Wynwood's Preview Thursdays: A Serene Alternative to Second Saturdays
Gregg Shienbaum points a thumb toward the rear of his Wynwood gallery, over the tumbleweeds of packing materials and past the still-unhung canvas that had occupied his entire wingspan only moments earlier.
The Raft at Mindy Solomon Gallery
"Late, after last Second Saturday," he recalls, "I locked these doors and went around to shut the roll-down out front. There were four girls sitting against the wall and slobbering over their food."
The streets had long since thinned of the thousands who had flocked for the monthly free drinks, music, food, and possibly even the art. Shienbaum asked the young women to move so he could close up. His wife was parked out back with the engine running.
"Can't you wait until we finish?" he remembers one of them slurring. After they finally left, across the street he spotted "this girl passed out on the sidewalk. Her drunk girlfriends were trying to lift her, and they couldn't do it. Second Saturday is a great time, but... nobody who is buying wants to see that."
Things have gotten tricky in Wynwood during Second Saturday Art Walk, and not only for those attempting to stand. What began eight years ago as a leisurely way to stroll through a few galleries has become overwhelming.
So Isaac Perelman, director of Dot Fiftyone on NW 27th Street, and business partner Alfredo Guzmán are heading an initiative to have more than 30 Wynwood galleries extend their hours until at least 9 p.m. the Thursday before Second Saturday.
They hope to attract collectors and aficionados to see the art without the attendant Saturday chaos. There was a test run last month, and now seven galleries -- David Castillo, Alejandra von Hartz, O. Ascanio, Kelley Roy, Oxenberg Fine Art, Tub, and Waltman Ortega Fine Art -- will open new shows during this week's first official Preview Thursday. Most of the receptions will begin at 7 p.m.
"We want to come back to the roots, to where people can come to galleries, engage the art in peace, and talk to the artists," Perelman explains. "In the future, we'll have lectures and other events."