March 24, 2019

facebook twitter linkedin tumblr google pinterest

A Cinderella Story for the Miami Art Scene’s New $100 Million Player

A Cinderella Story for the Miami Art Scene’s New $100 Million Player
Spread the love


Miami’s art world has been waiting for the other cultural shoe to drop since 2014, when the nonprofit ArtCenter/South Florida sold one of its two buildings for $88 million — after buying it in 1988 for only $684,000, when the surrounding South Beach neighborhood was more sketchy than stylish. A scrappy organization founded to provide affordable studios, and largely ignored by the city’s marquee art institutions, was suddenly poised to become a major player.

The ArtCenter is finally announcing plans for its Cinderella-like windfall (one that, thanks to investments, has since swollen to $100 million, more than the endowment of any other South Florida visual arts organization, many of whom have been struggling to fund-raise even a fraction of that sum). It will be moving to the mainland Miami neighborhood of Little Haiti, where it will build a new $30 million, 40,000-square-foot art center with 22 studios for resident artists, a 2,500-square-foot exhibition space, a 120-seat theater, as well as classrooms and work spaces for an expanded array of instructional courses on mediums like painting and filmmaking.

[Check out our Culture Calendar here.]

“We need a facility that reflects our aspirations,” Dennis Scholl, the ArtCenter president and chief executive said, adding that an architect would be selected by May, with groundbreaking set for September 2020 and a planned opening in Spring 2022.

At that point the rain of cash is likely to continue: Mr. Scholl confirmed that the ArtCenter would vacate its remaining South Beach building, though he declined to elaborate on specific plans for the property. The building was assessed by Miami-Dade County at $10 million, but real estate brokers believe it would sell for three to four times that figure.

The newly expanded mission is to beef up Miami’s art infrastructure, Mr. Scholl continued in a recent interview, with a focus on career support for emerging artists. “We believe Miami is and should be a 365-day-a-year art town, not a five-day-a-year art town,” he said, addressing criticism that local art activity is anemic outside of the annual Art Basel fair.

Accordingly, Mr. Scholl felt Little Haiti was a natural fit for the ArtCenter. “The Upper East Side of Miami is where the contemporary art community is basically relocating,” he said, citing its critical mass of artists and well-respected galleries — many of whom have taken a cue from the ArtCenter’s South Beach history lesson on gentrification and bought their properties outright, rather than sign leases.

A name change for the ArtCenter is also in store, to Oolite Arts, a reference to Miami’s underlying geology. “Oolite is what Miami is made of; it just sung to us,” Mr. Scholl said. “I’ve always loved the texture of oolite and the way it was formed — which is a series of disparate granules that come together and create a porous but strong bedrock. All of these things reflect who we are and what we hope to become.”

Many Miamians may be less enthused about oolite, or, as it’s more commonly known, limestone. Water bubbles up through limestone’s holes — considered by scientists to be a major factor in the sea-level rise which has already swamped some local neighborhoods even on sunny days. So is Oolite Arts tempting fate by invoking this phenomenon?

“Since you’re trying to torture me,” Mr. Scholl answered wryly, “our new site is one of the highest points in Miami-Dade County. It is 11 feet above sea level,” practically Mount Everest by local standards. And while locating a veritable Noah’s Ark for artists wasn’t a goal, “It was a pleasant thing to learn.”



Source link

More from my site

About The Author

Related posts

Leave a Reply