Art

"What's Next For Wynwood" Panel Devolves Into Petty Fighting and Personal Attacks

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As the panel continued, however, that initial optimism dissipated into rising tensions. An audience member told the panel, "[Property] owners need to get together. They're all cats. They're just going in their own direction. We need to create commonality and give a voice to infrastructure."

That brought the possibility of creating a BID back into question, an idea supported by WADA and Tony Goldman's legacy. Joseph Furst, managing director of Goldman Properties, was awkwardly singled out from the audience by Kohen and asked to speak on behalf of the late Goldman, Wynwood's beloved art crusader.

"Tony Goldman's legacy is what we're going to deliver in Wynwood, so when I sit around and listen to people talk so poorly about the neighborhood we're trying so hard to revitalize -- we have people coming from all over the world as a world-class destination for art, culture, food, and beverage to take in public art in a way they can't any where else in the world -- it's a little bit disheartening," Furst said, after expressing discomfort for being singled out.

The panel went back and forth about local government's lack of involvement, infrastructure landscaping, and questions of intent arose. Snitzer voiced concerns about the BID trying to gentrify Wynwood without paying attention to issues like the homeless and lack of order in the surrounding areas. Lombardi, visibly frustrated, said the BID would help fix those problems, but Snitzer wouldn't know it because he's never attended a single BID meeting. In addition to this, he addressed Snitzer's complaints about graffiti taggers, telling him Wynwood's "not for the faint of heart.

"The problem is the galleries don't communicate with each other ... There is an elitist, nauseating mentality that doesn't promote business. There's the 80-20 rule: 20 percent of these galleries are doing 80 percent of the business ... They don't work together and cross pollinate," Lombardi said, singling out Snitzer.

Nina Fuentes, of Hardcore Art Contemporary Space, spoke from the audience to defend Wynwood's galleries in regard to Lombardi's comments. In addition to providing a laundry list of her gallery's active participation in the community, she said, "We are always there, we only close once a week in the summer and one week in December." When she told Lombardi she never received any kind of phone call or news about his complaints from tourists about galleries being closed, he responded with a belittling mimic of her Latin accent: "It's not my yob, honey, to drive traffic." Under breathe oohs were heard from the crowd.

The confrontation is just another example of lack of communication and hostility between those who hold stakes in Wynwood and should be working with each other but aren't.

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Briana Saati