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Antonia Wright on Art Live Fair's Hidden Music, Stage Diving, and High-Energy Playtime

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With upwards of fifty individual artists, artist collaboratives, performance ensembles, dancers, musicians and writers, this year's dynamic lineup at the Art Live Fair promises a three-day immersion into the creative process fairgoers will long remember.

Beginning Friday at 5:30 p.m. and running through Sunday at the Coconut Grove Convention Center the ground-breaking event formerly known as Wynwood Art Fair is an art fair unlike any other in the nation.

Think of it as an intense, hands-on creative playground where visitors both young and young-at-heart can look at, hear, touch, taste, feel, love art and above all unleash their creative side, all while supporting Miami's Lotus House women's shelter, say organizers.

We talked to artist Antonia Wright, one of event's curators, about the edgy, wacky, and unique art on display this weekend.

Cultist: As the performance curator, what is your strategy and concept behind curating this specific lineup and what can the public expect to discover?

Antonia Wright: Each work in the event is performance-based, interactive, and engages the audience. I was looking for projects where the viewer co-created the piece through their interaction with the work. I liked works that considered themes of the shelter and that were really really fun. This year, we are featuring Miami-based artists in the exhibition. We have over 60 artists participating. I wanted Art Live to be almost like a time capsule of the scene here and reflect those who are making art in Miami now. 

How will Art Live rise above the sheer visual noise and competition for eyeballs typically associated with events such as Art Basel, where experiencing art in a relaxed, contemplative state can be next to impossible?

I think one of the most exciting aspects of the event is how we play with expectation. We have come to associate Art Fairs with this dizzying maze of art hung too closely together with bad carpet. Art Live in a non-commercial art fair and nothing inside is for sale. This is really an event that brings people together to celebrate community and support the Lotus House. 

The Coconut Grove Convention Center is a 40,000-square-foot space with high ceilings. The layout of the event is completely open and all of the invited artists are placed on the floor throughout the venue. The center area really becomes a living, breathing, constantly changing stage of sorts to experiment with throughout the three days.  At Art Live you can stay for all three days and experience something different every second. We have hot-pink bean bags that you can move around the space, take a seat, a watch what you like.

What type of performances have you organized for this event? Where are some of them from, and who is sponsoring them here?

We have every form of artist medium represented in the event. Each piece in the event is completely unique, like each woman at the shelter. This year Whoop Dee Doo is being sponsored by Miami Dade College and LegalArt. They are a performance group out of Kansas City that makes incredibly high-energy work. Christopher Astley is a sculptor from New York who is mixing concrete live at the event and stuffing beach balls and floaty whales with it on site. Brookhart Jonquil is sponsored by Dorsch Gallery and Yara Travieso, Chat Travieso by YoungArts. They are collaborating to create a piece that rises above the exhibitor walls. The viewer climbs up to one platform and look across the room and find another platform with an Opera box and a musician playing in front of it. The music carries the across the space for viewer to hear. I saw it being built last night and it looks amazing.

The TM Sisters are sponsored by MOCA are doing an interactive Green Screen/projection piece. Christina Pettersson is also doing a performance inspired by Marie Antoinette. She re-envisions her as a literati and in this performance there are 12 girls dressed in Victorian attire typing on 14 typewriters.  Misael Soto is also doing a stage diving piece on Saturday night. He invited two bands to play and he is facilitating stage diving next to them. You lean back and a group of hands catch you as you fall back and move you around the space. It is magical.

Why do you think Art Live is such a hit with families and kids? 

Our goal for the event, similar to the work being done at the Lotus House Shelter, is that it is accessible by all. We intentionally make the event very child-friendly with the hopes that many families come. Although the art is contemporary and at times edgy, it is fun and incredibly high energy. It is funny, with interactive art, it sometimes takes a little convincing for adults to jump in. Kids don't have this censor, they immediately want to participate which is why I think it is so fun for them. 

For ticket prices and info call 786-300-9840 or visit artlivefair.org.

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