MIAMI
02/06/2013 10:24 am ET | Updated Feb 06, 2013

Miami Mapping Project Plots Where Artists Once Worked And Lived (VIDEO)

When Miami makes news, it's rarely good.

The city is currently closing out a vigilante persecution of snakes, is ground zero for a possible MLB scandal, and is full of cops who won't put down their cortaditos long enough to help save an unconscious baby.

And those are just headlines from the past week!

Lara Stein Pardo, however, is trying to unveil the Magic City's artistic and intellectual depth with a project titled Mapping Miami, which pinpoints sites of historic importance throughout the 305.

She told HuffPost Miami that she recently found out that author Zora Neale Hurston once lived on a boat near the MacArthur Causeway.

"I run by that site at least once a week and it always sparks my imagination," she says.

Pardo, a cultural anthropologist from Miami Beach, has been working with Special Collections at the University of Miami, HistoryMiami, National Portrait Gallery, and the Library of Congress to piece together other noteworthy places.

She discovered that Billie Holiday maintained a room at a boarding house called Georgette's Tea Room in Brownsville and that playwright Tennessee Williams staged "A Streetcar Named Desire" at the Coconut Grove Playhouse in 1956.

She says she's currently trying to verify a story about poet Langston Hughes's car breaking down in Miami, where he left it abandoned on the street.

"I wanted to do this project because Miami is a city in which the past is constantly erased by a focus on the future," Prado told HuffPost Miami.

Her project to plot Miami's history was awarded a grant by Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and she's currently seeking funds via Indiegogo to satisfy the matching-funds requirement. (You can donate through Friday.)

The funds will go towards developing an interactive web site and for Pardo to continue her research.

Once the site is up and active, she hopes Miamians will get in touch with their own leads about unknown historical sites in Dade County.

Pardo also hopes to expand the project to include apps, tours, and podcasts as well as go nationally as Mapping Arts Project, plotting local sites of interest in cities throughout the U.S.

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