Art Will Fill Vacant Spaces in Miami Beach

Susan Askew
Susan Askew

Art Will Fill Vacant Spaces in Miami Beach:

Collaboration between City and property owners supports local artists

Art and culture are key components of the Miami Beach DNA so it’s natural they would be part of our recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. The City, in collaboration with private property owners, is launching Miami Beach Open House, “a city-led investment in the revitalization of its commercial corridors with experiential artist residencies utilizing vacant spaces,” according to an announcement of the program.

The goal is to activate empty spaces throughout Miami Beach while supporting local artists and the arts community which have been hard hit by the pandemic and subsequent economic downturn. Participating properties include vacant storefronts, restaurants and nightclubs as well as City offices, public parks, and cultural venues.

“Privately-owned vacant spaces serve as workspaces, studios, exhibition space and communal areas that encourage dialogue and collaboration,” the City says. “In collaboration with participating property owners, Miami Beach Open House provides the space and support necessary for artmaking and peer-to-peer exchange, supporting growth for the city’s entire arts community.”

“The City of Miami Beach is dedicated to art and culture, and we will not allow the challenges of the past year to diminish that status,” Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber said. “It is with this in mind that we are exceedingly pleased to be able to present programs like Open House, which will provide a platform to allow our local businesses and artists to mutually support each other.”

Through the program, 71 artists and nonprofit cultural organizations will receive “heavily subsidized space and financial support.” Artists receive a stipend of $2,500 and pay “a nominal fee” for their space.

Rolling out now through April, the program formally runs through early summer though the City notes select artists may work with property owners to stay at their locations “for the indefinite future.”

“Working in the context of each of these spaces, artists have the opportunity to exhibit and sell their works, build networks, and collaborate with Miami Beach institutions and their constituents,” the City says. “Through this project, property owners are able to positively support innovative cultural work in Miami Beach, and expose their properties to the public while creating new, accessible spaces and platforms for cultural tourism.”

The program includes indoor and outdoor temporary public art installations throughout the City.

Currently on view: 

Phrases by Juan Requena at 640 Collins Avenue (photo above)
“Through his multimedia work, Requena tells stories of situations related to racial discrimination, post gender thinking, human relationships and our behavior in the natural habitat. Currently working with textiles, powder, video & sound, his glow in the dark floor installations present phrases made of powder that are at once fragile and ephemeral. The statements are taken from books, movies and the artists’ personal conversations."

My mother would say I lack discipline by Najja Moon at the Rotunda in Collins Park
“Commissioned by The Bass Museum for New Monuments, as part of a five-year initiative supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the work will use a wide range of voice recordings of women speaking maternal affirmations, reminders and critiques. The Rotunda will also serve as a meeting point to conduct those interviews. Moon is also developing a second project, where she is transcribing her drawings into music. An array of musicians will be working to perform the scores she writes [on site]."

Night Drawings for Pedestrians by Michelle Weinberg converts the storefront at 7409 Collins into a light box
“The work is composed of invented architectures, using carbon paper to create wayward symmetries. After the drawings are completed, the black carbon papers that contain layers of drawing marks are illuminated at night, revealing the skeletal architecture of the drawings, like an X-ray or a blueprint. The installation appears as a long, illuminated graphic novel winking back at the community."

Department of Reflection, 800 Ocean Drive, founded in 2018 in collaboration with the City of Miami Beach
“[T]he Department of Reflection is a foil (or reflection) of municipal entities that produces creative moments of exchange (and reflection) between the municipality and its residents. As a post-governmental agency, the Department of Reflection collaborates internally but maintains its autonomy, pushing and interrogating the work of the government while creating bridges between it and the residents of Miami Beach. Its work brings new perspectives to important local conversations, ideally even leading to solutions.”

Sunset Archive, 431 Washington Avenue, a collaboration with FIU curator Yi Chin Hsieh and visual artist Juan Requena, presenting a 20-minute video installation by Reqena titled, Galaxy View cast on the property’s exterior doors
“The video… was shot in the first-person perspective, collecting sunset scenes for years at a beach in Mumbai, India. The artist placed a camera on a small remote-controlled car and monitored it at Bandra West, Mumbai, documenting the sunset. While enjoying the view from [a]far, the video also walks the viewer through piles of garbage and encounters with wild animals at the beach, providing the audience multi-perspective views and thoughts on environmental issues, urban lifestyles, and mental stability. In the artist’s words ‘The video pays homage to the lush but fragile, threatened natural resources of this region.’”

A curatorial advisory committee, composed of members of the Art in Public Places Committee and Cultural Arts Council, selected 71 applicants to participate in Miami Beach Open House. 

Participating Artists 

  • Studio AMLgMATD 
  • Jason Aponte 
  • Jenna Balfe 
  • Ballet Flamenco La Rosa 
  • Bas Fisher Invitational 
  • Thomas Bils
  • Liene Bosque
  • Scott Brennan 
  • Belaxis Buil 
  • Laura Casanas 
  • Domingo Castillo 
  • Beatriz Chachamovits 
  • BABA Collective 
  • Coral Morphologic 
  • Penny Crane 
  • Cuban Classical Ballet of Miami 
  • Carolina Cueva 
  • Dance Now! Miami 
  • Cara Despain 
  • Bernadette Despujols 
  • Gianna DiBartolomeo 
  • Dimensions Dance Theatre 
  • Dimensions Variable 
  • Giannina Dwin 
  • Jenna Efrein 
  • Christian Feneck 
  • Fiber Artists Miami (FAMA Art) 
  • Chris Friday 
  • Lucila Garcia de Onrubia 
  • Mauricio Giammattei 
  • Jessica Gispert 
  • Kristin Guerin 
  • Jacquelyn Guerrero 
  • Alan Gutierrez 
  • Hispafest 
  • Rachel Hovnanian 
  • Yi Chin Hsieh 
  • Carla Jerez 
  • Summer Jade Leavitt 
  • Justin Long 
  • Monica Lopez De Victoria 
  • Laura Marsh 
  • Juan Matos 
  • David McCauley 
  • Miami Beach Urban Studios-FIU 
  • Miami Dance Hub 
  • Najja Moon 
  • Charo Oquet 
  • PATH to Hip-Hop 
  • Edison Peñafiel 
  • Devora Perez 
  • Peter London Global Dance Company 
  • Lee Pivnik 
  • Project Art 
  • Juan Requena 
  • Timothy Reyes 
  • Adee Roberson 
  • Dinorah de Jesús Rodriguez 
  • George Sanchez-Calderon 
  • Nathaniel Sandler 
  • Tom Scicluna 
  • Barron Sherer 
  • Magnus Sodamin 
  • Misael Soto 
  • Erin Thurlow 
  • Eric Trope 
  • Alejandro Valencia 
  • Joshua Veasey 
  • Michelle Weinberg 
  • Michael Williams 
  • Young Musicians Unite 

Property owners participating the Miami Beach Open House program include:
  • 420 Lincoln Road Development
  • Robinson Properties
  • Ocean Terrace Holdings
  • Goldman Properties

Additional property owners will be added throughout the duration of the program. 

For more information on Miami Beach Open House visit the website at http://www.mbartsandculture.org/openhouse/

Photo from Phrases by Juan Requena at 640 Collins Avenue 
 

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