Artist-Painted Umbrellas to Line the Streets of Little Havana During Art Basel

Based on the increasing frequency of "Art Basel" Google Alerts in our inbox, Miami's art extravaganza is fast approaching. Which means the city's artists are working like elves before Christmas to churn out as many masterpieces as possible, and the artists of Little Havana are no exception.

This year, area creatives are painting giant white umbrellas to be displayed on Calle Ocho from December 5th through 8th. This colorful spectacle will include more than 26 pretty parasols in a vast array of genres and designs.

See also: Art Basel Miami Beach 2013 Gallery Guide

Pati Vargas, Executive Director for Viernes Culturales, is heading up the artsy endeavor, dubbed Umbrellas of Little Havana.

"We have 24 studios or galleries slash studios in the area, so we were thinking of something cheap where we didn't need to get permits and everybody might be able do," Vargas says.

She tried for more than a year to get a sponsorship for the umbrellas, to no avail. But in the end, artists were able to order their own 6.5 foot canvases, then paint them as they see fit.

"We invited artists from all over. We have local artists, then we have businesses that have bought two or three for any artist who might want to paint them."

Designs in the works range from a soccer ball to a woman's face to a pink breast cancer awareness tribute. Participating artists include Katey Penned, Roy Rodriguez, Ninoska Perez Castellon and Didi Marchi, among others. The end result should be something special.

And, if you fall in love with one of the unique creations, the umbrellas will be for sale by the artists, Vargas adds.

"We're hoping it brings a lot of visitors and start the trend of something here in Little Havana," Vargas says. There's so much art here."

The umbrellas will be on display from December 5th through 8th along Calle Ocho, from 10 a.m. to 5 or 6 p.m. Vargas would like them to be up earlier in the day (8 a.m.-ish), but she'd need volunteers to help erect them (hint, hint). Check out Viernes Culturales on Facebook for details.

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