For Cuban musician and Fábrica del Arte Cubano (FAC) founder X Alfonso, art exists in a multidisciplinary space. Every week, the Havana-based business brings this sensory experience to Vedado's early 20th-century government electricity building, which screens films and hosts visual artists. It's a testament to Cuba's inclusive artist community, looking to rescue, support, and promote collectively.
This past weekend, artists from FAC were on hand at Miami's third-annual Mini Maker Faire at the YoungArts Building. Among the sea of white tents and tables, the 11 artists presented work beneath a hand-crafted wooden installation. It was a makeshift studio space that was open, inviting, and smack in the middle of all the other creators.
"We’re building a temporary version of La Fábrica with shipping pallets. It’s ephemeral architecture. We work with what there is," FAC architect Ernesto Jimenez says.
Jimenez and other makers initially built the space in Miami Industrial Arts, a membership-based maker space in Little River. The Cuban artists also welded the event's signage: a large geometric design that was given touches of wrap-wire color.
"The maker-space concept came into the American lexicon fairly recently, and it appealed to me," says Paul Thomas, founder of Miami Industrial Arts. "I'm interested in education and providing a space for people to have access to tools and equipment that they otherwise wouldn’t have access to."
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Cuba, as a result of the U.S. embargo, has diminished resources, but that situation has only empowered these makers' creativity. Celia Ledón Acosta, a wardrobe designer for Cuba's Public Theatre, created a sculpted dress made of soda can tabs and made a draped blouse from wide leaf plants. The pieces are more than fashion; they're works of art.
Local artist collective the Waking Hearts, which pairs artists with organizations that are not necessarily connected to art, was also onsite. "We want to share art together," founder Riko Chirito says of their mission.
Most recently, the organization held a Heart Core event at Awa Kava, a café on NW Second Avenue in the Design District. Colony1, a leader in Miami's sustainability and evolution movement, partnered with the group to share how to lead an alternative, holistic, and organic lifestyle.
The goal of the Miami Mini Maker Faire is to display Miami's own Fábrica del Arte, and so far, it seems to be succeeding.