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Sunday, June 16, 2013

Miami artist scene is not all that

A recent study puts Miami as number 60 on the list of Metro areas with the highest artist populations.

Towns in Montana and Iowa came out ahead of Miami. 

It's hard to believe with our large emerging art scent, which started on Lincoln Road in the late 1980s and moved to Wynwood. We also have Art Basel and so many other art events. We always joke about having so many gallery walks at different times of the month. It seems like each community has one. But I guess the artists aren't residing here and so many of the galleries feature art from outside the area, there aren't many venues for local artists.

Coconut Grove was of course, Miami's original art destination, when art wasn't "forced" and it just sort of was organic. Maybe this is a wake up call to local galleries to actually help nurture and support our local artists. But then again, if we don't have artists living here, there isn't their art to support. Vicious circle. Which came first the artists or the galleries supporting them?

This photo is one of my favorites, taken at this year's Gifford Lane Art Stroll in Coconut Grove this past March.

For linking to this one story, just click on the time it was posted & just this story will open for sharing - only through social media. Not copying and pasting.


Anonymous Anonymous said...


In my recollection that's when the art scene DIED in the Grove. That's when the free concerts in Peacock Park stopped. That's when the Art Festival started fencing everything off and charging admission to the attendees and charging such high rates to rent a space that the local artists couldn't afford to exhibit their wares anymore. That's when the Grove Bike Race was stopped. That's when they stopped having events at the Convention Center. That's when the Grove was full of gang members driving around in circles and the sirens started at four in the afternoon and didn't stop till two in the morning.

That's when the business owners became jealous of all the carts and kiosks set up by local artists along the sidewalks because they felt that those artists were stealing their clientele. They argued that the carts were not paying rent and thus weren't really contributing to the Grove and so, "poof", alll those artists were kicked out of the Grove. This was about the same time the Community Center in Peacock was shut down and taken over for City use.

Currently there seems to be a general consensus that anything in the Grove that has to deal with with music or any of the visual arts must be sanctioned by the Grove business owners. Properly arranged and advertised so as to bring in paying customers to the shops and bars with the focus on the location of the events while the art and artists themselves are just the dancing monkeys to attract the rubes.

There is another issue with the Grove and artists. There is an old expression about "starving artists". The words "artist" and "broke" tend to go hand in hand and, let's face it, the Grove hates poor people.

June 16, 2013 1:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Art mostly reflects culture and Miami has been topping the list for corruption, under the table deals, absentee ballot fraud, criminal violence and...

By the way a duo of top Haitian artists are opening a gallery on Commodore Plaza, a major breath of fresh air. Grove is still a major destination and draw for great art and culture, it is impossible for any group or person to change or destroy this heritage. Only if we stopped supporting and advocating for sleazy politics and start supporting real efforts and real people then we will again be on top of the list in a very time, very very short time, guaranteed.

June 16, 2013 4:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Im so sad to see what i saw today in the grove. as a long time resident of almost 40 years.i was walking around the grove today with my family from out of town.and we were so depresed at how boring the grove has become.when i moved here years ago with my late husband we would always say we would stay young forever with the constant crowds of youth.today all i saw was bored people complaning of nothing to do or see in our grove.

June 16, 2013 9:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

First the Grove House Artists had a building which nurtured the area artists. Which expanded to the Playhouse. You all know what happened next. They started the Art Festival which at some point eliminated all the local and Miami artists to reinvent themselves at the Coconut Grove Art Festival. Next time the artists appeared it was the One Ear Society, with the original Grove House Artists which lasted 7 years, a long run for Art organizations with their own space. They in turn occupied several other location in the Grove and had simultaneous shows through out Miami as it grew. When the OES first opened up, a police officer came by and was glad to see them as tourist kept asking where are the artists? The reputation was international. (Officers then still wore light blue shirts with shorts.) It morphed into the Windisch-Hunt Fine Art Gallery with most of the artists in a new space. A new group trying reinvent itself with a slightly different spelling from the original calling themselves Grove House Artists hoping to keep the legacy going. They are active when they are able to get exhibition space. What is important in reading this is remember artists need the support of the community without that ....well.

June 21, 2013 2:37 AM  

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