ArtPlace February Question

Carlos Cruz Diez Crosswalk in Wynwood
Artistic Enhanced Crosswalk by Artist Carlos Cruz-Diez in Wynwood (NW 2nd Ave & NW 25th St)
[Photography by Mateo Nava]

The Wynwood Arts District is currently entering the BID formation process. As part of this process, we will be entering an exciting new period in our urban development evolution. As a Business Improvement District, Wynwood will be able to develop its urban infrastructure and explore services that will ensure a safer and more pedestrian-friendly experience.

ArtPlace spoke with Joseph Furst, Esq, Member of the Board of Directors for the Wynwood Arts District Association, about the ArtPlace Creative Placemaking Summit in January and how the initiative will be moving forward.

ARTPLACE: Where does this movement go next?  What ideas did you gain or lessons did you learn that you plan to apply to your initiative?  What did you share about your initiative that was surprising to you or to other participants?  What new opportunities for your initiative did you identify from conversations with other creative placemakers?

JOSEPH: The Creative Placemaking Summit in January was a very enriching and motivating experience – it was thrilling to see all the different initiatives that are being developed nationwide and to learn from others’ mistakes and successes. I believe that the idea exchange during the Summit made us realize that we can do so much more with our initiative than just the sanitation and safety improvement aspects, which have been a priority for the BID so far.

WADA and the BID can do a lot more to get engaged and involved with the community. We need to improve and expand our level of community outreach, not to be as hyper-focused in our own little world but rather to engage different people from different sectors because everyone may have different, valuable input.

We need to share ideas with the community and develop arts-related activities and initiatives to be implemented with the priorities of the BID. This can come in the shape of artistic enhancements to the standard features of the BID, such as the artistic enhanced crosswalks that we see today in front of Joey’s. What’s important is that the focus remains on the creative component of urban placemaking in Wynwood.

WELCOME WYNWOOD WAYS

Adding the first layer of paint[Photography by Jose Nava]
Adding the first layer of paint
[Photography by Jose Nava]
IMG_0903
Second layer – DONE!
[Photography by Jose Nava]
IMG_0904
Almost done for the day! Finishing up with the third and last layer.
[Photography by Jose Nava]
Phase 1 [NW 2nd Ave] - FINISHED!Photography by Andres Nava
Phase 1 [NW 2nd Ave] – FINISHED!
Photography by Andres Nava
Final Product [Bird's Eye View]Photo Courtesy of Ray Cruz / VP, Atlantic Paving
Final Product [Bird’s Eye View]
Photo Courtesy of Ray Cruz / VP, Atlantic Paving

WYNWOOD WAYS_ARTISTIC CROSSWALK BY CARLOS CRUZ-DIEZ

Wynwood Ways is an ongoing collaboration between Miami Biennale and the Wynwood Arts District Association (WADA) to make the Wynwood neighborhood a more pedestrian and bike-friendly cultural destination.

Upon completion of the prototypal artist-enhanced intersection, residents and visitors of Wynwood can now enjoy the neighborhood’s first permanent artistic crosswalk, marked by a work that seeks to transform the intersection of NW 2nd Avenue and NW 25th Street.

The artistic crosswalk, which has been dedicated to visionary Tony Goldman, consists of a kinetic design by artist Carlos Cruz-Diez that changes as the pedestrian is crossing. Cruz Diez’s work can be seen on the walkways of the Marlins Stadium and outside the Museum Fine Arts Houston. The abstract geometric design has been donated by renowned artist Carlos Cruz-Diez and is supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Fund at The Miami Foundation.

_ABOUT MIAMI BIENNALE

Miami Biennale is a non-profit organization that works to establish initiatives in the arts that stimulate funding from both public and private institutions; to create projects that develop and promote interactive platforms in the arts for both education and cultural development.

_ABOUT WADA [WYNWOOD ARTS DISTRICT ASSOCIATION]

The Wynwood Arts District is home to over 150 small businesses, including Art Galleries, Retail Stores, Antique Shops, and Eclectic Bars & Restaurants.

WADA, a community association, brings together art complexes, galleries, performing art spaces, restaurants, cafes, and other creative businesses that strengthen the concept of a true arts district becoming the catalyst for Miami’s international image.

WADA is the sole non-profit organization that represents the interests of Wynwood stakeholders and is responsible for the well-being and improvement of the District. By committing to provide a clean, safe, and enriching environment to its occupants and visitors, the Wynwood Arts District Association actively plays a vital role in enhancing the character and safety of the warehouse district.

_ABOUT THE CARLOS CRUZ-DIEZ FOUNDATION

Carlos Cruz-Diez’s family created the Cruz-Diez Foundation in 2005 in order to promote the artist’s work and vision about art, culture and society.

The Cruz-Diez Foundation, hosted since 2008 in the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, develops a complete guide of events and programs of cultural and social impact around two main goals:

To give exposure to Carlos Cruz-Diez’s investigations
To extend his ideas and contributions towards new generations.

_ABOUT THE JOHN S. AND JAMES L. KNIGHT FOUNDATION

Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. The foundation believes that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit KnightFoundation.org.

_ABOUT THE MIAMI FOUNDATION

The Miami Foundation provides civic leadership, bringing stakeholders together to tackle issues of concern in our community. Working together with our Fundholders and community partners, we leverage collective knowledge, creativity and resources for a greater impact than any one of us could make alone.

By connecting philanthropy with community needs and opportunities, we make Miami a greater place to live, work and play.

_CONTACTS

• Miami Biennale
Ariana Testamarck Orellana, Vice-President.
P. 305-576-2914
E. ariana@miamibiennale.org

• Wynwood Arts District Association
Jose Nava-Lujambio, Executive Director. 
P. 954-864-6232
E. jose.wynwood@gmail.com

• Carlos Cruz-Diez Foundation
José Ramón Moreno Herrera.
P. 305-979-7602
E. jmoreno@cruz-diez.com

• The John S and James L Knight Foundation
Andrew Sherry, VP/Communications.
P. 305-908-2677
E. media@knightfoundation.org

• The Miami Foundation
Charisse Grant, Senior Vice-President for Programs. 
P. 305-371-2711
E. cgrant@miamifoundation.org

• Office Of The City Manager
Eric Duran, Office Manager for Mayor Tomas Regalado. 
P. 305-250-5324
E. eduran@miamigov.com

• Atlantic Paving
Ray Cruz, Vice-President. 
P. 305-513-8632
E. ray@atlanticpaving.com

ArtPlace January Question

Lester's at night[Photography by Gesi Schilling]
Lester’s at night
[Photography by Gesi Schilling]

The Wynwood Arts District is currently entering the BID formation process. As part of this process, we will be entering an exciting new period in our urban development evolution. As a Business Improvement District, Wynwood will be able to develop its urban infrastructure and explore services that will ensure a safer and more pedestrian-friendly experience.

ArtPlace spoke with Jose Nava-Lujambio, Executive Administrator for the Wynwood Arts District Association, about the BID Formation Process and the risks that this initiative entails.

ARTPLACE: What is the biggest risk you’ve taken in your efforts? How did you get burned, or how did you prevail?

JOSE: Our biggest risk is not necessarily past us, but rather ahead of us. In the formation process of a Business Improvement District, the most important step, and most risky for that matter, is the formal election. It is this formal election the part of the process in which we put all our efforts and investments at risk and we can only hope that the efforts of the campaign and of this process are reflected in the final outcome of the vote. Until then, we can only work hard and hope that through our continued efforts of educating the property owners and various stakeholders in the community, our initiative will prevail.

ArtPlace December Question

Miami Bike Scene Riding in Wynwood[Photography by Gesi Schilling]
Miami Bike Scene Riding in Wynwood
[Photography by Gesi Schilling]

The Wynwood Arts District is currently entering the BID formation process. As part of this process, we will be entering an exciting new period in our urban development evolution. As a Business Improvement District, Wynwood will be able to develop its urban infrastructure and explore services that will ensure a safer and more pedestrian-friendly experience.

ArtPlace spoke with Jose Nava-Lujambio, Executive Administrator for the Wynwood Arts District Association, about the BID Formation Process and some of the challenges they’ve faced so far.

ART PLACE: What has been the thorniest issue you’ve faced to date? How have you dealt with it?

JOSE: I think there have been numerous challenges throughout the process, and we’re still not even close to being done. Our first priority has been has been to establish continuous communications and engagement between the various stakeholders involved in this initiative and with us. It was important to identify the various stakeholders in the community (both property-owners and their tenant occupiers) in order for everyone to begin communicating with each other. Our solution to this thorny issue was to create an extensive database which lists the property owners and their tenants. This provides us with a clear idea of who we need to address for the success of this initiative.

At the end of the day, what is important is that the stakeholder body establishes a direction of where they want to take this initiative and what the priorities of this project are. Whether it is the improvement of the security and cleanliness in our community, the streetscape, the development of pedestrian- and cyclist-infrastructure, the stakeholders will have to choose what the focus of the project will be, and how to allocate the funds once the BID is implemented.

The way that we have dealt with establishing this communication has been by reaching out to the body of stakeholders one-on-one, meeting with them, explaining and discussing the project, hearing their concerns, and working together with them in order to establish the most efficient and creative solutions.

In the area of education, David Collins (Wynwood BID Project Director) has been tremendously engaged and has been incredibly efficient in educating the stakeholders by hosting regular weekly meeting with the stakeholder body, circulating copies of the Grove BID Business Plan between the Members of the Steering Committee, circulating several books that explain more comprehensively the process of Business Improvement Districts, and getting ready to begin creating a Wynwood BID Business Plan.

ArtPlace November Question

The Wynwood Walls

The Wynwood Arts District is currently entering our BID formation process. As part of this process, we will be entering an exciting new period in our urban development evolution. As a Business Improvement District, Wynwood will be able to develop its urban infrastructure and explore services that will ensure a safer and more pedestrian-friendly District.

ArtPlace spoke with Jose Nava-Lujambio, Executive Administrator for the Wynwood Arts District Association, about the BID Formation Process and the importance of good relationships for the success of their initiative.

ARTPLACE: Have you gained any political traction with your efforts?  If so, with whom and how did you do it?

JOSE: Yes, we have gained political traction with our Wynwood BID initiative by reaching out and meeting with some key political individuals and their staff, including Mayor Tomas Regalado, City Manager Johnny Martinez, City Commissioner Michelle Spence Jones, and City Commissioner Marc Sarnoff, as well as other key Administrators in the City and County’s office. Our Wynwood BID Project Director, David Collins, makes it a priority to reach out and update both politicians and their staffs to make sure they understand what is going on in the moment as it happens. This continuous communication is critical in the success of the project as these politicians feel that they are part of a process of community improvement. When property owners and stakeholders self-invest in their community this is very appealing to politicians because it makes their City and County a better place. Ultimately the formation of the Business Improvement District should empower us to speak with one voice as a commercial community.

ArtPlace October Question

Wynwood at night
(Photography by Martha Cooper)

The Wynwood Arts District is currently entering our BID formation process. As part of this process, we will be entering an exciting new period in our urban development evolution. As a Business Improvement District, Wynwood will be able to develop its urban infrastructure and explore services that will ensure a safer and more pedestrian-friendly District.

ArtPlace spoke with Jose Nava-Lujambio, Executive Administrator for the Wynwood Arts District Association, about the BID Formation Process and the importance of good relationships for the success of their initiative.

ARTPLACE: Who outside your organization has been key to your ability to move your initiative forward?

JOSE: In addition to the ArtPlace grant that we received earlier this year – which has been a catalyst to move our initiative forward – I believe the artists and local stakeholders in Wynwood have played a critical role in the progress of our initiative. Although the Business Improvement District is an effort that mainly concerns the local property-owners and stakeholders in the Community, it is because of the symbiotic relationship between local developers and the artists themselves that Wynwood has been able to grow and thrive. Their collaborative efforts, particularly visible in the Wynwood Walls and murals, as well as the prominent presence of many artist studios and galleries in the District has been key to the accelerated growth and evolution of Wynwood as we know it today.

In terms of key players, Tony Goldman, Joseph Furst, and David Lombardi in particular have played a critical role in pushing the Wynwood BID initiative as they understand that the formation of a Business Improvement District in our community is the next step in the evolution of this neighborhood as it will be able to provide us the vehicle for making Wynwood a better place. Sadly, we recently lost Tony Goldman, but his vision will remain very much with us.

David Collins, who we have hired as Director and Wynwood BID formation facilitator, has also been active for the past 6 weeks in meeting with 14 local property owners in order to inform them about our initiative, and there are many more meetings to come. Additionally, David made a BID presentation to the WADA membership, which was well received.

ARTPLACE: Are there secrets to good partnerships?

JOSE: I believe that education and transparency are fundamental components to good partnerships. In addition, the involvement of local stakeholders and the inclusion of their thoughts and perspectives will allow our initiative, the Wynwood BID, to be a true interactive partnership. Ultimately, our partners will come to believe in the Wynwood BID in direct proportion to the amount of input that they have toward the actual organization and its goals.

ArtPlace September Question

The Wynwood Arts District is currently entering our BID formation process. As part of this process, we will be entering an exciting new period in our urban development evolution. As a Business Improvement District, Wynwood will be able to develop its urban infrastructure and explore services that will ensure a safer and more pedestrian-friendly District.

ArtPlace spoke with Jose Nava-Lujambio, Representative and Executive Administrator from the Wynwood Arts District Association, about the BID Formation Process.

ARTPLACE: Is there a new challenge that engaging in creative placemaking presents for you, your organization and the artists who work with you?  Are there new skills required?

JOSE: I believe that the most critical new challenge will be to develop and expand our facilitation skills in the areas of listening and then synthesizing the diverse opinions of all Wynwood stakeholders. As we enter the formation process of the Wynwood BID, we expect that all the business-owners and stakeholders in Wynwood will become very engaged and active in the process – everyone will have something to say and they will demand that their voices are heard. So far, I’ve heard all sorts of requests and suggestions of what people want to see in the District and, despite the fact that people may have different approaches, there is a general consensus of what they expect to see in Wynwood as it continues to evolve.

The idea is also that, as we develop the underlying strategy for the urban development of the neighborhood, we do so in a sustainable and communal fashion. We need to get everyone in the community involved, commissioning local artists and builders to be integrated in the further developments of the District while keeping in mind the greater and longer-term goals of this initiative.

Regarding the new skills required, well, this is a learning process for all of us and I think that we are all gaining the skills on how to cooperate and work together for the betterment and improvement of this community. Being the fact that Wynwood is an Arts District, we have to engage the local artists in this development so that we don’t lose the arts component as we become a Business Improvement District. Ultimately, the BID formation process will empower our community to speak with one clear voice.

ArtPlace August Question

The Wynwood Arts District Association is the non-profit organization that works for the well-being and improvement of the Wynwood Arts District – one of the largest and most prominent Art communities in the United States. Taking over what used to be the warehouse and manufacturing district of Miami, developers have rehabilitated neglected warehouses, shuttered factories, and other unused buildings transforming them into the numerous galleries, restaurants, artists studios, cafes, bars, and residences that are seen here today.

With the introduction of the Second Saturday Art Walk in the District and the arrival of the Art Basel fair in 2002, Wynwood has seen some unexpected growth in a relatively short period of time as it gets more and more attention by the locals as the go-to place for an alternative and more cultural nightlife in the City of Miami. The endorsement and vision of some prominent figures in the art world deciding to explore the potential of the district and setting up shop in Wynwood has also influenced the success and recognition of the District among the international art elite. More and more, we see international and acclaimed art collectors, curators, and artists, express their serious interest in our still young, but very driven community.

In December, Wynwood receives a tremendous amount of traffic and exposure as it becomes a destination of its own with both, local and international art connoisseurs. Though the influence and relevance of the arts community in Wynwood is undeniable, new businesses of all types are opening their doors in the District and encountering success here. With this in mind, Wynwood has to provide the pedestrian and infrastructural improvements needed to attract and host the traffic on its streets and sidewalks – whether it is pedestrian, bicycle, or vehicular traffic – in order to enhance the experience of the visitor.

But what exactly is the BID? How do local businesses benefit from this?

The BID (Business Improvement District) is a designated area in which the commercial property owners decide to collectively raise their own taxes by a small percentage in order to fund improvements within the district’s boundaries. In the state of Florida, communities who are seeking to become a Business Improvement District have to do so by holding a ballot election. In order to become a BID, 50% + 1 person of the property owners must vote in favor of the establishment. Upon a successful BID vote, 100% of the money which the commercial property owners assess themselves goes directly into improvements in the District.

The BID is an excellent initiative to ensure the continued growth and enhancement of our community, while at the same time helping its individual businesses thrive. As the District is better able to accommodate its visitors, it is only natural that Wynwood will continue to become a magnet of its own within the urban core of the city. As more pedestrians visit our growing district and walk our streets, more opportunities to engage in business by the local commerce arise.

ArtPlace spoke with Jose Nava-Lujambio, Representative and Executive Administrator from the Wynwood Arts District Association, about the BID Formation Process.

ARTPLACE: What do you have to do really (really) well to achieve success with your initiative?

JOSE: In order to achieve success with our initiative, I believe that the first and most critical step is education. We have to educate all the local business-owners and developers about the benefits of becoming a Business Improvement District. This sounds a lot easier in theory than in practice, since, once people realize that this means that they have to raise their own taxes, they begin questioning whether it is something that they really want or not. Whether it is something that they need and will improve their business or not. So we really have to start with some small-scale prototypes to depict what will be changing and how the infrastructure and pedestrian experience in the district will be improved and enhanced as we successfully become a BID. We have to get people excited and to start talking about this! But for this, we really need to show them the potential of what can happen and how this will benefit the entire community.

The second most important goal is for stakeholders to identify and subsequently prioritize the needs of the District that will become our road map for place making. This step is critical as it is very easy to get distracted and carried away with specific projects and details that arise from the BID initiative, and we need to keep focused in order to really fulfill our goals – always considering the bigger picture of our efforts.

ARTPLACE: How do you expect the community to change as a result of your initiative?

JOSE: Well, as I explained before, the most important element of the BID is that it will allocate a small percentage of the property taxes collected within the District’s boundaries towards all the initiatives and projects that we have in the District. This will provide us with the necessary funds to be able to execute some of the infrastructural projects that are much needed for the community to keep on growing and thriving. We need crosswalks, more lighting at night, waste receptacles, among many other things, some of which the City can help provide, but others which are completely up to us. We need more signage, we need location maps throughout the District, we need more and better security, a stronger cleaning service, and many other services and things that a successful BID formation will help us attain.

People that work and live in the District are very proud about our community, new businesses are setting up shop in the District and one of the first things that they always ask me is, ‘how can we become more involved with the community?’ This always strikes me as the biggest change that has happened as of yet, since this is something that is so rare in such a metropolitan area like the City of Miami. Wynwood really has a small-town feeling where everyone knows each other and wants to help each other out. I only hope that this sense of community and pride continues to develop as the District continues to evolve.

Who We Are / Mission Statement

The Wynwood Arts District Association has been legally operating since 2009 for the well-being and improvement of the Wynwood Arts District – one of the largest and most prominent Art communities in the United States. Taking over what used to be the warehouse and manufacturing district of Miami, developers have rehabilitated neglected warehouses, shuttered factories, and other unused buildings transforming them into the numerous galleries, restaurants, artists studios, cafes, bars, and residences that are seen here today. With the introduction of the Second Saturday Art Walk in the District and the arrival of the Art Basel fair in 2002, Wynwood has seen some unexpected growth in a relatively short period of time as it gets more and more attention by the locals as the go-to place for an alternative and more cultural nightlife in the City of Miami. The endorsement and vision of some prominent figures in the art world deciding to explore the potential of the district and setting up shop in Wynwood has also influenced the success and recognition of the District among the international art elite. More and more, we see international and acclaimed art collectors, curators, and artists, express their serious interest in our still young, but very driven community. In December, Wynwood receives a tremendous amount of traffic and exposure as it becomes a destination of its own with both, local and international art connoisseurs. Though the influence and relevance of the arts community in Wynwood is undeniable, new businesses of all types are opening their doors in the District and encountering success here. With this in mind, Wynwood has to provide the pedestrian and infrastructural improvements needed to attract and host the traffic on its streets and sidewalks – whether it is pedestrian, bicycle, or vehicular traffic – in order to enhance the experience of the visitor.

But what exactly is the BID? How do local businesses benefit from this?

The BID (Business Improvement District) is a designated area in which the commercial property owners decide to collectively raise their own taxes by a small percentage in order to fund improvements within the district’s boundaries. In the state of Florida, communities who are seeking to become a Business Improvement District have to do so by holding a ballot election. If the BID goes through, then 100% of the money which the commercial property owners assess themselves goes directly into improvements in the District. The BID is an excellent initiative to ensure the continued growth and enhancement of our community, while at the same time helping its individual businesses thrive. As the District is better able to accommodate its visitors, it is only natural that Wynwood becomes a magnet of its own within the urban core of the city. As more pedestrians visit our growing district and walk our streets, more opportunities to engage in business by the local commerce arise.