"What's Next For Wynwood" Panel Devolves Into Petty Fighting and Personal Attacks

Categories: Art, Culture
More audience participation and calls for representation flew back and forth the room as attendees hoped to settle their fears about Wynwood's problems. One young man pointed out, "You built it and they came." The audience then turned to Collins for answers to planning.

"Part of my job... is simply to convince Wynwood that the city will work with the community," Collins said. "Part of Wynwood's job, and I agree with everybody who has agreed and disagreed in this conversation, is to work as a community. When this group of people understands that a lot of what you're saying is really cliche -- genuine, but cliche -- and uses that as an impulse to reach out to Joe Furst or Dave Lombardi or to other communities and see what they've done, this can be solved. This is really simple stuff. What's not simple is establishing Wynwood as a worldwide destination. There's so much to work for here," Collins said.

Audience members continued to engage. One man called for a public/private sector study in order to bring together key players and make them problem solve realistic main issues. Another, David Geller, who said he specializes in adaptive reused buildings like those of Wynwood, rallied the crowd to applause after speaking.

"I think you have a terrific problem here, so fantastically successful that it now needs to be guided, managed. Unfortunately, there will always be a segment of the art world that will continue to seek out less expensive undiscovered places for low rent," Geller said. "That's where they need to be, but if you miss the opportunity to get all the stakeholders in Wynwood, the people that made Wynwood have the energy that it has right now, you won't create what your vision was. It has to be a commitment by the landlords to keep the district with the mix of people and tenants that made it what it is right now. If you're only interested in the highest rent on the street, all the people that made Wynwood what it is right now will leave."

Attention went back to the panel as Lombardi discussed the ideal progress for Wynwood, which he affirmed the BID could help establish.

"As a group of property owners, we've been meeting for many years. We've enacted things that no other district has, doing it with our own money so people like us are putting our money where out mouth is and trying to create a great district. When it comes to a vision and what this neighborhood is, this is the cultural home for the creative entrepreneur, the creative artist, the creative individual," Furst said as he defended the plan.

Collins fought off interjection from Kohen a few times before he managed to finally get out that this is the "first time in America to try and figure out how the galleries can continue to survive and on what terms in the district, and I think that's the challenge in front of us. Please, work together."

Jose Nava of WADA helped bring the raging public forum to a much needed close by explaining that these were not new problems being addressed, and that WADA has been working for quite some time to establish a course of action. "We are actually working to create this infrastructure that everyone has complained about. It's slow, but it's there," he said.

At the end of the meeting, Furst spoke to New Times. He addressed the Art Walk complaints, saying it's only "twelve days a year. We'll always do the best we can in terms of controlling the Art Walk, but to classify or generalize a neighborhood after 12 days a year is just kind of absurd. And my hope for the Art Walk is to expose the neighborhood. It's not a bad thing."

The end result of the panel: A fresh rehashing of the same old problems, resulting in petty in-fighting instead of viable solutions. Everyone invested in Wynwood has an opinion and no one has a concrete solution -- and it seems no one will until the Wynwood community actually tries talking to itself.

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The problem with Wynwood Art scene is that it dropped into as "a scene" without ever developing an infrastructure. It never had a chance to develop roots when it gentrified the community overnight. That is why everything is unorganized. The corporate graffiti everywhere is a long term problem because it gives a false sense of "anything goes" atmosphere. Who takes an environment like that seriously in any community be it art or music? No one has paid attention to the fact that Wynwood is a glass celling fragile at the core because there is no permanent or stable  infrastructure. No one wants artists in LIttle Haiti or anywhere because they help gentrify communities without realizing this. 

Fred Snitzer is unethical and will swing which ever way is most convenient for him. He hasn't been around for that many years without crossing so many people. 

Carlos Franco
Carlos Franco

From rearding this article it seems like most things in miami , everyone has an opinion but no one person has seem to come with ideas on how to communicate with each other and begin working towards solutions. They do not even have a plan about how to keep wynwood grow as a area that also has retail and restaurants but they do not talk about creating spaces for artist to have studios at reasonable prices before having them moving elsewhere to be able to create their own works. Fred Snitzer is one of miami most prominent gallerist but yet he has recently moved away from his long time wynwood space because of cost( correct me if im wrong) but shouldnt that be a warning sign that needs to be looked at more closely as trying to prevent the exodus of galleries. Dont no get me wrong many galleries are not looking to leave but they should look at creating wynwood as a Art district in the fullest of the word that it provides activities for art lover outside of art walk. those are my two cents on the issue


I was waiting to hear about the artists' perspective but I guess that "what's next for Wynwood" is an arts community without artists.  Not that long ago, many artists used to live and work in Wynwood, before it became a real estate goldmine for developers. The artists have found somewhere else to live and work (Little Haiti, Overtown, etc.), and have moved on. While I don't agree with everything he says, I think Snitzer is right on the money here.  And Lombardi?  I have never heard one nice word about this guy from anyone.  

jjcolagrande topcommenter

1st off, well-written article, Briana . . .

Second, this ain't happening overnight; and there's plenty of time...

Hank Justice
Hank Justice

It is funny. Also noticed you guys misspelled "areas" on page 2, paragraph 4, line 4

Anthonyvop1 topcommenter

      Who are these people who make up the "ARTtuesdays/Miami" panel and who decided they have any say on what people can do on their own property?

D.f. Basora
D.f. Basora

Miami community "leadership" at its finest. It is really getting pathetic in this town. And given how sad it's been that's saying something


I am a local artist(Roosevelt Clark Art Sales.com), but I must admit that I have not visited the Wynwood Art District .  If anyone out there can advise me on how I can become involved in the Wynwood art community, I would be most appreciative. I have an online gallery (see address above), my telephone number is: 786-315-0599. Thanks.

Asüka Bazüka
Asüka Bazüka

What's next? Outrageously priced cost of living, that the artists (who made it COOL) can't afford. *le sigh*

cpchester topcommenter

@jjcolagrande Agree - sounds like growing pains typical of an evolving neighborhood

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