In 2003 a group of art dealers, artists and curators Mark Coetzee, Nina Arias and Nick Cindric set to create the “Wynwood Art District”. Mark Coetzee initiated the idea based on a similar project, Art Night, which he started in his hometown, Cape Town, South Africa. Founding members at the first meeting in Rocket Projects media room were Brook Dorsch of Dorsch Gallery, Weston Charles, Cooper and Elizabeth Withstandley of Locust Projects, Mark Coetzee of the Rubell Collection, Nina Arias and Nick Cindric of Rocket Projects, Bernice Steinbaum of Bernice Steinbaum Gallery, and Marina Kessler of Marina Kessler Gallery. The association created the Second Saturdays Gallery Walk, designed the Manhole cover logo along with the light banners that hang on street corners, and publishes annual brochures with a map and a list of the association's members.
Inspired by the now iconic “Wynwood-Art District Manhole Cover” of 2003, I would begin a new series of work for 2018 entitled “We Are Wynwood”. I wanted to embody our local diverse Wynwood community, which has transitioned from a primarily Puerto Rican society into today’s commercial art mega market.
The series launched by taking the iconic manhole cover; re-imagining the concept using the different national flags. It was these communities from the late 60’s and/or the early 70’s who would lay Wynwood’s foundation.
Without the sustainability and longevity formed by these families, Wynwood today would not be “Wynwood”. By honoring those who where here once, but are no longer here now (including the artist), we can remember Wynwood’s roots.
As Wynwood’s financial market continues to grow, many artists have since moved North to the Little Haiti areas. These areas are now set-up to duplicate Wynwood in the future, thus the trend will continue in these areas as well. “Little Haiti” as named for decades by all local residents alike, has been recently renamed too “The Lemon District”. Originally this area was designated “The Lemon District” by the City of Miami; over time it unofficially became “Little Haiti”. Sometimes identifying these markers for its rich history establishes identity. Why not permanently designate this area