Miami nonprofit hopes to raise $100,000 for public graffiti project

Fifth-graders from Miami Country Day School work on miniature murals during a field trip to Wynwood earlier this year.
Fifth-graders from Miami Country Day School work on miniature murals during a field trip to Wynwood earlier this year.

Josh Stutt wants to see Miami’s most prominent neighborhoods filled with graffiti.

Stutt has seen the local art scene flourish during the past few years, and he’s always wanted to support the city’s graffiti artists.

Near the end of last year, he had a thought: What if there’s a legal way to cover billboards in street art? He envisioned billboards near I-95, I-395, Biscayne Boulevard and downtown Brickell.

He wasn’t sure how to make his idea a reality. He jokes that he doesn’t have the talent to draw a stick figure, and he lacks the financial means to pay for billboards himself.

Stutt started to research the concept online. He found information about Art Everywhere, a British campaign that displayed art on posters and billboards countrywide. In 2010, Locust Projects launched the Billboard Project, which helped put art on billboards and bus shelters throughout Miami.

In January, the 37-year-old marketing strategist launched a nonprofit and called it AdBombing (“bombing” is slang for graffiti). Stutt, who works full time and considers AdBombing a passion project, hopes to fund the project through crowd-funding.

Next month, he’ll launch an online campaign and use social media websites — including Reddit, Facebook and Twitter — to spread the word. The fundraising goal is set at $100,000, and Stutt realizes that it might sound idealistic. According to popular crowdfunding site Kickstarter, most successful projects raise less than $10,000.

But based on the community feedback he’s received so far, he is confident that people support the concept.

If the fundraising is successful, the organization will select three artists through community input and a selection committee, and the artists will each be compensated and given a 14-by-48-foot billboard to paint.

Miami-Dade cultural affairs director Michael Spring said the project might allow another medium for artists.

“There are artists that work in galleries, and there are artists that work on the sides of buildings,” he said. “Billboards are fair game.”

Spring referenced the graffiti walls in Wynwood as an example of the success of street art in Miami.

“This concept of using highly public, outdoor spaces to showcase artists’ work is something that’s tried and true,” he said. “This seems like a perfectly natural evolution to me and a perfectly good vehicle for artists to express themselves.”

Ideally, Stutt said, the billboards will be posted in October and run through December, coinciding with the Miami area’s Art Basel art week, which attracted more than 75,000 people last year.

“When the art world descends on Miami and they’re driving from the airport, I want them to see this art up there,” he said. “Hopefully, it’ll allow some of those artists to get their name out there in the art world.”

Marilyn Rondon, a 27-year-old artist who lives in Little River, found out about AdBombing through a friend.

“I heard about this project and I was like, ‘Oh, that’s really rad,’ ” she said. “It’s a really cool way to get someone’s work for everyone to see.”

Rondon said she’s grateful for neighborhoods like Miami’s Wynwood, which encourages artists to express themselves on buildings, but she thinks this project will help spread creativity all over the city.

“There’s so much there that doesn’t really travel out,” she said. “Hopefully, people catch on to this.”

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