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Unlike the Sex Pistols’ Johnny Rotten, we like holidays in the sun. This past week found two Krrb’ers stationed beach-side in the Sunshine State. But there’s more to Florida than surf. Today we’ll explore a few of their Floridian finds worth checking out if you ever find yourself down south and burnt-out on the beach.
I’ve been traveling from New York down to Miami over the holidays for years. Escaping the frigid cold and basking in the sun has become part of my tradition. Usually upon arrival I fall directly into the hands of my family and become an abominable recluse, but this trip was completely different, including a personal discovery of the thriving art scene in South Florida.
On my way to the beach to absorb all the vitamin D I can handle, my mother excitedly showed me how Miami has transformed into a haven for artists. Art Basel has a great deal to do with this metamorphosis, as does the Miami Book Fair. Passing by warehouse after warehouse covered in graffiti, Miami can sometimes resemble the art-saturated streets of my new home, Brooklyn, more than the spring-break destination it’s more often known as. There were coffee shops in architecturally interesting places and live/work studios spanning at least three blocks. My mother and I drove past what seemed to be a small, desolate mall when I saw this amazing mural (only a part of it is pictured below).
We had to stop. Making what I hope was a legal U-turn, we doubled back and parked in a lot filled with abandoned, rusted bikes on one side and an array of flowers on the other. The building next to the parking lot housed a florist, a thrift store, a coffee shop, and an art space. We got out of the car and saw kids running around, smiling at us mischievously as they played with an adorable little puppy. The lot itself was like an installation, metal vs organic, bikes vs flowers, an amalgamation of cold and warm. After taking some pictures, I was ready to see some art.
Walking inside Artopia Art Center, we seemed to be interrupting a meeting but were welcomed with open arms. A woman who worked there explained that the work we were going to see represented a collection of Cuban and Latin artists. My favorite work was by Juan Rodriguez who used images from childhood stories in an inventive, subtly nuanced way. We were thoroughly impressed by the candidness and urgency in every one of the pieces we saw and were very happy curiosity had driven us to this small art center.
Artopia Art Center’s art collection is “traditional, contemporary and indigenous” with a new show every few months. The gallery is open noon to 7 Wednesday – Saturday or by appointment. If you’re ever in Florida I highly recommend taking some time out to explore the blossoming art scene in Miami and wonder around through curated shows at Artopia Art Center.