We need more culture and art in the Grove
Dan Bondroff paints on Main Highway during an En Plein Air day in October 2009.
The article in the Miami Herald yesterday about Wynwood caught my eye for two reasons -- one, they were given a grant by ArtPlace, through the Knight Foundation, to start a BID (Business Improvement District) which will be interesting to compare to our own BID, and two, because of a quote by Matt Haggman, Miami's program director of the Knight Foundation. He said, “Art has been at the core of the revival of Wynwood. Art gives an area a sense of place and an identity, which serves as a catalyst for economic development."
I find this interesting, because as Wynwood rises up the art ranks, the Grove could use a lot of help in the art department. While we have Gallery Walk the first Saturday of each month, we need more art. We need artists on the streets, we need the Art Stroll at the Mayfair Promenade to come back in order to bring more people to the Gallery Walk, we need to get more En Plein Air projects going, like we used to have, you know, live artists on the streets painting.
Let's do a chalk painting festival. Let's close a street or two (or the Promenade) and put art there. Let's have more musicians on the streets. Let's have more art installations. We do have Shakespeare in the Park, which has been at Shell Lumber lately, each year done by the Miami Shakespeare group, and Big Howl in the Wood and the Bed Race and the King Mango Strut and the Arts Festival, but we need more.
The Light Box, a theater in Wynwood, is also getting funding. We need a theater here, too. While the Playhouse sits and rots, we could have had the New Theatre, but short sightedness has sent it to FIU, where I hear busloads (literally) of Grovites headed for a performance just last week.
Cirque du Grove on Virginia Street last July
Interestingly enough, there was another article in yesterday's Herald, titled, "The Arts Are Thriving," which stated that arts-related spending is up and despite the economic downturn, people are spending money on art and culture. They are attending events in droves.
Perhaps if we added more culture and art to the Grove we could entice more people to visit, spend money and open businesses. I wonder what it would take to lure a theater company or a musical group or artists to come and put on temporary productions outside on the street, or on CocoWalk or Mayfair's grounds to start. I know it is done to a small degree but we need more.
The Fete de la Musique is coming here on June 21. This is what we need more of, but not at the expense of of other projects. I was told that this year's Cirque du Grove will not happen because the funding went to Fete de la Musique. Why do we have to choose? When it comes to culture there should always be room for all events.
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