While Miami has become world-renown for its art and music scene, few of the city’s most disadvantaged children get to experience these worlds firsthand. But a few lucky local kids recently got to experience a day of art and music at the Overtown Youth Center with the help of a world famous DJ and a local artist.
Martin Garrix, a 17-year-old DJ prodigy hailing from Amsterdam, stopped by the center to help teach the kids the basics of DJing. During his visit, he shared with the kids the process he uses to help create some of his tracks, which are based in electronic dance music. After the lesson, he started a small party where he invited the kids to dance around to his music.
While Garrix is young, especially by traditional DJ standards, he’s gained a large following and recently had a single on the Billboard Hot 100. He also attracted the attention of Scooter Braun, who also happens to manage Justin Bieber and now manages the DJ.
With an extensive tour schedule that has included stops in major festivals, including Miami’s Ultra Music Festival and California’s Coachella Festival, he said he wanted to take a break to not only show the kids the skills he has learned but also help brighten the kids’ days.
“For me it wasn’t just about teaching kids how to DJ. Having a great time with them was much more important for me that day. And I think we succeeded.”
Also joining the Dutch DJ was local artist Alexander Mijares, who help guide the kids through an arts workshop. The artist worked with the kids as they created paintings of their own. He also created a work that he will be selling with all proceeds going to the center. The work was inspired by Garrix’s song Animals.
This isn’t the first time Mijares has been involved with the Overtown Youth Center. Late last year, he created a mural for the center’s gymnasium in partnership with the Louis Vuitton Volunteers Project where children who regularly visit the center assisted him in painting.
While the children seemed to enjoy the workshops, they seemed most excited with their parting gift: pairs of Beats by Dre headphones. The headphones have become incredibly popular but their expensive price tag (the pairs the kids received retail for about $250) make them a status symbol that is out of reach to many. The kids at the center were ecstatic with the ones they received, as evidenced by deafening screams of glee.
For Mijares, he says the day was more about giving the kids a day that helps them cope with the harsh realities many of them experience.
“Many of these kids have it rough, and I thought that this would give them a chance to express themselves and create an escape from reality. I think Martin and I succeeded as there were nothing but ear to ear smiles all day.”