Grela Orihuela Gives Us a Sneak Peek of Art Wynwood 2016

As Wynwood continues its transition from burgeoning arts neighborhood into a paint-covered landmark, Art Wynwood is about to launch its sixth-annual fair. This year's installment comes after a tepid response from collectors at Art Basel Miami Beach 2015 and lackluster sales reported at large. It's not so much that Miami's local art scene in shrinking; rather, there's been a small blip in what has otherwise been a match made in heaven: the Magic City and art sales.

Yet the organizers of Art Wynwood remain unperturbed, and with new and returning galleries lined-up to showcase their best and brightest work, it promises to stun. A couple of weeks shy of the opening (February 11), New Times spoke with Art Wynwood director Grela Orihuela to get her perspective on the ever-shifting local landscape and what it means for the fair she helms. 

New Times: In Art Wynwood's fifth year, can you look back at how the idea for it came about? What was the impetus? 
Grela Orihuela: Nick Korniloff and his partners wanted to create a fair that would benefit our city, our international galleries and the collectors and visitors that call Miami home or visit during the busiest holiday weekend in the month of February. Miami is a cultural destination — with the private collections, collector base, museums and the international equity that’s been built with Art Week, it was only natural to pursue a stand alone fair that signified a true evolution for Miami and the Midtown Wynwood Arts District.

How was the fair evolved and changed from the first spark five years ago? 
Our fair has developed into a meaningful destination for an international audience, so every year we choose projects that spotlight Miami and the important work and innovation happening here year round.Our purpose was to continue to grow and shape this fair into an event embodying the tremendous art character and talent of its Miami roots.

What can the average fair attendee expect from Art Wynwood 2016? 
As always, our guests will experience a wonderful selection of both international and local galleries, offering exceptional work and special exhibitions that promote Art Wynwood’s aim to consistently put an emphasis on curated projects. The fair will introduce the beloved ‘60s decade with "The 1960’s Will Blow Your Mind." In conjunction with this highly anticipated project, there will be a fashion and music component. Through Focus Miami, Art Wynwood places a special emphasis on local organizations. A distinction of Miami’s art community is an unambiguous dedication to fostering, enabling and improving the art experience of this culturally vital city. We are highlighting the good work of Locust Projects, The Miami Rail, Yeelen Art Space, the newly launched Laundromat and Wynwood Radio will broadcasting live from the fair. MADA (The Miami Art Dealers Association) will present a curated booth from three of its key members — Alejandra Von Hartz, Emerson Dorsch, and Mindy Solomon Gallery — and also host a talk.

How does Art Wynwood set itself apart from Art Miami and Context Art Miami? 
Miami is a travel destination during the month of February (especially during the long Presidents’ Day weekend) that gives guests the opportunity to experience the city's vibrant art scene that continues to flourish beyond December's coveted Miami Art Week. Art Wynwood is a standalone fair and the most important fair of the winter in the Southeast.
After all the Miami Art Week shenanigans, how do you plan to keep the public interested in another art fair? 
Art Wynwood is the sister show to Art Miami (LLC). Both play a vital role in continuing the evolution of the City of Miami and the Wynwood Arts district on an international level outside of Art Week in December... The Fair provides seasoned local collectors and visitors who vacation and call Miami home from around the globe during the winter months and every Presidents Day weekend their opportunity to pursue their passion of collecting.

What are some of the galleries you're excited to work with this year? Any new ones or old favorites?
We have such a strong and diverse group. We have galleries such as Ascaso, Cernuda, Contessa, Hollis Taggart, UNIX, Waltman Ortega, Durban Segnini, NOW Contemporary and Waterhouse & Dodd that have been with us every year since the beginning. You form such lovely relationships over the years. We’re so happy to welcome Boulakia Fine Art coming to us from Paris, Cantor Fine Art from West Hollywood and Artfactory from Vaduz. We also have a new group of local galleries joining us for the first time – Art Bastion, Art Center Allapatah, Artium, and Bossa to name a few.

With more galleries flocking out of Wynwood in search of cheaper rents, how does Art Wynwood see the future of their namesake neighborhood? 
That evolution takes place in every city. I’m from NY and have seen galleries shift locations throughout the years, but in the end, all that does is help the art scene grow. When some galleries moved from the Upper East side to Soho that did not eliminate the gallery presence on Madison Ave., for instance. The same thing happened with Soho to Chelsea, Chelsea to Lower East side and LES to Brooklyn followed by great spaces opening in Harlem. Now we have galleries in all those neighborhoods. Miami is on the same path... It’s a beautiful series of decisions which all add to the cultural growth and development of the area.

What are some of the big trends we'll see at Art Wynwood 2016? 
I think the continuing trend is simply to always engage our guests with inspiring art and a high level experience. We keep an eye on what’s going on so that we cannot only follow it as we evolve, but create the new trends that enhance our art fairs for our collectors and exhibitors. It’s pretty simple really, just up the game each time.

Art Wynwood 2016
February 11-15, at the Context Art Miami Pavilion. For more information regarding schedules, and pricing visit their website

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Neil Vazquez is an arts and entertainment writer who works at the intersection of highbrow and lowbrow A Miami native and Northwestern University graduate, he usually can be found sipping overpriced coffee, walking his golden retriever, or doing yoga.
Contact: Neil Vazquez