Many art events in South Florida, including this year’s Miami Beach Art Basel, have been put on pause because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The City of Miami Beach is getting creative to help re-energize the once roaring art community while also revitalizing local businesses.
Mayor Dan Gelber told NBC 6 the 'Miami Beach Open House' will be a residency program that will help to pair artists with vacant privately owned spaces primarily in commercial districts.
“The whole idea is to take places like maybe on Lincoln Road, on Washington Ave, on 41st Street in North Beach, places that might have some vacancies and marrying to them gallerists that might have a need for places to sell places to have a studio,” said Gelber.
The project aims to no only helps the artists, but also helping to attract people back to those areas.
“We’re going to try to get them together so that there is some concentration, some critical mass of culture, so that people might actually want to go there just because they might want to visit 4 or 5 galleries at the same time," Gelber added.
Starting Monday, artists can apply to be part of the program and a committee will help select and pair the artists with ideally free space. The mayor’s office told us they’re encouraging all spaces to be free, but ultimately its up to the property owners and artists to negotiate.
The selected artists, about 75 of them in total, will also get a $2,500 stipend as financial support.
“Open house throws open doors to empty spaces and invites artists to come and show art or work in the spaces,” said Silvia Cubina, the executive director of the Bass Museum in Miami Beach.
“All of a sudden the way that (artists) transact, the way they’ve made a living has sort of been cut," Cubina added. "In this case, artists in need will be able to come and safely be able to interact with the public and really make a living and enrich the way they normally do things.”
Gelber said the hope is to have many of these spaces up and running by December.