#SaveArtSpace Creates Urban Gallery Across Wynwood for Miami Art Week

Imagine that you're on your way to see some art, you are only a few miles away from the next gallery on your list — so close you can almost feel it. But, instead of being surrounded by art aficionados and walls of work, you find yourself immersed in a flood of cars. Already in full effect, Miami Art Week will bring hundreds of galleries and pop-up installations along with enough traffic to make your head spin.

Brooklyn-based artists Travis Rix and Justin Aversano have a solution: an urban gallery experience. The pair is behind a newly-launched nonprofit called #saveartspace, dedicated to transforming traditional advertising platforms into public art. Removing the exclusivity found in many galleries and installation pop-ups, Rix and Aversano want to make public art accessible for all.

"It really started when we were walking through Bushwick in Brooklyn," Rix says. "Everyday more and more advertisements were covering up street art, and we thought we should do something about it."

During Miami Art Week through December 20, eight local South Florida artists will have their work displayed on billboards and bus shelters across Wynwood, sponsored by #saveartspace. This will mark Rix and Aversano's second public art space exhibition, with the first in their native Bushwick last June. 

"When you're going from fair to fair, you'll have something in the middle of your trip now," Rix says. "You'll glance over and see more art, instead of someone trying to sell you something."

Rix and Aversano work directly with advertisement contributors to provide local artists with visual platforms in a public space. Billboards and public advertising space is either donated by the owner or purchased through donations. "We don't do it guerrilla style," Rix says. "We do it by the law. We're just trying to advertise an artist's art and transform public advertising."

The non-profit held an open-call for South Florida artists in October. Harvey Zipkin, Leah Guzman, Andrew Reid, Amauri Torezan, Troy Simmons, Gianna Veno, John Zoller, and Joel Gaitan were selected among the entries to represent the first Miami exhibition. Their art will be divided between three billboards and five bus shelters. "Every event we do, we offer an open-call for anyone of any age or skill level," Rix says. "The only thing is they have to be local to the city we're having the show in."

Though they launched #saveartspace in February of this year, Rix and Aversano have big plans. They want to create at least one show every three months in different cities around the country. "It just gives people a break from the constant bombardment of advertisements," Rix says. "From the moment you wake up, until night, you're constantly surrounded. But this is a moment of your time that you're not. Maybe you'll stop, or stare, or think about it later. That's our goal. That's what public art can do."

For billboard and bus shelter art locations, visit saveartspace.org/miami.

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