What do you call a massive warehouse on the west side of Wynwood filled with dancers, graff artists, photo types, film makers, loonies, locos, and lovers? The Heart Happening, a night of performance art, silent auction, and chef's tastings to benefit Lotus House Shelter, which serves homeless women contending with domestic violence, illness, disability, or poverty. It's at the Margulies Warehouse, and it's happening tonight.
It's the sixth year Lotus House and Margulies have partnered for a yearly art benefit. Last year's was called Hope Blossoms and featured 40 artists, 100 art works, and 800 attendees. This year, the artists, which include Natasha Duwin, Agustina Woodgate, Miami Poetry Collective, TM Sisters, and Primary Flight, were given heart as a theme. We spoke to Constance Collins-Margulies about tonight's event.
New Times: What's the origin of this event?
Constance Collins-Margulies: The concept of an "art happening" came from Allen Kaprow in the
late 1950s, early 1960s, where artists were coming together in a very spontaneous live act of creation. It's where term "It's a happening" came from. Our Heart Happening is a contemporary version of the art happening and we do it for social consciousness raising. I think that's what makes it so unique
And it's to benefit the Lotus House right?
Right. Yesterday we had an opening available in the maternity building....eight applications came in from women who desperately needed shelter. We only had one bed. We are constantly reminded of how important it is to raise the funds to keep
the shelter open as a resource for women and children in need. We've never had the level of demand that we have on the shelter right now.
Where's the money come from to do the event?
All the food is donated. All the beverages, artists, all the works in the auction are donated. The
auctioneer, the warehouse space, all donated, for free, so we're really blessed to be able to put almost 100% of the money raised directly into support services.
How do you get the artists involved?
Well, actually I send people letters whose work I know or have learned of. I contact the artists. I contact many artists and this year asked for proposals to explore the theme of what do we hear and see with our hearts and how to react from our hearts. I described our vision to do a heart happening where the artist does not have to be a performance artist, but has to think about working in an interactive way so that the work will be shaped as much by the audience as the artist. That can be scary for the artist, who may be used to total control in the studio, but it can be energizing to leave those confines for this collective energy so that ideas can cross pollinate and so that you're present in the moment.
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What do some of the performances involve?
Everything from roaming poetry to photography, sculpture, tapestry; as in weaving old T-shirts. Two artists are creating a float out of the Lotus House thrift shop
truck and inside there will be a meditation chamber. Agustina Woodgate has been working with the shelter for the past two weeks. Her concept is to take old stuffed animals that have been used and discarded, disassemble them, take their parts and reassemble them into something beautiful like a rug or a bedspread.
Lotus House Heart Happening. Margulies Warehouse (591 NW 27th St., Miami). the VIP champagne recpetion starts at 7:30 and the main events starts at 8:30 p.m. VIP tix cost $500, and general admission costs $100. Visit lotushouseshelter.org