Progress: “What we humans claim we are making as we consume non-renewable resources and generally make each other miserable.” If you prefer a more traditional def, Merriam-Webster offers up: “movement forward or toward a place : the process of improving or developing something over a period of time”.
Wynwood has no natural draw; no water view, no rolling hills, no greenery, no botanical fabulousness nor architectural magnetism. Perhaps putting in some time and effort to save it for the artists who brought it to domination should be given a nod before they are priced out. Let’s not kill the goose that lays the golden egg.Artist and gallerist Danilo Gonzalez is a man with a plan with his Wynwood Warehouse Project...a Win-Wyn situation (if you’ll allow me to play with my words). Gonzalez has been an on-site advocate of Wynwood for 6 years, providing exhibitions and space in which people can work.
An artist for 30 years and gallerist for over 20, he is deeply committed to conserving the Wynwood Arts district with room for artists. In January 2014, he moved his Art Place gallery and café at NW Second Avenue and 28th Street to the 7000 sf Wynwood Warehouse Project at 450 NW 27th St., focusing his eye on the artists’ future life in the area.A movement further west, south, north and even east is trending as artist after gallery relocates to more reasonable rents. The Art Basel successful Spinello Projects gallery made a bold statement 2 years ago with its over I-95 leap to 7th Avenue after bouncing around several east-of-95 venues since 2005. Others have been fanning out for several years now to keep expenses from pricing the creative soul out of existence.
Generous workspaces are popping up downtown: the Artisan Lounge, nestled into Miami’s oldest church, Christ Fellowship has donated over 9,000 sf of work space. Downtown ArtHouse is another place to settle into downtown. Constant moving is an old story that Brooklyn artists are well versed in.
Gonzalez is digging in to do what he can to insure the creativity stays in place. His ambitious vision is to buy six buildings (6,000 to 10,000 sf) to house necessary activities. Gonzalez explains exactly what his plan encompasses: "The Wynwood Warehouse Project’s goal is to manage six large properties as a non-profit to create rent controlled artist studios and gallery spaces in Wynwood. Artists and gallerists can apply for rental space in a facility dedicated to their discipline: sculpture, painting, printmaking, digital art and photography." Each building would be exclusive to various disciplines: Painting, sculpture, drawing, printing, photography, and installation and performance.I wandered over to Gonzalez’ Wynwood Warehouse Project last week and sampled his artist friendly coffee shop and cafe (FYI...he makes a good egg and pesto sandwich), which he provides so artists have a place to grab a bite without their financial manager going apoplectic. Plans are to have a library of tools available in each venue for all studio artists and a large workspace in the center surrounding rented studio spaces.
An administration office on each site will keep all activities on track; two galleries in each building, one for young artists and one for professional. Rehearsal or workroom space will be available for reservations at a sliding scale.
As we can gather, this is no idle thinking on Gonzalez’ part; he works hard and has proven himself to be earnest and able to bring his thoughts to fruition as he has proven he can aid many artists in exhibiting.The Plan
It is my initiative to work with realtors and philanthropic landowners to establish between five and ten properties in the Wynwood area that are well suited to become artist live/work studios. Gaining the support of our local government would be ideal as tax breaks to landowners may create enough incentive to work with our Artist Program. All rent collected will go toward the mortgage. After the mortgage is paid in full, profits will be invested into more properties.
Gonzalez has previously been involved in art spaces first in Paris, followed by Dominican Republic and Burlington Vermont before moving his operation to Miami in 2008.
Gonzalez weighs in on the rebranding of Wynwood issue. He is “deeply opposed to the idea of changing the name of Wynwood Art District to the “Café District”.