Inaugural Wynwood Art Fair Opens Friday (Basel Schmasel)

Don't confuse the inaugural version of the Wynwood Art Fair with the snootier version for which Basel is famous. It doesn't even look like any of the other satellite tent fairs in Wynwood that sprout up like toadstools from cow patties after a flash summer rain.

No, sir. Instead, the three-day artstravaganza is a fun-first "street happening" designed for the widest demographic appeal, not unlike a county fair. But rather than livestock, sideshow performers, and a roller coaster or log flume ride, heaping servings of interactive contemporary art will bridge every imaginable medium, and it's all for a grand cause -- to raise funds for the Lotus House Women's Shelter.

"Think along the lines of Lincoln Road on the weekend with the fruit and antique stalls," says Anthony Spinello, one of the local dealers who has rented a booth for the fair. "Miami's entire art community is behind it, but the fair has also garnered support from other artists nationwide."

Forget Lincoln Road, though. Here the fairgrounds extend through

Wynwood's eye-popping, mural-covered, urban environment. The fair will

take place on a six-block stretch of the arty nabe on NW 6th Avenue,

winding between 23rd and 29th streets.

Exhibition booths will line the entire area, interspersed with stages

for performances. Ethnic-food vendors will be scattered throughout the

fairgrounds, and strolling buskers, minstrels, and live painting

exhibits will pepper the big show.

"The Wynwood Art Fair is our opportunity to create Miami's own flavor of

what a community-centric art fair can be," says Barry Fellman, director

of the Center for Visual Communication. "This is not another Art Miami

transplanted to Wynwood."

The event was conceived three years ago as a one-night fundraiser

organized by Constance Collins Margulies, president of Lotus House and

director of the Wynwood Art Fair. It was held in her husband Marty

Margulies's sprawling warehouse that holds the couple's sizable

contemporary art collection. Soon it outgrew the space and began

spilling into the streets.

In addition to the city's major museums and cultural institutions,

upward of 20 local galleries and more than a dozen independent art

studios have been booked. Also, 30-plus performers and performance

groups are scheduled to participate, many who flew in from out of town

to support Lotus House.

Niizeki Hiromi promises to leave fairgoers smacking their lips over her

multisensory, interactive "Gum Garden." The New York-based artist will

enable spectators to taste and feel her art and assist her with creating

a work confected by hundreds of colors and flavors of gum chewed by the


Other veteran and nationally renowned artists -- such as Trajal Harrell,

David Brooks, Sarah Sze, Ellen Fisher, Ben Fain, Frank Van Duerm, and

Rita Ackermann -- will have works featured at the fair.

Look for the full preview in this week's print issue.

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