Alyce Robertson sat people-watching at Canvas Miami, a preview of Art Days 2015, a festival that runs Friday through Sunday throughout downtown Miami.
Robertson, executive director of Miami’s Downtown Development Authority, said the preview offered a glimpse of this year’s fourth Art Days, organized by the DDA and different artists and art institutions.
On her right, Robertson saw families and young couples mingling while decorating white T-shirts. The band GSP Quintet filled the venue Sept. 2 with jazzy tunes as people had drinks.
“Sometimes art is described as a town’s best-kept secret,” Robertson said. “Art Days was organized to reveal to residents and visitors of the different art projects happening around them that they may not have known of.”
Art Days organizers produced the Canvas cocktail party to promote what is to come this weekend.
Robertson said Art Days will feature more than 60 events, performances, installations and art exhibits scattered throughout Miami’s downtown.
“Each year, Art Days grows in complexity and interest, in the sense we’re more eclectic in the mediums of art we’re presenting,” she said.
This year, the DDA and city officials will shut parts of Northeast Third Avenue in downtown to stage music performances and events.
Artist-led tours will be offered this weekend. Artist T. Wheeler Castillo of South Miami worked with five other artists to organize tours.
Castillo said he was in charge of finding the artists and having them script their own programs.
“These tours are meant to be esoteric because they’re being led by artists,” Castillo said.
He will lead a tour, centered around listening to art, Friday afternoon at the Pérez Art Museum Miami.
“We have a special arrangement with the PAMM where those with me will be wearing special hydro-phones to listen to the museum park’s bay,” said Castillo.
At the Sept. 2 event, a couple from Spain sat at a picnic table with their 2-year-old daughter, Ines Villegas. Sitting on her parents’ laps, she drew on a blank T-shirt with her left hand, her right arm in a cast.
“She likes painting a lot,” said father Javier Villegas, who heard about the event through a friend.
Villegas said his family will attend a performance by Dario Martin, a pianist who is part of Art Days’ “Salute to my Native Cuba and our Spanish Roots.”
Lazaro Rodriguez and Cory Sasloglou, founders of the art blog Channel Chisp News, said they plan to shoot photos and record videos of Art Days in support of local artists.
“We have a lot of friends who are artists, so we really want to help them gain an audience and help others learn about what’s out there,” Sasloglou said.
During Art Days, PAMM employees worked with people from the Patricia and Phillip Frost Science Museum, set to open in its new location downtown next year, will host family friendly events, “Art Meets Science” and “Science Meets Art.”
One event, “The Art of Robots,” will allow kids at the PAMM to explore the engineering behind robots. Youngsters will be able to follow a class led by experts from Frost Science, PAMM and Starbot, a technology education not-for-profit organization based in Miami.
Other planned events include food tasting at the Adrienne Arsht Center, numerous pub crawls, film screenings of Miami-made movies, and a WRLN tour in which visitors can record stories about how the arts have impacted their lives. Some of the stories will be played during an hourlong program to air on 91.3-FM WLRN the day after Thanksgiving.
Robertson said an Arts Day highlight will be a steamroller relief printing session, in which art etched into a block will be inked and printed on-site.
“I’ve never seen something like that be done before,” Robertson said.
An up-to-date events schedule is available online, by downloading the Art Days 2015 smartphone app or by going to the Miami Center for Architecture and Design (MCAD) during the event, where Art Days staff will be on hand to customize routes for attendees to travel to each venue.
“We want all ages of people to discover that downtown isn’t the downtown they remember,” Robertson said.
For a list of Art Days events and locations visit www.dwntwnarts.com.