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Miami Arts Brigade Looks to Foster Collaboration Between Local Arts Organizations

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Regardless of discipline or industry or interest, there's one buzzword that gets tossed around in every single meeting Miamians have: community. It's the general consensus that we need more of it, in every area.

Now, several of Miami's arts leaders are launching an organization designed to bring the diverse arms of the art world together, thereby fostering a greater feeling of community and collaboration in this increasingly-important part of Miami's cultural ecosystem.

This brand-new group is called Miami Arts Brigade, and they're issuing a call for the city's arts groups to join them.

See also: Life is Art T-Shirt Design Contest: Get Half Off the Awards Ceremony

The idea was originally dreamed up by Sonia Hendler of the Arts & Business Council.

"Working with the Arts & Business Council, my hand is always on the pulse of the arts, technology and entrepreneurial communities of Miami. Our city is truly alive with so much synergistic creative energy," said Hendler. She sees the concept as a collective effort.

"My vision for the Arts Brigade was to provide a centralized platform for arts [and] cultural organizations to gain exposure and to ultimately cross-pollinate with other growing industries."

James Echols, co-founder of Life Is Art, is helping to launch the endeavor, along with Joshua Kingston, of Eleazar Delgado Studio and Life Is Art, and Amy San Pedro of Buskerfest and the Emerging Arts Leaders.

"We were kind of the first four in on the project, but we really want it to be a coalition and have everyone be part of the decision-making and execution process," Echols says.

They recently held an inaugural meeting at the Bakehouse Art Complex with were reps from various groups, including the Adrienne Arsht Center, the Coral Gables Museum, and even Mad Chiller Coffee (a big supporter of the local arts).

The group chatted about potential barriers to arts collaboration, including a fear of "donor poaching," where people are afraid that others in the same field will inadvertently steal their funding.

The point was raised that collaborative arts organizations in other cities haven't seen this issue occur. In fact, quite the opposite is often true, with donors shelling out bigger bucks when groups start to come together.

The Miami Arts Brigade has lots of big plans for the future -- and they're open to ideas and suggestions from the city's arts orgs. They're looking to provide a forum so the different disciplines can speak with one collective voice, and advocate for the importance of the arts.

Their first project is to promote Miami's art-related nonprofits for The Miami Foundation's Give Miami Day on November 20. The 24-hour event raised a record $3.2 million last year, as people across Miami gave generously to their favorite groups.

They'll be pushing out content for nonprofits looking to participate, and it's free to opt in.

Groups are asked to send them the following information no later than Wednesday, November 12:

  • Paragraph describing your #GiveMiamiDay campaign
  • Your logo
  • Your Twitter handle
  • Web link: your choice of wherever you'd like them to direct traffic
  • Sample Tweets: as many as you'd like (recommended 20+) so that they can promote you

Info should be sent to miamiartsbrigade@gmail.com. They've also set up social media accounts on Facebook (/miamiartsbrigade), Twitter (@ArtsBrigadeMia) and Instagram (@ArtsBrigadeMia).

Hendler adds, "I am hoping that the Miami Arts Brigade will open the doors for both arts and tech to connect, foster a greater sense of place, and ultimately take us one step closer to working together towards making our city better."

Follow Hannah on Twitter @hannahgetshappy.

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