as many artist monographs and critical essays. He has taught on the faculties of NYU and The New School and has been a guest lecturer at universities around the world. Under President Obama, Tom chaired the international Fulbright Scholars program, traveling to 40 countries to promote peace through the international exchange of artists, scientists, and scholars. Tom is a frequent podcast host and interviewer of prominent artists, celebrities, and public figures, including Questlove, Hillary Clinton, Iggy Pop, Pete Buttigieg, Salman Rushdie, Eric Schmidt, Edwidge Danticat, David Byrne, Charles Blow, and Beeple. Tom is a board member of the Heyday Foundation and a trustee of PEN America, the country’s leading advocate for freedom of expression. He is a juror for the Gotham Book Prize and a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Campbell McGrath has published numerous collections of poetry, including Nouns & Verbs: New and Selected Poems (2019) and Spring Comes to Chicago (1996), which won the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. McGrath’s many other books of poetry include In the Kingdom of the Sea Monkeys (2012), Seven Notebooks (2007), Pax Atomica (2005), Florida Poems (2002), American Noise (1994), and Capitalism (1990). He has won a MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Grant, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Witter Bynner Fellowship from the Library of Congress, the Academy of American Poets Prize, the Cohen Award from Ploughshares literary journal, and a Pushcart Prize. He lives in Miami and is a distinguished professor at Florida International University.
Tere Figueras Negrete is Communications Director for the Funders' Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities, a membership organization of more than 170 national and place-based philanthropic foundations committed to creating communities that are sustainable, prosperous and equitable. Tere is an award-winning journalist who spent nearly 15 years as a reporter and editor with the Miami Herald. Her storytelling has been featured on NPR, The Moth Podcast, Reader’s Digest’s “Best Stories in America” and the Lifetime series, Her America: 50 Women, 50 States, among others. Before joining the Funders’ Network, Tere oversaw communications outreach and special projects for Jackson Health System, the largest taxpayer-funded health system in South Florida and the public safety net hospital for many of the region’s most vulnerable. She is a graduate of Florida International University.
Dr. Amrita Prakash has been a public school administrator for the past 10 years, during which time she has accelerated growth and improved student outcomes at four different schools spanning high-need populations in Miami-Dade County. She is currently the principal at Brucie Ball Educational Center, which serves students with special needs and neurodiversities. Dr. Prakash is a 2020 Knight Arts Champion and lives in her hometown of Miami, FL.
Gesi Schilling is a South Florida-born photographer. Her work appears regularly in various publications, including The New York Times, The Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, The New Yorker, Vogue, and The Miami Herald, where she began her career as a photojournalist. Her work focuses on portraits and ethnographic studies of communities, groups, and cultures, seeking to observe beyond what’s visible in real time. She holds a degree in visual anthropology from the University of Florida and lives in Fort Lauderdale.
Jessica Plair Sirmans is a philanthropist and children’s empowerment advocate. As a Pérez Art Museum Miami host committee co-chair, Jessica spearheads KIDS JAMM at PAMM and has collaborated with Breakthrough Miami for PAMM’s Art Detectives. Jessica previously contributed to community programs for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and Hammer Museum.
Tracy Slavens is a partner at LSN Law and LSN Partners. She practices in the areas of land use, zoning, real estate, environmental and government law. Her practice is focused on the South Florida region, with a particular emphasis in Miami-Dade County and its numerous municipalities. An avid reader, traveler, yogi, and art collector, Tracy grew up on Key Biscayne as a proud Key Rat and has lived on Miami Beach since 2003. She serves on the Board of Directors for Lotus House, Miami Waterkeeper, and O, Miami.
Quinn Smith is the Managing Partner of GST LLP, a boutique law firm in the field of international arbitration. GST is consistently ranked as one of the top 100 firms in the world in this practice area. Quinn also serves as the Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of the Opa-locka Community Development Corporation and as Chair of the Board of Directors of Community Justice Project. Quinn received his B.A. from Texas Tech University and J.D. from the University of Miami School of Law.
Valerie Lopez (2023-24)
Sara Haley (2021-22)
Kristia Leon (2020-21)
Oriana Gamper (2020)
Gabrielle Alexis (2019)
Nicole Rojo (2019)
Diana Proenza (2018)
Stephanie Fernández (2017)
Katherine Wallace-Fernandez (2017)
Amanda Molina (2017)
Oscar Rieveling (2016)
Carolina Dominguez (2016)
Alissa Pagano (2015)
Santino Sini (2015)
Amanda Finuccio (2014)
Lauren Monzon (2014)
Mandee Kuhn (2013)
Marci Calabretta (2011-12)
Lea Anderson (2010-11)
Ximena Izquierdo (2009-10)
Claire Grossman (2008)
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