It’s here! Once again, the first week of December will unfold with an outpouring of art, culture, food, film, music, performances, discussions, and displays in celebration of the annual Art Basel Miami.
Fifteen years ago, there was just the official Art Basel show at the Miami Beach convention center. Even though open to the public for an entry fee, it felt exclusive. Next, art-filled containers and large tents popped up, literally on the beach, and these shows opened the Basel experience to the masses.
Then the satellite art fairs came to Mid-Town. And in Wynwood, a former warehouse and manufacturing district, The Walls of Wynwood, now a permanent installation, draws tourists year-round. If you can catch one in action, it is fun to watch the internationally renowned graffiti artists who are invited each year to paint new walls.
Of course, the Perez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) has earned its rightful place on every Basel visitor’s agenda. In 2014, PAMM organized the African American Ambassadors – a healthy head start; many eyes will be turned toward Franklin Sirmans, PAMM’s new director, an African American who began his new role last month.
But, it has only been within the past six years that a measureable presence of art and artists from the African diaspora can be taken. Thankfully, the pioneers are all still on the scene; namely, Dinizulu Gene Tinnie and members of the Kuumba Artists Collective (since 1980), Rosie Gordon- Wallace (20+ years at Diaspora Vibe); Ludlow Bailey, Neil Hall (The Urban collective), and Jumaane N’Namdi, N’Namdi Fine Art Gallery in Wynwood, all in their third to sixth years.
One can now find the Afro-centric aesthetic across all of Miami-Dade County, starting at Kroma Gallery (Coconut Grove); The Urban Collective’s Art Africa Miami Arts Fair, hosted at the Historic Lyric Theater Cultural Arts Complex (Overtown); Mikhaile Solomon’s Prizm (7300 Biscayne Blvd); in Little Haiti:Yellen, The Art Beat Miami Art Fair at Little Haiti Cultural Center, The Haitian Cultural Alliance; The Northeast Second Partnership, (NE2P), and The Miami Urban Contemporary Experience (MUCE) with #ArtCentralMiami; Black Art in America (an online/onsite gallery); Opa-locka (Art Recreation Center) and, Florida Memorial University, new site for Ludlow Bailey’s 6th annual panel discussion.
Standing out in the middle of the area, in North Miami, is MOCA, Babacar M’Bow, director.
In fact, the Greater Miami Convention and Visitor’s Bureau announced that there are 47 events under their umbrella program, Art of Black Miami, in its second year.
My intention is to visit as many as I can. I get all my senses stimulated; my intellect is tickled.
If you join Black Art in America now, you can follow Basel happenings live/online, and keep up with Najee Dorsey, artist/publisher.
Want to follow me? Warning: covering Art Basel Miami, Soul Miami, Art Africa Miami Arts Fair, Black Art in Miami, et al, is not for the faint of heart.
Be strategic: wear comfortable shoes.
Getting around to all the festivals is a challenge. While the City of Miami is running a trolley from downtown to Wynwood, it won’t take you to the outlying areas, i.e. to Coconut Grove, Opa-locka, or to Florida Memorial University, so you’ll need a car/driver.
Here is my line-up (all events listed are open during the week of 12/1-6 and open to the public; private and invitational events are not listed):
6:00PM-9:00PM-Art Beat Preview Party, Little Haiti Cultural Center, 212 NE 59th Terr.
12:00- A conversation with the artist: Edouard Duval-Carre- Little Haiti Cultural Center
1:00PM- Panel discussion at Yellen Gallery, 294 NW 54th St.: What’s Inside Her never dies-a black Woman’s Legacy group exhibition show
6:00PM-9:00PM- Art Beat Miami, Little Haiti Cultural Center,
7:00PM-10:00PM: MOCA, 770 NE 125 St., Opening of Art Basel featuring Carlos Salas, Global
11:00AM-12:30PM- PAMM, 1103 Biscayne Blvd.: Book signing of Nari-Ward: Sun-Splashed, current exhibition
1:00PM-3:00PM: Kroma, 3670 Grand Ave., “12×12”-12 Artists, 12 installations, 36 pieces, curated by Rodney Jackson
4:00PM-6:00PM-MOCA: Conversation with Artist Carlos Salas
12:00PM-4:00PM: N’Namdi Contemporary Fine art Gallery at 177 NW 23rd St. Wynwood, and simultaneously at SCOPE International Art Show on Miami Beach (801 Ocean Drive) – important artists and masterpieces
5:00PM- until: Opa-locka Community Development Corporation’s Art of Transformation, 675 Ali Baba Avenue
12:00-7:00PM: Prizm Art Fair, Block Party, and Domino Tournament, 7300 Biscayne Blvd- art, film, panel discussions, etc.
5:30PM- Prizm-Dark Matter, a special performance piece
December 6: (I’m torn between these two):
11:00AM-1:00PM: Celebrity Brunch with Chef Creole & Friends $25- Little Haiti Caribbean Marketplace
Time TBD: The Urban Collective 2nd Soul Basel Brunch and Conversation, Jackson’s Soul Food Restaurant.
12:00-3:00PM: 6th Annual Basel Panel Discussion, Nathan Collier Library, Florida Memorial University, 15800 NW 42nd Avenue, RSVP LudlowBailey@gmail.com
You may need a portable oxygen supply to make all of these wonderful events. You can sleep when you get home, and then start planning for next year!
Antonia Williams-Gary is a consultant with Miami-based Savings and Grace Enterprise. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.