Nine New Year's Resolutions for Miami's Arts Community

Categories: Culture

All together now. Even you, Bosh.
The year 2012: It's been a good one for Miami's arts scene. Art Basel and many of its satellite fairs enjoyed financial success. Borscht Corp. hosted what most people agree was its greatest film festival to date. Construction's well underway on the new museum park, Tom Wolfe wrote a novel about us (a terrible novel, by most accounts, but still -- Tom Wolfe), and Zaha Hadid, one of the greatest architects of our time, is set to add her vision to our skyline.

Covering arts and culture in the past year has made us even more proud to live in Miami. Still, there are plenty of things we can do -- as individuals and as a community -- to support and expand the arts around town.

From saving Wynwood to giving Britto a break (no, really), these are our hopes for Miami's arts community in 2013.

Ian Witlen
Buy More Art
Miami has amazing talent in every corner of its arts scene. But if there's one thing we learned from the handful of artists who moved to greener pastures in the past year, it's that we need to do a better job supporting them financially. The city's art collectors -- the rich ones who make serious investments in artists' and galleries' careers -- could stand to focus more on Miami-based artists. The rest of us aren't innocent, either; if you can't afford original works (and most of us can't), look into scoring an affordable print, or attend fundraising events like Bakehouse's Lucky You! or Locust Projects' Smash and Grab. So resolve to add at least one work by a Miami artist to your walls this year, especially if it means swapping out some crappy pop art you bought at IKEA.

Expand Public Transit
Locals have long been in agreement that Miami needs a better system of public transit. But this year's Art Basel really put the issue into focus, with drivers waiting an hour or longer just to cross the I-395 or I-195 causeways. Congestion like that isn't just annoying on its own merits; it actively prevented many from seeing the great art at the fairs and galleries around town, because they just couldn't get there. If you (like us) were working until 6pm on a weekday, you couldn't get across the causeway in time to explore most art fairs before they closed. Expanding bus service between Midtown and South Beach would reduce the number of cars on the road and help people see more awesome stuff, in theory -- but only if that service is run consistently and is easy to access.

Bring Back the Booze
Remember what Second Saturday Art Walk was like several years ago? Most gallery openings came with a side of free beer or cocktails, sponsored by whatever beverage company was courting the city's arts scene at the moment. But Wynwood's art walks have gotten bigger and rowdier since then, which led many galleries to quit serving drinks; some now close early on Second Saturdays to keep out "undesirables." And that sucks. People attending art walk these days spend more time on the street, eating and drinking at the food trucks, than they do inside the galleries, which undermines the whole point of the monthly event. If you want to engage the public, you've gotta go back to the good old days, when the success of a gallery exhibit was measured by the amount of buzz it generated among people getting buzzed.

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