As Pride floats were slowly prepared on South Beach, revelers for a different sort of celebration gathered in the Design District's Palm Court this past weekend. Locust Projects celebrated its annual Spring Fling fundraiser, a silent auction disguised as a black-and-white masquerade ball. The event was filled with Miami's art-world heavy hitters.
"Locust Projects runs on a very lean organization yet boasts one of the most ambitious arts programing in the city," said Lexing Zhang of Art Lexing and one of the night's hosts. "When they asked me to host this year's Spring Fling, I was totally flattered. All the funds raised are going to help the dream projects of their carefully selected artists and other forward-thinking programming that will benefit our community as a whole."
The affair was modeled after author Truman Capote's infamous black-and-white parties held to entertain New York high society. Back then, Andy Warhol, Bianca Jagger, Liza Minelli, and the like would mix and mingle while dressed in their monochromatic finest. Like Capote's fabled shindigs, Saturday night's celebration drew a who's who of local gallery owners, art fair organizers, artists, and aficionados for what has become the informal closing of Miami's art season.
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This art season saw a creative community in flux. Many galleries relocated north, major museums announced new directors, and several institutions debuted while others shuttered for renovations. Yet despite the increasing uncertainty that pervades the state of the art world, the crowd at Locust Projects' Spring Fling was all about revelry.
The masquerade ball featured bites from Michelle Bernstein's Cena, Michael Shwartz's Ella, Macchialina, Lyon Lyon, and other restaurants. Attendees were entertained by a lineup of American standards performed by a group of musicians from the Frost School of Music. As the night wore on, attendees were encouraged to bid on several donated pieces of artwork and luxury items.
Overlooking the Design District's retail centerpiece, Palm Court Plaza, the event provided a view that testifies to the economic revival the arts have brought to the once-forgotten neighborhood. Nearby was the newly built Dior and Hermès stores, and cranes dotted the site of the new Institute for Contemporary Art (ICA). Although Locust Projects relocated to the fledging district in the late '90s, the effect that the gallery and other institutions like it have had on Miami still reverberates.
"It’s so important to support organizations such as Locust Projects," Art Wynwood director Grela Orihuela said. "Not only do they constantly push the envelope and allow artists to experiment, but they also engage with the local community in many ways. And more important, they bring national attention to Miami."