Thursday, May 04, 2006

Art Center South Beach

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Gap, Starbucks, Steve Madden, Kenneth Cole...Art Center? To be honest I really didn't expect there to be any fine art in a tourist shopping part of town besides the expected print gallery and dolphin art but one of south beach's hottest streets is home to Art Center South Florida. Here is a bit of very interesting history on the center:

"ArtCenter was established in 1984 by a small group of artists who envisioned a potential cultural renaissance in what was then a blighted and vacant Lincoln Road.  In partnership with the City of Miami Beach, the group obtained Federal Community Development Block Grant funds to acquire properties and create an artists' colony in 21 storefront spaces. Since then, ArtCenter has become the cultural and economic catalyst for the revitalization of the Lincoln Road neighborhood and South Beach. In 1986, the City of Miami Beach recognized the success of our founders' vision by designating ArtCenter's three-block area as the Lincoln Road Arts District."
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This headline reads, "30 artists transform hotel into a gallery." I was a bit skeptical of the art center at first and from the outside it looks a little like a craft gallery. But once inside it was very interesting to see that all the studios were visible through glass doors and they were set up like mini galleries for each artist. It is a great concept for the artists - you wouldn't even need to have a gallery rep your work - just have your dealer and clients come to your professional studio! At the time I went I only saw a couple artists working but it seemed as though they didn't really get a lot of traffic but then again it was a wednesday around noon. I only wonder how much rent was for the artists and if it pays out in the long run to have a space there? I think the difference between these studios and 555 or any other detroit studio warehouse is that these looked much more approachable for the unfamiliar art goer. I just wonder if something like this project - independent artist gallery/studio - could happen in metro detroit?
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Some studios had paper to write comments or leave information for the artist. While most studios were locked because the artist was not there, they had cards available or a message saying when they would be back working.
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The art center is about it for the south beach area...but tomorrow I am off to miami to see moca!


Anonymous yourstruly said...


I hate to say it, but Detroit cannot even get A REAL GROCERY STORE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

let alone a Gap

let alone a cultural/commercial cross-roads

And Hard-Rock doesn't count.

I'm not shitting on the Detroit or its residents, I'm shitting on the suburbs and its residents.....lets all run and hide until Great Lakes Crossing opens!!

I'll buy the Mocha half-cafs

have fun in Miami...

10:56 PM  
Anonymous jim said...

thanks for the post from your vacation, ann. I have been dying for new detroitarts posts!

1:12 AM  
Anonymous scorpion said...


i guess you'd rather shit where you eat.

7:12 AM  
Anonymous yourstruly said...


I live on a small farm right now, not the suburbs, and farms are already full of shit.

9:50 AM  
Anonymous scorpion said...


I see so your trying to spread your shit around. No thanks, I've got plenty of my own.

10:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ann, What about the beach?

10:24 AM  
Anonymous Jef said...

Hope you can visit MAM.
Detroit's own Jan van der Marck was the founding director of Miami Art Museum (MAM) in 1988 in a building designed by Philip Johnson, (as well as founding Chicago's MCA in 1967).

Terry Riley, from MOMA, is its new director planning to build a new 150,000 building.

10:25 AM  
Anonymous michiganbrown said...

I think something like this could work....but not until the residential base is more secured...

The city has a really hot reputation...having been to every major city in America this year...everyone was interested at the mention of Detroit....the artists are ready and waiting....I could spend days naming the brilliant poeple I have the pleasure of knowing...but the city is still empty....The sprawl is still spreading further north along I-75 and 50 year olds are still scared/scarred of/by the city.

Jef was smart to try Pontiac because its more proximate to the population base, but Pontiac?....everyone had there the MoCAD thing.....


10:26 AM  
Anonymous jef said...

a 150,000 sq foot building in Museum Park.

10:29 AM  
Anonymous michiganbrown said...

Is a lack of centrilization the biggest problem jef?

Or in the current regional climate would that be even more destructive?

10:38 AM  
Anonymous michiganbrown said...

Oh Ann,

I know you are to the south, but in New Smyrna Beach by the NASA installation the ACA Atlantic Center for the Arts is MAGNIFICENT. They mix juggernaut names with emerging a stunning, writing, visual art, etc...

10:51 AM  
Anonymous jef said...

Is a lack of centrilization the biggest problem jef?

Or in the current regional climate would that be even more destructive? - MI Brown

I don't think centralizing would be a problem, if it were in an urban setting: such as downtown Detroit. I mean downtown, not the cultural area which isn't within walking distance of most events and conferences that bring in outside visitors as well.

When we artcored Washington Blvd a few years ago, it was quite exciting to see 5 galleries and a museum lighting up the night with people walking around downtown. It could've been any other city. We had a 1,000 people at our last two openings.

Pontiac was a given opportunity after we were forced out of Detroit. And we're lucky to get 100 to an opening. Pontiac should make sense but never will, while Detroit is the answer to your question, the urban hub for the region.

Art and artists are the first to re-inhabit a major city's abandoned areas (read most of Detroit) and are key to its early revitalization.

Detroit is where it can and should happen.

12:24 PM  
Anonymous michiganbrown said...

I agree fully jef. But it seems that even in Grand Rapis (ala UICA) and small places like Asheville NC where the Penland school is proximate, its THE PEOPLE, not the location....I.E Pontiac is between Birm, Bloom, Roch, Troy, etc..but few came.....

Are we as 'wierd' as people reclusive and defensive? I am on the fence about that.

Districts are great for regions without mass-transit, and where there are few "moth to flame" institutions to get people off their ass in the first place...

But what remains is the love, the passion and even the vision....but its like sand through fingers you know?

I was in a show at the AAAC this winter with Miroslaw (basically plucked from the late District Arts) and THERE WERE 3 PEOPLE AT THE OPENING!!!!!! Isn;t it supposed to be the oldest arts org in MI? the middle of one of Americas top 5 public university campuses?....what gives?

In my research of SF bay galleries, it seems like every single (actual) gallery has a hit-for-hit lineup of emerging artists.....when I scope a lot of Metro galleries, its underwhelming because I think a lot of owners/curators (and #1 collectors) are sceptical of Regional artists, leaning on certain names, and outsiders...although we are all in this together:)

Am I wrong in feeling that as mid westerners...and perhaps especially MI and OH, we are made to feel ashamed of ourselves...but the art still speaks....when you get down to it, the upper-crust global artists and art scene is as provincial, if not more so, an 'aesthetically regional' than Detroit, ST. L, Minneapolis, etc....Mary Boon built an empire on building walls....Detroit could maybe use a few walls of its own....regarding the MoCAD tizzy....

12:45 PM  
Anonymous michiganbrown said...

Also, we are a family that fights and fights and fights, but when an outsider edges in on the fight, we unify against them....I am not sure this posture looks stable/sane to outsiders....

12:47 PM  
Blogger ann said...

I think I am moving to miami and becoming an art/beach bum!
Hey, mr.brown do you want to live on the beach and sell drawings to rich tourists with me?

1:42 AM  
Anonymous michiganBrown said...


I'm smiling

7:18 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Looking for a cheap studio space,
I need help
Art studio to become a family room
Any North Miami Artist want to share a space, Preferably female.

Please email me at

9:13 PM  

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