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Art Wynwood 2015 Focuses on the Homegrown

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When the Art Wynwood Fair opens today, it will accomplish a milestone that Art Basel in Miami Beach has never managed to achieve.

That's because unlike Art Basel, this weekend's event will present a side-by-side showcase of our city's top galleries and artists under one roof. Art Wynwood will offer visitors a rare opportunity to experience the caliber of programming and talent that has elevated South Florida's visual arts community to the global stage.

In its fourth edition Art Wynwood will feature "SOLO Miami," a first-rate project that will present five of Miami's powerhouse galleries. Each of the galleries will feature solo exhibitions by some of the Magic City's leading artists.

See also: Purvis Young Exhibition Opens at Museum of Contemporary Art

The project was created by Art Wynwood's director, Grela Orihuela, and features the Emerson Dorsch Gallery with Brookhart Jonquil, GUCCIVUITTON with Peter Goodrich, Primary Projects with Autumn Casey, the Fredric Snitzer Gallery with Mauricio Gonzalez, and Spinello Projects with Farley Aguilar.

"Some people thought it couldn't be done," Orihuela says. "But this project is in Miami, about Miami, for Miami and speaks to Miami's cultural evolution the past three decades."

Art Basel veteran Anthony Spinello agrees that Orihuela's undertaking was a tall task considering the competitive nature of Miami's art scene.

"Believe me, it's not easy convincing local galleries to exhibit side-by-side," Spinello says. "Art Wynwood has done an incredible job and I think the public will be impressed by seeing Miami's top galleries and artists together this weekend," the dealer adds.

Another Art Wynwood presentation by the Upper Eastside's Art Lexing Gallery also promises to command attention this weekend.

Art Lexing will present "La Habana in Waiting," a solo show by New York-based artist, Quentin Shih. Shih grew up in communist China and recently spent three months in Cuba. There he captured haunting images of the island's young people, the artist shares an affinity with their melancholy and yearnings for freedom.

"Is the Cuba of propaganda photographs more authentic?" Shih asks. "Or are the waiting and restless teens who grew up after the revolution more representative of reality? Both of these exist in my experience," he concludes.

"I think people will gravitate to Shih's work in light of the recent opening in relations between the United States and Cuba," Art Wynwood's founder Nick Korniloff says.

This weekend Korniloff will be showcasing over 70 top programs from London, New York, Paris and Germany alongside Wynwood stalwarts such as the Robert Fontaine Gallery, the Ascaso Gallery, Now Contemporary Art and the new Chill Concept space.

"Art Wynwood has become a significant part of Miami's cultural calendar," Nina Fuentes, founder and director of the Chill Concept, says.

Fuentes, a Wynwood pioneer who owned and operated the Hardcore Contemporary Art Space for more than a decade, will present an installation modeled on folded paper planes crafted in aluminum by the Italian conceptual collaborative Blue & Joy.

"Their work is symbolic of the tens of thousands of visitors from the national and international community that fly here for Art Wynwood every February," says Fuentes.

"Unlike other local fairs, Art Wynwood continues playing an important role in representing this community and its level of culture beyond December art week."

Art Wynwood (3101 NE First Ave., Miami) runs through February 16. General admission $25, $55 for multi-day pass. For more information call 786-279-0731 or visit artwynwood.com.

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