The City as Muse in Paint Me Miami

Bakehouse Complex Shows Miami as Muse

Monica Torres

Artist: John Sanchez.<br>Title: Cruising Down Flagler Evening, 2012.


Artist: John Sanchez.
Title: Cruising Down Flagler Evening, 2012.

Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night eternalized Saint-Remy-de-Provence with eleven swirling and glowing yellow stars and Monet’s Houses of Parliament, London froze the Palace of Westminster in a purple-blue pastel fog. These artists simply looked out of the their windows, in an asylum and a hospital, and found the inspiration for a masterpiece.

  • Have you looked out of your window lately?
  • What do you see?

Take it from these great artists; there is beauty everywhere if you revel in the moment to perceive it. If you live in Miami, you have boundless moments to encounter impressiveness whether you are stuck in traffic, overlooking the neon-lit skyline, or relaxing at a beachfront condo. Scenes fit for a masterpiece in the 305 are as infinite as modern prints of Van Gogh’s magnus opus in bachelor pads. No wonder the city has become a bit overpopulated in recent years too much beauty.

Despite nuisances like traffic and lines, Miami is still a muse. For Paint Me Miami, a juried art competition in its fifth year, artists presented original cityscapes of the Magic City: 24’”x 36” abstract or representational oil, watercolor, acrylic, or pastel paintings that “evoke the sites and feelings of the city.” On Thursday,  May 12, at the Bakehouse Art Complex, the Arts and Entertainment Council of the City of Miami will award the winners with cash prizes.

But, money is not the real reward in this exhibition. The recompense is the chance to be part of a creative event that nourishes the arts in the community while cherishing the city. To cherish means to admire, hold dear, to protect, and to preserve. I can’t think of a better way to preserve and admire a city than to immortalize it in visual, artistic renditions like great artists of the past.

Paint Me Miami is the brainchild of Mercedes Lopez Cisneros, the vice chair of the Arts and Entertainment Council of the City of Miami.

I asked her a few questions about the event and about art in general:

  1. What was the inspiration behind the idea for Paint Me Miami?
    Paint Me Miami was created six years ago with the purpose of extolling the image of Miami as the City Beautiful and to provide a venue for emerging artists to exhibit their work.
  2. How many artists apply for it each year? Are they local?
    Most of the participants are local artists. The number of participants have increased with the years. The first year about 32 entries were received. This year we received 64 entries. The number of entries is low for the monetary amount of the prizes. The Miami Art Councils gives more that $4,000 in prizes.
  3. How are the winners selected?
    The selection is done by three local jurors invited by the Council. All jurors are art professionals, such as artists, art educators, historians and gallery owners. The jurors meet in person, view physically the pieces of art competing and select the winners.
  4. Will the winning works be publicly displayed beyond the exhibition night?
    We try to have other exhibitions in addition to the opening night but we are not always successful. We do display the winners' work in social media and on the city website.
  5. What do you think is the importance of art in a community?
    I think art is extremely important for all communities as it elevates the soul. It is also very important from an economic perspective.
The fifth annual Paint Me Miami is at 7 p.m., Thursday May 12, 2016 at PM Bakehouse Art Complex is located at 561 NW 32nd St, Miami, FL 33127. For more information, visit the

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