By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Abel Folgar
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The Wallflower Gallery, downtown Miami's improbable pocket of bohemia, has faced a number of challenges. For one, it's a venue that doesn't serve alcohol in a town bent on partying. It inhabits a lonely corner in a neighborhood that until recently was a ghost town after dark. And it's a multipurpose, nonprofit organization that lends space to everything from live music to underground visual art to independent theater and beyond — all forms of expression that are not exactly among the city's cultural priorities.
Still, the little gallery that could, helmed by its single-monikered "Funk Finder" and founder, Flash, has stuck it out for almost 13 years. More than ten of those have been spent in its current location at 10 NE Third St. But all of that might soon come to an end. Flash and company were dealt a recent crushing blow. The building is slated to be demolished in April, the owner announced. The Wallflower Gallery must either raise enough money to persuade him to change his mind, or find the cash for new digs.
A move would certainly be to the detriment of downtown. "Compared to most businesses, we have a community dynamic. We're not a bar; we're a cultural institution," Flash says. "I don't think what we do is going to be replaced by anything else. People say all the time: 'I wish I knew about this place earlier.' If people want a hip and culturally creative downtown Miami, they've got to support places like this."
Still, he is open to other locations. He notes he would especially like a place that is more handicapped-accessible and offers better parking. But he readily admits he needs help. "Money is the quickest thing, because I want to make sure that I can move to whatever new place or pay for here. Or [I'd like] people that want to help, physically... help move if necessary," Flash says. "We've been fighting the good fight for 13 years, and it's sad that now the walls are literally coming down around us."
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