Stretching the boundaries from as far south as Palmetto Bay and as far north as North Miami, the Fountainhead Arts Artists Open
on Saturday, May 21, is a daylong trek to visit artist studios throughout Miami-Dade County.
"I'm just excited to share Miami-based artists with the world; it doesn't change. It's about bringing more and more people to engage with new artists and new residents," says Kathryn Mikesell, who founded Fountainhead Arts with her husband, Dan, in 2008.
That is the mission of both their space and the yearly Artists Open event. "This is even for people who have been here forever. No matter how long you've been here, there's always something new to discover each year. I want to continue to pique people's curiosity about Miami."
This year's event is the third in person and the fourth overall. (The May 2020 event happened online.) A key component to finding your way around during the Artists Open is the map and artist directory available on its website
This year, it's revamped the website, made the map interactive, and worked on the usability of the directory because Fountainhead wants it to be "a year-round resource so people can reach out to artists throughout the year," she says.
At Fountainhead, Mikesell says every time the organization learns about a new neighborhood or warehouse, it reaches out to the artists in those areas. Fountainhead is proactive and even asks other artists to suggest people. "We want people, especially new ones to Miami, to discover new neighborhoods."
Visitors browse the works on display at Fountainhead Studios in Little River.
Photo courtesy of Fountainhead Arts
Ultimately, the mission of Fountainhead Arts and Artists Open is to support artists, both with visibility and financially, through the sale of works.
As part of this year's event, local artist and Miami native Julie Davidow
is hosting a fundraiser for Ukraine during the event. Davidow established ArtistsStand4 "as a platform to unite artists in support of causes impacting our global communities through the sale of original artworks and limited edition prints," she says.
"The response from artists in our community to donate their artworks for sale in support of this benefit has been overwhelming, and the quality of the work is tremendous," Davidow adds. "It's my hope that together we can raise a significant amount of dollars to contribute to GEM (Global Empowerment Mission) and the important work they are doing right now for the people of Ukraine." The sale of artworks will continue through June 30, 2022.
"The artworks that are part of the fundraiser will be clearly marked that day and available at a central location at Fountainhead studios as well as other studios participating in the event," Mikesell says.
Excited to be participating again this year are the all-female group at the Collective 62
in Liberty City as well as the studios at the Bird Road Arts District, including Ignacio Font and Jean Blackwell Font of Warehouse 4726
Warehouse 4726 is part of the planning committee and one of the many complexes in Miami-Dade that participates in the event.
"We have spent the last few weeks getting our nine artists excited about the event and have worked to prepare them in terms of having price lists, capturing emails, and being ready to talk about their work," Blackwell Font says.
Patrons exploring the Fountainhead Studios in Little River.
Photo courtesy of Fountainhead Arts
She goes on to say, "We know this is going to be a successful year, and we have more studios than ever before from the Bird Road Arts District participating in this year's event. We are ready to welcome everyone."
At the opposite end of the city in Liberty City, they're just as excited to greet visitors at the Collective 62 on Saturday.
Artist Nina Surel says, "We are honored and excited for another Artists Open on May 21 in Liberty City. Fountainhead Arts is helping the Collective 62 elevate its visibility. We are 13 middle-aged women in the middle of our careers and this day opens our space to a bigger audience."
Surel also loves Fountainhead's attention to detail when it comes to their online directory calling it "the most accurate online directory, making each location easy to find. That means all neighborhoods and no artist left behind."
That is exactly Mikesell's goal, to ensure that all artists have the opportunity to be seen and to meet with the public because "there's no one group of people more tacked into what is going on in their community than artists. Also, it's a learning experience on what they want to enhance and improve on in life," Mikesell says
"Artists Open is about sharing experiences and stories of being a part of Miami as a whole," she adds. She believes that ultimately, "artists change the way we act, move and treat one another. They open our hearts and minds to make a difference."
– Josie Gulliksen, ArtburstMiami.com
Fountainhead Artists Open. 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, May 21, at various locations; artistsopen.miami. Admission is free.