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ArtCenter is a Hub For the Art World in South Florida

By S. Mathur

The ArtCenter has been around for over thirty years and has played an important part in making South Florida a destination for art and artists. Its mission is "to support artists and advance the knowledge and practice of contemporary visual arts and culture in South Florida. ArtCenter creates opportunities for experimentation and innovation, and encourages the exchange of ideas across cultures through residencies, exhibitions, public programs, education and outreach."

Meeting artists' needs for work and exhibition space and community, over the years the ArtCenter has played a major role in revitalizing the once-derelict Lincoln Road neighborhood. The studio residency program offers artists subsidized studio spaces for six months to two years. More than 20 studio spaces are available. Beginning in Fall 2016, the ArtCenter will debut ARTSail, a "floating, nomadic" residency on board a sailboat. The one-month program will encourage artists to create work inspired by Miami's relationship to water and by environmental concerns.

Photo credit Silvia Ros

ARTstudies classes range from workshops for practicing artists to summer camp for kids. Executive Director Maria del Valle, says that "ArtCenter's ARTcamp is very popular and has run every summer since 1999. This year we are doing something new and will be focusing on tween and teen campers. ARTcamp will take place in June-July and we will serve students 10-15 years old." Year round classes for adults include drawing, painting and printmaking.

Painting classes with the Argentinian artist Pablo Contrisciani are bilingual and highly popular, del Valle says, "He has been teaching at the ArtCenter since 2001, therefore, he has extensive teaching experience for all skill levels and a loyal following. His classes are available in English and Spanish appealing to a broader audience in South Florida."

A recent partnership with the Moonlighter Makerspace will allow students to use new technologies. This included the use of creative space, workshops and tools, says del Valle: "We will be offering two weeks of workshops in printmaking, painting and drawing and two weeks of workshops where students will get to work with vinyl cutters, 3D printers and littleBits Pro Circuit electronic building blocks. Our resident and visiting artists as well as our summer camp students will be able to share works that combine traditional techniques along with new technologies like 3D printing. If interested, our artists sign-out a card to use the facility for $10 per week."

Community outreach includes partnerships with children's hospitals, shelters and programs for underprivileged teens. The Creative Care program for current patients at Nicklaus Children's Hospital and their families includes interactive storytelling, and hands-on art projects including sculpture, printmaking, painting and drawing.

Public programs include lectures, concerts, film screenings, and exhibitions. STUDIOcrawl, is a monthly open studio, held on the first Wednesday. The monthly impromptu concert series with the New World Symphony Fellows bridges visual and musical arts. With all its public programs and exhibitions, ArtCenter receives up to 100,000 visitors each year. Admission to all public programming and exhibitions is free.

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