Art

YoungArts 2022-23 Season Brings New Ideas and Collaborations to the Forefront

Mark Fleuridor with his piece Papi Iron my clothes, Papi let’s go to Church, Papi Pa Fem Wont (2020, hand sewing, quilting and collage on cotton).
Mark Fleuridor with his piece Papi Iron my clothes, Papi let’s go to Church, Papi Pa Fem Wont (2020, hand sewing, quilting and collage on cotton). Photo courtesy of YoungArts
Shortly after debuting its latest exhibition, "Sunshine," featuring works by artist Mark Fleuridor, at its gallery space on Biscayne Boulevard, YoungArts unveiled the lineup for the upcoming 2022-23 season.

It's a robust season filled with collaborative presentations with Miami Light Project, Miami Film Festival, the Betsy Hotel, and Nu Deco Ensemble. All those, in addition to an Art Basel VIP Brunch on November 30, National YoungArts Week set for January 9-15, 2023, and a spring exhibition in May.

Planning a season following nearly three years of uncertainty due to the pandemic was no easy feat, but Lauren Snelling, artistic director at YoungArts, says it was all about finding a balance.

"Planning this season has been a careful balance of consideration for returning to a [modified] version of in-person programming and a thoughtful recognition of the learnings of the past two years. Programs for both current winners [ages 15-18 years] and past winners [ages 15-60] have evolved to best serve the artists in our community throughout the various stages of their careers," Snelling explains.

The YoungArts leadership team used the lessons of those pandemic years to its advantage.

"We have learned so much over the last two years on how to strengthen our online presence and digital community building and look forward to continuing that work, but nothing compares to the energy of being in person," says deputy director Rebekah Lanae Lengel.

Collaboration was also a strong factor in planning the season. "We are leveraging our collegial partnerships in order to expand the resources available to all artists and to see the fruits of labor two years in the making," Snelling says.

Putting together the opening exhibition by Fleuridor was a passion project for associate curator Luisa Múnera, who says the process of creating this exhibition was completely different from previous shows she's worked on. Because YoungArts primarily focuses on producing group exhibitions, this allows it to showcase the work of intergenerational artists from across the United States. Because of this, most of those installations are worked on via email with the artist. With Fleuridor's show, that was different.

"The fact that Mark is local to Miami allowed for collaboration to flourish. I was able to conduct studio visits where I witnessed firsthand the works that I had seen on his website and social media channels," Múnera explains.

She knew she did not want to curate the show without Fleuridor's insight and voice being part of the process. In working with him, she had the opportunity to learn about his process, techniques, motivations, goals, and ambitions for the future.

"During the exhibition installation, we worked closely in deciding layout, which pieces made sense together, how color moves through the space... every day allowed for conversation that revealed layers within each work," Múnera adds.

Once "Sunshine" wraps up on December 10, the National YoungArts Week Exhibition will open to the public on January 9 and run through the 15th.

"This exhibition is a group show featuring the work of 15- to 18-year-old designers, photographers, and visual artists. Every year, YoungArts welcomes a guest curator to curate this show, and we are so pleased to have Adeze Wilford, curator at [Museum of Contemporary Art] in North Miami, organizing the 2023 show," Múnera says.

The annual weeklong exhibition brings together the next generation of innovative, forward-thinking, and curious voices from around the United States who are "exploring, questioning, and rethinking the world we live in through their artistic practice. Witnessing their work at such young ages gives me hope for our future," Múnera explains.

Lanae Lengel is excited about welcoming all the winners that week in January. "We are so excited to celebrate the 2023 class of winners in January during National YoungArts Week in Miami and celebrate all the brilliant innovative artists of the YoungArts community throughout the season as we share their incredible work and energy," she adds.

Snelling echoes that statement, saying that the energy that comes from witnessing artists in creation who are experimenting with their craft, sharing their process and outcomes, and learning from one another in real-time "is what it's all about, whether it is young artists at National YoungArts Week or mid-career artists developing something new in a residency."

There are also a few new initiatives this season. They include piloting an in-person program for current honorable mention and merit-level winners in all ten YoungArts Week disciplines that focuses on interdisciplinary collaboration.

"Led by two separate creative teams, up to 80 young artists will have the opportunity to attend a three-day program in Miami and engage in immersive exercises, discussions, and sharing sessions, as well as gain insight from accomplished guest artist-led workshops," Snelling says.

Earlier this month, YoungArts partnered with the Miami Light Project to present Shamel Pitts' creation of Touch of Red with his collective, Tribe, at the Miami Theater Center.

"A long-time collaborator and host of YoungArts Miami workshops and performances in the past, Miami Light Project's support of this project made possible the National Performance Network's co-commission, development, and performance grants for the company and partner presenters in five states," Snelling explains.

YoungArts will also be collaborating with Nu Deco Ensemble in several yet-to-be-announced programs.

For more on YoungArt 2022-23 season, including dates, times, and evolving programs, visit youngarts.org.

– Josie Gulliksen, ArtburstMiami.com
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