| Art |

German Group to Open CU-1 Photography Gallery Downtown: "It's The Right Place at the Right Time"

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Galleries, restaurants and cultural hotspots are opening their doors in downtown almost faster than we can write about them. And that's saying something, 'cuz we're speedy devils.

For those following the area's exponentially expanding art scene, the newest notable installment is CU-1 Gallery, a photography venue that plans to showcase European photogs, fashion shots, and aesthetically appealing artwork designed to integrate with everyday life.

See also:

- First Friday Art Walk Guide: All the Culture on Display at Downtown's Inaugural Event

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The spot is launching its first exhibition on Thursday, June 27, in its 5,500-square-foot digs at 117 NE First Ave.

CU-1 is owned by a group of German art enthusiasts, including Stephen Goettlicher and Marc Schmidt. Goettlicher has been in residence in Miami for nearly five years, and he and his partners are stoked about the city's transformation, particularly when it comes to the newly minted art mecca that downtown has become.

When he first came to Miami several years ago, the area was more than a little sketchy.

"As a European you come here with a major concept of Miami as an urban area, but it didn't seem very urban to me. Downtown was not a safe place to walk," he says.

But the past three years have brought one hell of a transformation.

"We needed an urban space in the heart of Miami which was always the downtown but it has been brought back to life with boutique restaurants, cafes ... people are really investing their heart and soul into places and shops," Goettlicher explains.

"Art Basel in South Beach is now Miami Art Basel because everybody is focusing on the downtown district. We're feeling that we were sort of in the center of something which is really blasting off right now," Schmidt adds. "You really get the feeling that this whole place is developing in a very nice direction."

The spot's first exhibition is entitled Look at Me, and it's a group show featuring five international artists -- Simon Emmett, Billy & Hells, Tina Luther, Christopher Thomas, and Roger Weber.

The title refers to the fact that the works share the common thread of complexity.

"The girls in the images, the people, they kind of demand a second look. It's not always what you see right away," Schmidt describes.

All the artists are being shown in Miami for the first time. While Goettlicher and Schmidt say they plan to showcase primarily European artists, they may branch out and incorporate some local talent eventually.

Either way, they're excited about collaboration with local businesses in the burgeoning downtown district, from other artistic endeavors to restaurants.

"It's sort of an exciting point. It really feels like we're one of the first being at the right place at the right time."

The exhibition opening takes place Thursday, June 27, from 6 to 10 p.m. at 117 NE First Ave., and the show is on view through Friday, August 23.

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