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Miami Artist Groups Turn Former Downtown Fishing Warehouse Into Giant New Art Space

Raw space in the new "Downtown Art House"
Raw space in the new "Downtown Art House"
Image courtesy of Dimensions Variable

When you think of Miami's art scene, you probably think of Design District digs and Wynwood Walls. But with the addition of a nearly 25,000 foot art space inhabited by an eclectic partnership of Miami artists, downtown is getting in the game.

The former site of Capt. Harry's Fishing Supply is now in the hands of a team that includes Dimensions Variable (DV) (Adler Guerrier, Leyden Rodriguez-Casanova and Frances Trombly), Bas Fisher Invitational (Jim Drain and Naomi Fisher), Turn-Based Press (Thom Wheeler Castillo, Kathleen Hudspeth and Denisse Monge) and the TM Sisters (Monica Lopez de Victoria and Tasha Lopez de Victoria). With the help of the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) and Miami Worldcenter Associates, the group is about to turn this massive warehouse into a hot new art spot.

TM Sisters
TM Sisters
Image by Justin Broadbent

From printmaking to weird Miami relics, this conglomeration runs the artistic gamut. While not initially seeking a space together, all four organizations were in need of new workspaces, and approached the DDA, who was able to help them score the 100 Northeast 11th Street spot on the to-be-developed Miami Worldcenter property.

The group has a two-year, rent-free (inhabitants have to shell out for utilities only) contract on the former fishing supply warehouse, dubbed the "Downtown ArtHouse," and owned by Miami Worldcenter Associates. After that, the lease renews automatically each year until the developers decide to do something else with the property.

"The Downtown ArtHouse is yet another example of the vibrant arts and culture initiatives that Downtown Miami is attracting, and we are excited to have such prolific artists join our community," said Alyce Robertson, Executive Director of the DDA. "The Miami DDA is thrilled to have been able to assist and bring the parties together."

Leyden Rodriguez-Casanova, Co-Director of DV (along with Adler Guerrier and Frances Trombly) says they plan to use the space to expand their mission.

"During the slower times in Miami, the non-winter part of the season, we want to focus on inviting artists to come to Miami and create projects. Another angle we're working on is creating exhibition exchanges with national/international cities, so we can create this kind of traffic during the non-winter months. Then, when winter season rolls around and you get the most exposure, we're focusing on Miami artists so they can take advantage of that."

DV is already holding an exhibition in the new space, A Rake's Progress, by Julie Hill, through October 20. They're working on prepping for an official late November opening.

Another member of the new group, the TM Sisters (Tasha and Monica Lopez De Victoria), known for their "techno-tropical multimedia interactive" art, are stoked about the new development.

They say the space will include, "private studio work areas, other spots for gallery exhibitions, a location for production filming/shooting, other communal creative and equipment corners, undecided areas of potential, a secret cave, class and lecture areas, storage spots, and a central command control station."

Sounds almost like a bat cave for artists. Bad-ass.

Rodriguez thinks that in large part due to the development in the Design District and rising rents in Wynwood, downtown is about to come into its own.

"Downtown has the infrastructure that Wynwood doesn't have. You can cover more ground in downtown easily just by parking and taking the free Metromover. With the new Miami Art Museum and these other iniatives, I think it has the potential to become a really important neighborhood for art," he says.

The TM sisters add: "Just having this building is bringing artists and creative spaces from other neighborhoods to one giant space. It is walking distance from the Adrienne Arsht Center, Cifo, LegalArt, and the future MAM. It is going to be a new exciting downtown! We will be programming and energizing this new neighborhood of creatives and are excited for more to pop up everywhere!"

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