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JoMarie Payton promotes cultural arts

mcneir | 9/13/2012, 12:53 p.m.

Actress JoMarie Payton shows that just like family, community and cultural arts, also matter. Payton helped the Miramar Cultural Center Artspark kick off its fifth anniversary season at the first annual Southern Circuit Independent Film Festival, which was held Sept. 6 through Sept. 9. Payton plans on becoming more involved in South Florida by promoting cultural arts and encouraging youth to take part. Payton said it feels wonderful to be back home in South Florida and engage in the community. She grew up in Opa-Locka and attended North Dade Jr. High School and Miami Carol City Sr. HIgh School. She has recently moved back to Miami. Although she has some upcoming projects in L.A. and will be traveling a lot, she has committed herself to being more involved in South Florida as the cultural ambassador of the Miramar Cultural Center. "I feel that God is going to bless me wherever I am, and I'm enjoying being back home," Payton said. Camasha Cevieux, deputy director of the Miramar Cultural Center, said that they selected Payton as the Cultural Ambassador because they wanted a face that people would recognize and could trust. "Outside of her celebrity [status], she's a Floridian and I think people appreciate that," Cevieux said. Youth Outreach Payton encourages everyone to attend the upcoming events at the Cultural Center, but she especially wants the youth to come to the theatre. "Once you plant the seed, it grows," she said. "When it's grounded and you give it to them, even if they stray away, they'll always remember it and come back." She said she thinks there are a lot of the talented young people in South Florida and she wants to make a greater impact in the community. "I think they do have the talent, they do have the courage, the energy, the spirit and the intelligence," she said. "Maybe I can help bring some of that out." She plans on producing a show in Miami called "Second Chance with JoMarie." She said she's been offered to do it in Canada and Tennessee but she wants to do it in Miami. Miami is undeserved, especially in the Black community, in showcasing talent, according to Payton. She is excited that the Center is hosting very diverse events this season. She mentioned some of their upcoming events, such as the Chinese circus, the indian dance, and the Opera. Payton thinks the Cultural Center will bring diverse community members together. "When a piece of art is beautiful, whether it's staged, it's music or whatever it may be, special people appreciate it," Payton said. '"Nothing brings the world together like the arts." By Malika A. Wright mwright@miamitimesonline.com