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Artists from Little Haiti to North Miami are opening their studios for one day. Here’s why

Laundromat Art Space is a studio complex located in an old Little Haiti laundromat.
Michael R Lopez/Courtesy of Laundromat Art Space
Miami Herald
Laundromat Art Space is a studio complex located in an old Little Haiti laundromat.

Visiting local artists’ studios just got easier.

This Saturday, individual artist studios and art complexes in Little Haiti, Little River and North Miami are open to the public for Artists Open, nonprofit Fountainhead Arts’ annual event where artists open their work spaces for people to mingle, purchase art and get an inside look into the creative process.

This year’s Artists Open is different from years past. Since the event’s inception six years ago, Fountainhead has organized Artists Open as a one-day-only event where over 300 artists from across all of Miami-Dade County open their studio doors to welcome guests at the same time. Fun, but overwhelming!

Starting this year, Fountainhead is breaking up Artists Open into several days throughout the year dedicated to specific neighborhoods and areas.

The re-structuring was based on feedback from a survey visitors and artists filled out, said Kathryn Mikesell, the Fountainhead co-founder and executive director. This way, it’s easier for art lovers to plan their afternoon and spend more time connecting with artists without worrying about rushing from one studio to the next, she said.

“People, in a good way, were wanting more, but also some people felt disappointed that they weren’t able to see more,” Mikesell said. “People were like, ‘I want to see Liberty City and I want to see Calle Ocho and I want to see North Miami and I want to see the Beach, but that’s impossible to do.’ And the artists were also interested in visiting each other.”

In an effort to make the event more digestible, Fountainhead is experimenting with the pared down approach. The group plans to survey visitors and artists again to see how they like the change. If need be, Mikesell said, Fountainhead may plan future Artists Open events that cover even smaller areas at a time.

From 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, visitors can swing by 75 artists studios that are all located between NE 54th Street and NE 125th Street, with each address available on Fountainhead’s online directory.

Though this weekend’s Artists Open is a third of what is usually offered in a day, the three neighborhoods are replete with art complexes and individual art studios of all mediums, from painting to sculpture to textiles, said Nicole Martinez, the Fountainhead associate director.

“It’s a great mix,” Martinez said.

Fountainhead kicks off the day at noon with a special members-only event at Laundromat Art Space in Little Haiti. For the rest of the day, visitors can meet artists like painter Zoe Schweiger, video artist Julia Zurilla and fashion designer Lisu Vega.

In nearby Liberty City is Collective 62, a serene enclave of women artists, like sculptor Nina Surel and mixed-media painter Alex Nuñez and local legend Jeanne Jaffe. Diaspora Vibe Cultural Arts Incubator, ran by Miami curator Rosie Gordon-Wallace, supports some of the best artists the Caribbean has to offer, like Rosa Naday Garmendia and Asser Saint-Val.

Martinez was sure to shout out one of Miami’s newest art complexes, City, State Enterprises. Be sure to check out Jillian Mayer’s glasswork and sculptures, Jen Clay’s funky textiles and Juana Valdes’ renowned pieces on race, gender and transnationalism.

Mikesell encouraged visitors to seek out the individual artist studios, since those spaces are less likely to have public availability throughout the year. Notable participants include influential mixed media artist Carlos Betancourt, whimsical designer Pangea Kali Virga, painter Hermes Berrio and ridiculously detailed drawer Gonzalo Fuenmayor.

“Times of Illuminations: For the Sake of Beauty,” by Carlos Betancourt, is part of “The Motion of Movements” show at Primary Project Space.
Miami Herald
“Times of Illuminations: For the Sake of Beauty,” by Carlos Betancourt, is part of “The Motion of Movements” show at Primary Project Space.

Mikesell said she hopes people take advantage of Artists Open and the studio directory to explore local artist spaces year-round. “Touring artists studios is really a way to learn about the city in which you live and connect with the people that are living here,” she said. “This is all about building community, knowing the people where you live, inspiring people to move differently.”

Artists Open: Little Haiti, Little River and North Miami

When: May 11, 1 - 5 p.m.

Where: Addresses for participating studios available on Fountainhead Art’s online directory at www.fountainheadarts.org/artistsopen.

Info: Free and open to the public. RSVP here.

This story was produced with financial support from individuals and Berkowitz Contemporary Arts in partnership with Journalism Funding Partners, as part of an independent journalism fellowship program. The Miami Herald maintains full editorial control of this work.

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