Who Spends $20K at Art Walk?

Artists and dealers gauge the climate of Second Saturdays.

Server, the real estate agent, has spent $27,000 buying works of art by Gentry, Tina La Porta, Simon Thompson, and others at Fontaine's gallery. But unlike Lalo, the 40-year-old Server, who sits on the board of the Bakehouse Art Complex, says she is not a fan of the huge crowds. "The last time I went was in October 2012. I noticed some policemen on horses to help control foot traffic."

Server also takes out-of-town guests to Second Saturday whenever she has the opportunity. "Their opinion is much like mine. They have never seen such a huge turnout for an art event." She also mentions that some of her guests say it reminds them of Mardi Gras. "Some say it's not as much about the art as it is about drinking and having a good time. I think it is a bit of both. But either way, it brings a lot of exposure to Wynwood."

Others, such as Beatriz Salvatierra Giardinella, who along with her husband Claudio have been collecting art for the past 35 years, are not as positive about Wynwood's recent developments. A retired prosthodontist who moved here from Venezuela in 2003, Salvatierra Giardinella, who says she's in her 50s, was an early Second Saturday fixture. She regularly bought works from the Bernice Steinbaum Gallery, David Castillo Gallery, Black Square Gallery, and Dot Fiftyone Gallery, where she spent $2,000 to $15,000 apiece on her expansive purchases.

Nick Gentry's Profile Number 8
Nick Gentry's Profile Number 8

But lately she likens her visits here to a surreal experience not unlike a trip to the steaming bowels of Mordor in J.R.R. Tolkien's classic. "Going to Wynwood during Second Saturday used to be a pleasure," she says. But not anymore. The galleries and authorities have not done enough to prevent the event from devolving into what she calls a nightmare. "It's a pity. It has become a public market in the middle of the street with annoying music, smells, and lack of parking and security for people like me."

"Miami is a salad bowl of all kinds of people, almost like a pu-pu platter if you think of it," Fontaine muses in response. "We have all kinds of different galleries and collectors here. People need to remember that a town like this allows dealers like me to do good. Sure, there are a lot of posers, but people also need to remember that Wynwood is a place where you can still open a gallery and enjoy huge crowds interested in art, unlike New York City, for example, where the scene is established and almost impossible to enter."

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