For Romero Britto, creating art is about creating community. And when the famed Brazilian artist, whose colorful creations can be found around the world, partnered with Chabad-Lubavitch at Midtown Miami to create a limited edition kippah, it was an opportunity to add another brick to the growing community in his own backyard.

“My inspiration is love, people, humanity, family, togetherness, compassion and empathy,” says Britto. “It’s all of these beautiful feelings that bring people together.”

As a child growing up in a large family in modest circumstances in Recife, Brazil, Britto discovered his innate creativity, which allowed him to imagine a world beyond his own. The young artist began painting on anything he could get his hands on: newspapers, cardboard or any other scraps. In the early 1980s, he headed for Paris, where he was introduced and inspired by the works of Matisse and Picasso, before coming to the United States and joining the country’s flourishing pop-art movement.

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Today, Britto, 54, is a world-renowned Miami fixture whose art has been exhibited in galleries and museums in more than 100 countries, including the Louvre in Paris and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Britto has become famous for creating art on unlikely canvases (for example, watch dials for LVMH’s Hublot watch division or a $335,000 luxury Rolls Royce Dawn), while also using his art to bring attention to worthy causes. Now, Chabad of Midtown finds itself among the organizations Britto believes share a message with his art.

Chabad supporter Dror Zadok, left, with artist Romero Britto and Rabbi Shmuel Gopin
Chabad supporter Dror Zadok, left, with artist Romero Britto and Rabbi Shmuel Gopin

Chabad of Midtown was founded by Rabbi Shmuel and Chana Gopin in 2003, and its rising 14,000-square-foot center, expected to be finished by the end of the year, sits in the heart of Miami’s spiritual and artistic renaissance. The facility is situated in the center of urban Miami at the nexus of vibrant artistic communities like Wynwood and Design District, which draw visitors from around the world. Nearby Edgewater and Midtown Miami are among Florida’s fastest-growing areas with a new high rise seemingly joining the skyline monthly.

‘We Need More Beautiful Things Here’

It was the artist’s own idea to create the limited-edition kippah, every one of which he personally signed. All of the proceeds from the sale of the kippahs will go straight to the construction of Chabad's new center.

“When you stop to think and care about other people, you have a feeling only humans can have, which is love,” says Britto. “Whenever I try to see how our community is doing, I look especially for organizations like what the rabbi [is doing], and it’s a beautiful thing, and we need more beautiful things here.”

It was the artist’s own idea to create the limited-edition kippah, every one of which he personally signed. (Photo: Daniel Arauz)
It was the artist’s own idea to create the limited-edition kippah, every one of which he personally signed. (Photo: Daniel Arauz)

Each year in December, thousands of visitors descend on the neighborhood where the new Chabad center is being built for Miami’s annual art week that includes Art Basel Miami Beach, as well as dozens of satellite fairs exhibiting the work of world-renowned artists like Banksy, Jeff Koons and Andy Warhol.

In recent years, the area has garnered worldwide acclaim for, among other things, the eye-popping artwork that fills almost every square inch of the neighborhood’s wall space. The Gopins and their seven children have been an integral part of this vibrant, growing community.

“We’re honored to have an artist of the importance of Mr. Britto understand our mission and vision and partner with us,” says Gopin. “Together, we hope to be source of light and inspiration for not only Miami, but the entire world.”

For more information about the Britto Kippah, visit Brittokippah.com.

Chabad of Midtown was founded by Rabbi Shmuel and Chana Gopin in 2003. Its rising 14,000-square-foot center, expected to be finished by the end of the year, sits in the heart of Miami’s spiritual and artistic center. (Photo: Daniel Arauz)
Chabad of Midtown was founded by Rabbi Shmuel and Chana Gopin in 2003. Its rising 14,000-square-foot center, expected to be finished by the end of the year, sits in the heart of Miami’s spiritual and artistic center. (Photo: Daniel Arauz)
“Whenever I try to see how our community is doing," says Britto, "I look especially for organizations like what the rabbi [is doing], and it’s a beautiful thing, and we need more beautiful things here.” (Photo: Erika Blanco)
“Whenever I try to see how our community is doing," says Britto, "I look especially for organizations like what the rabbi [is doing], and it’s a beautiful thing, and we need more beautiful things here.” (Photo: Erika Blanco)