Want to Find the Cool Neighborhoods? Follow Miami’s Artists
Artists are our cultural pioneers, our trailblazers challenging the status quo, but they may also be our real estate pioneers. As Miami grows and comes of age, it’s the artists leading the way staking out forgotten neighborhoods and establishing the first enclaves of new life.
Miami’s Renaissance Started with the Artists
It takes a combination of artistic substance and urban developer knowhow to forge into the unknown and create a miracle such as Wynwood. By now, it is common knowledge that most of the actual artists who helped established Wynwood as the hip, artsy area it is, have long since moved to less expensive locations.
For now, the elements are coming together to create another renaissance farther north in the Little Haiti/Lemon City/Little River areas and, once again, it is the artists who have led the way.
When Life Gives You Lemons, Make a Neighborhood
Little Haiti has been home to some key local artists for a long time. Edouard Duval-Carrie bought his studio building in 1992. Next door, Pulitzer-Prize winning Carl Juste has been artist-in-residence at the Haitian Arts Alliance for 5 years running. Both are outspoken about the importance of artists as our city grows.
When local artist/art therapist Dave McCauley discovered that ArtsCenter South Florida planned to sell its space on Lincoln Road after 30 years, he decided to band with other artists and opened Laundromat Art Space in the heart of Little Haiti, across the street from Duval-Carrie and Juste. The space features studios for 9 artists and a gallery. Laundromat Art Space was quietly funded by owner/developer Mallory Kauderer who also purchased the live rock dive bar, Churchill’s Pub, down the street because he wanted to be sure to protect that Little Haiti institution.
Trendy spots come and go, but truly unique, ethnic areas endure.”
Artists and Developers Working in Sync
Big stakeholders like Ben Pumo and Kauderer have invested years into the area working with Michele Spence-Jones, former Commissioner of District 5, to set aside the funds to create an atmosphere for new businesses to come to the area. It seems like there is a synergy among interests for the kind of urban renewal and adaptive reuse that will allow and nurture the artists and what is unique.
For example, developer Ofer Mizrahi has created Ironside, a fresh, adapted warehouse space in Little River. Avra Jain has more recently chosen Little River as one of her next projects: to pack Little River with galleries, tech startups, restaurants, bars, art studios, and other unique businesses.
Through art and architecture, life and lifestyle are integrated. Through life and lifestyle, communities and neighborhoods are created.”
Find the Cool… and the Property Values
As Miami grows and its urban areas are renewed, one wonders if it can take a cue from the artists who have helped revive its image and develop itself in a more creative and conscious way.