Industrious Resolutions

Miami artists share their wry hopes, sly hopes, and high hopes for the coming year

Reeling from overexposure, hyped up, played out, intoxicated by its own richness, reeking of humanity, Miami stumbles into the new year.

Although this town perpetually seems to be nursing last year's hangover, the calendar switch provides an invitation to reinvigorated inspiration. So we asked area painters and sculptors, actors and directors, writers, architects, dancers, and musicians to lay bare their immediate goals, their works in progress, and their general thoughts about the approaching year. We found they'd left little time to ponder the passing days, clean house, or even lift a glass to toast what's to come. With guarded optimism and blind faith in the power of production, they were already at work on their projects for 1994.

The ongoing economic blight causes the most visible crack in the industrious veneer that currently covers the local arts scene, a fault that assumed cavernous proportions as artists and arts professionals discussed their struggle for funding and affordable rents. A common wish was that this year more government officials and landlords would look up at midnight and finally see what time it is: the arts civilize cities, have bankable benefits, and generate good PR.

Violence, AIDS, poverty, censorship -- the familiar specters of our contemporary urban culture can be counted on to rise again with the dawn. Politically correct lip service is easy, and charitable holiday salutations are about as fresh as an after-Christmas fruitcake. But artists from all disciplines went further in describing their endeavors as a celebration of their community and as a means of finding real solutions for social strife. With personal high hopes for their own projects, many also voiced their belief in the cultural strength of our city. As evidence, they place a full plate of upcoming exhibitions, concerts, books, and film and CD releases before us.

Carlos Alves
Cuban-American artist known for his sculpted ceramic works and mosaic tile murals incorporating recycled pottery and Florida souvenirs.

I've been trying to buy a building in the Design District, but nothing's worked out yet, so I'm just trusting that as a sign that I should stay on Lincoln Road for another six or eight months. I think everybody that's here, all the old local people, are ready to take the Beach back. We're not giving it up. A lot of local people are like, "Wait a minute, this is our place."

I'm working on a major project now. I've been awarded a commission through Art in Public Places to do a work for the Calle Ocho station on the new Metromover Extension South. I'm going to do a big tile mural on the station building. On the south side will be a palm tree that dissects the whole building and protrudes from the top of it. It's a royal palm, the one that grows everywhere in Cuba and is a symbol of freedom. Lines from Jose Marti's poetry will be encrusted in the bark of the trunk. On the north side I'm doing a solar window, those round windows that Spanish people have in their houses. I'm going to be collecting chachkas from the merchants on Calle Ocho and make a mosaic from those within the window. There's also a gate that's 22 feet long -- I call it el port centsn de sentimiento, the gate of sentiment. It's an interesting play with the whole building. I've done private and corporate commissions, but I've never had to deal with the government before. It's such a bureaucratic process. You have to be so detailed and explain how everything is going to work.

I'm all for 1994. Last year was a great year, why not this one?
Arthur Barron
Jazz saxophone player and percussionist, owner of Rose's Bar and Lounge on South Beach

I'm looking forward to two different things. One is my life as a professional musician and one is my life as a nightclub and restaurant owner. The one that takes precedence is the professional-musician side, and I hope I'll be able to go on tour again and that I'll get signed to a major record label. That's my wish list. I've been working in the studio and playing live all over the place.

As a businessman, I hope that the season of 1994 will be better than the '93 season. It's not just the tourist killings. German film companies are also not coming and that's because Germany's in a recession and they're shooting in Morocco and other places. A combination of factors has made this season really bad, but I hope '94 will bring a little boom to South Beach. We're getting a little older crowd at Rose's, the 27-to-36 crowd. We're definitely a hangout, and we want to keep it that way. We pride ourselves in that we get discriminating listeners, and a crossover crowd of locals and hipsters.

I wish for 1994 that I could have one year without money worries. It's a sure loser, but that's my wish for the year.

Luther Campbell
Luke Records owner and 2 Live Crew member
Every year I come up with things I need to do for the next year, so I guess it would be trying to sign up some new gospel singers. I'm going to do one more solo album next year. It'll be my last album. It's going to be nasty. I'm going to let it all hang out. I've got this weird picture of a penis I'm going to put on the cover. I'm going to get butt-ass naked.

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