These days the most $20 will buy you is a pizza, around six gallons of gas, or a maybe small house plant. If you're an art lover and willing to troll the aisles of your local thrift shop, a pair of sawbucks might even snag you an old poster or print to spruce up that ratty, hand-me-down couch.
But tonight, at the freshly-squeezed Flagler Arts Space, across from the Miami Art Museum, your cash will go further. For a modest 20 beans, you can take home your pick of hundreds of drawings, paintings, photos, and prints from some of the top, emerging talent in town.
The 3,000-square-foot studio and gallery space is hosting "Priceless," its inaugural exhibit featuring works by homegrown talent, including Annie Blazejack, David Olivera, Juan Travieso, Leonardo Castañeda, Nicole Mucher, Nicole Serize, Noah Garcia, Ray Lopez, and Reinier Gamboa. The twenty-somethings are all graduates of the New World School of the Arts and DASH and have returned home after studying at some of the top art colleges in the U.S. "Some of them graduated from Cooper Union in New York or the Art Center in Pasadena," says Blazejack, herself an Ivy Leaguer who copped her diploma at Brown.
The 23-year-old artist and her friends have opened the Flagler Arts Space, which was donated by the Thomas Center, a local real estate outfit, to help revitalize the area. All the artists are paying for is the utility bills and liability insurance Blazejack informs. Blazejack and company join Christopher Miro in pioneering a Downtown Miami art scene. Miro opened his eponymous gallery down the block last September.
Blazejack says their new space had been empty the previous 18 months and was once the home of City of Miami offices, a car dealer showroom, and a gym before she and her colleagues cleaned up the joint.
"We stripped out the carpets and found a thick layer of yellow glue that took us a billion hours to scrape up with razors," Blazejack laughs. "We all worked together to fix this place up and will each have our studios in the back. It was very DIY with a lot of sweat equity involved," she adds.
The walls of the gallery are festooned floor to ceiling with hundreds of original pieces that are a steal at 20 bucks a pop and complimented by free food, drinks, and parking during the inaugural bash, Blazejack says. The artists plan to use funds raised to continue exhibiting and experimenting in their new space.
"Priceless" opens tonight from 5 to 10 p.m. and runs through February 4. Flagler Art Space is located at 172 W. Flagler St., Miami. Call 305-338-6195 or visit flaglerartsspace.wordpress.com.