Art, food, and mingling are a few of Miami's favorite things. It's no wonder there's a constant flow of gallery events ready to feed hungry mouths and egos, one artist showing at a time. But something's missing, and that something is consideration of what artwork can do outside of white walls.
Toward filling that void, Knights Arts Challenge winner, FEAST Miami, plans to inject a little comfort and a lot of substance into their upcoming gathering.
FEAST Miami (Funding Emerging Art with Sustainable Tactics), created by Chef Loren Pulitzer of Meals That Heal and curator/producer Susan Caraballo, is a meals-based micro-funding project. FEAST Miami aims to produce a series of vegan pop-up dinners at art venues to financially support new and emerging creative projects, ones that are "innovative, feasible, and impact the community." The dinners will be held at various art spaces throughout South Florida, the first of which starts at 6 p.m. Sunday, April 27, at The Light Box. Cocktails will be provided until dinner is served at 6:30, which features a vegan, locally-sourced menu designed by FEAST Miami co-founder and head chef, Loren Pulitzer.
Five finalists have been selected for the first FEAST: Artists Cat Del Buono and Vivian Marthell; Liz Ferrer; Amanda Season Keeley; Juan Carlos Zaldivar; and Mobile Micro Theater. During dinner, each finalist will introduce a three-minute videos outlining their projects and how they would affect the community.
"I think there's going to be a lot of energy during the event, and it's going to be a great way to bring the community together, because the five finalists are a really diverse group," said co-founder and committee chair Susan Caraballo. "I think our panelists had a hard time when they were voting. There were a good number of projects, and that's really representative of our community and how many great ideas we have."
Produced by Ferrer and art collective Southernmost Situations, "Redacted Love," is an interactive-multimedia performance using re-contextualized government surveillance material. The project includes interpretive performance, original audio, appropriated video, and slide photography as the son of an alleged drug dealer and his girlfriend navigate their way through their subtropical environment and adolescence.
"This piece is a part of the history of Miami, the drug trade made our city," Ferrer wrote in an email. "Our story is a love story, under surveillance, which is relevant to now. The NSA has made us all aware that surveillance isn't just for 'the other.'"
While Ferrer's selection touches on Miami's relationship with the drug industry, the project "Social Interruptions" by activist collective ReFemme uses performances, happenings, and humor to get the people of Miami to question the status quo, particularly in regards to women's issues. Co-founded by Del Buono and Marthell, ReFemme's demonstrations include anti-plastic surgery flash mobs and poster campaigns with eye-opening facts about last-name equality. In addition to more of these interactive "happenings," as Del Buono calls them, the group wants to use the funding for another project in development called "Beauty Box."
"Basically what we want to do is rent a small tent or make some sort of box and invite people to come in, and instead of giving them beauty tips, we're going to sit there and tell them why they're beautiful," Del Buono said. "I want to do the opposite of what we're bombarded with in magazines everyday, to have sort of an interactive performance where we tell people they're perfect they way they are."
After the meal and each presentation has concluded, diners at FEAST vote on which project should be funded, and a recipient will be named that evening. A small percentage of contributions will be taken to cover expenses, but the rest goes to the artist with the highest votes, Caraballo said.
"I've seen other models where there's a 1st, 2nd and 3rd, but then the money is not significant enough," Caraballo said. "It's more important that the actual amount of money makes a difference, which we're expecting to be anywhere between $1,000 to $3,000. It's a suggested donation of $40, however, we do encourage people to give more."
FEAST Miami will produce about nine dinners by October 2016 using their $40k Knights Arts Challenge funding. Caraballo says the organization combines both founders' visions: Dedication to South Florida-based artists and commitment to the local food movement.
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"I think it's something that will be sustainable even beyond the Knight Foundation grant," she said. "It's the perfect time in Miami for this right now."
Tickets for FEAST Miami's event include vegan dinner, dessert, drinks and donation. To read more about the finalists' projects and to purchase tickets, visit feastmiami.org.
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