Founded in 1988, NAEMI emerges while Juan Martin, the Executive Director, worked providing counseling to mentally disabled persons at a community mental health center in Miami. After encouraging a client to paint as a way to escape his intense suffering, Martin remembers how he liked that art work and realized at that moment that there were probably many other talented persons in psychiatric hospitals waiting to be discovered. This first artist that Martin discovered never again picked up a paintbrush, erroneously deciding that he was not an artist. Yet, his extraordinary work remains a testimony of his error. These artists have a great need to express what is going on in their world regardless of the latest fashion trend in theÂ mesmerizing world ofÂ contemporary art.
In the past 26 years, NAEMI has been a pioneer of this field of outsider art by developing various projects, conferences, workshops and activities with experts in the visual arts, literary and mental health professions. NAEMI exhibitions have been annually shown in Miami and have circulated in various museums and art galleries throughout the United States, from New York to Washington D.C.;Â in the European Union, in Spain and in Belgium; in Latin America in Chile, Argentina, Peru, Mexico, Bolivia, Paraguay and Guatemala.
Naemiâ€™s passionate commitment to the art of one of the most marginalized group of individuals in the world is evident through these activities and future projects. Naemi has in its permanent collection nearly 1200 works of art.