Art is what initially put the Wynwood area of Miami on the map as a hip, gentrifying urban area. Now, a national organization supporting the arts wants to help take area’s revitalization to the next level.
The Wynwood Arts District Association was awarded a $140,000 grant from ArtPlace to help create a Business Improvement District in what not long ago was an industrial manufacturing area. This special taxing district would use the funds from local property and business owners to fund neighborhood improvements like security, marketing, clean-up crews and streetscape design.
The grant is one of 47 announced Tuesday by ArtPlace, an initiative funded by the Knight Foundation and other leading foundations in conjunction with the National Endowment for the Arts and seven federal agencies.
“Art has been at the core of the revival of Wynwood,” said Matt Haggman, Miami program director for the Knight Foundation. “Art gives an area a sense of place and an identity, which serves as a catalyst for economic development.”
Initially, the Wynwood grant will be used to educate property owners about the benefits of a Business Improvement District and to hire the professionals needed to create the framework for the district, which is expected to focus on only a portion of Wynwood. A district cannot be created without the approval of 51 percent of all the property owners in the designated area.
A vote could come sometime next year, said Joe Furst, a board member of the Wynwood Arts District Association and legal counsel for Goldman Properties, the main property owner in Wynwood.
“The city and the county can’t expend the funds we need to really improve the neighborhood and make it a world- class neighborhood,” Furst said. “This is the best way to develop a budget that can be relied on year after year to provide the services we know are needed in the community.”
ArtPlace is also making two other grants in Miami-Dade County:
The Light Box at Goldman Warehouse in Wynwood will receive a $385,000 grant to help fund operations of the cultural center, which includes a 150-seat theater, rehearsal space, galleries and meeting space. The grant funds will be used for technical and artistic training, new arts programs and more.
The Bass Museum of Art will receive a $220,000 grant for “TC: Temporary Contemporary,” a project that will bring contemporary artists to create temporary art installations in a 40-block district within South Beach. The project is a collaboration with the City of Miami Beach designed to extend the Art Basel excitement throughout the year.