The Brooklyn Rail has become a mainstay as a source of off-beat artistic, cultural, and political criticism in New York. Offered free in the borough, it's a bit hard to come by in other reaches of the art scene.
But not for long. Miami's own version of the Brooklyn Rail is now in the works, thanks to Nina Johnson-Milewski, owner of Gallery Diet. Johnson-Milewski received a grant from the Knight Foundation for the Miami Rail, which will mark the very first descendant of the original publication. To start, the Miami Rail will create four issues per year and will exist in print as well as online.
"We're hoping that the model we create is something that the Rail could replicate in other cities," said Johnson-Milewsk, who will act as the Miami Rail's publisher.
She had a lot more to say about the exciting new project when we caught up with her:
Cultist: So what can we expect?
Johnson-Milewski: Our version will cover all culture, so we'll cover visual arts, performing arts, and writing. We won't include any of the political or local news that the Brooklyn Rail covers, but focus wholeheartedly on our arts and culture scene. Probably, we are looking at around 10 pieces per issue.
It will distributed at various points around town: at Lester's, all the galleries, all the universities, and other cultural centers. We're going to print 5,000 and out of those, 1,500 will be mailed to a national audience of curators, writers and other people who are involved in culture around the country.
Where's the content coming from?
The editor is Hunter Braithwaite, and the writers will be coming in from all over the place. For each issue, part of the grant is to bring a different writer in from out of town to do a feature. Then we have some correspondents that will be writing, and also we will have an open submission policy for future issues.
Another thing we're hoping as part of our grant, as we get a little further down the road, is to be able to host writer workshops. For example, the writer who is visiting to contribute to the Rail for that particular issue could lead a series of workshops, and we would have the opportunity to invite participants who submitted through the open submission process.
Phong Bui, publisher of the Brooklyn Rail, giving a lecture at Lester's in Miami.
Why does Miami need this?
We felt that while we do have a lot of informational publications about art in Miami, such as the Knight Foundation newsletter and the New Times coverage that caters to a broader audience, there wasn't a particular, regularly-published source with a critical voice that is more focused and culture-specific. We really want to provide something for artists, and for people that work in culture, to have some more in-depth writing about the exhibitions and shows that are happening here.
When can we expect the first issue?
What's happening right now is we are very much in the initial planning stages. We're planning on our first issue for the end of May, and the publisher and founder of the original Brooklyn Rail, Phong Bui, is likely coming down towards the end of April so we can formulate the final terms of how exactly we are going to be related to them.
We are officially affiliated with the Brooklyn Rail, so it's important to us that we maintain the dignity, spirit and attitude under which the Brooklyn Rail is published. Phong Bui has done incredible things over the years with this publication. And in the same way that they have created this fantastic service for Brooklyn, we want to create the same experience in Miami.