Little River is getting a new $30 million center for artists.
ArtCenter/South Florida, the 35-year-old organization now based on Lincoln Road, announced Monday it has purchased an acre at 75 NW 72nd St. for a new 40,000-square-foot facility for studios, classes, exhibition galleries and a theater. The organization will conduct an international search for an architect, according to president and CEO Dennis Scholl, and plans to open in 2022.
The organization also has a new name: Oolite Arts. “Just as oolite is the bedrock of Miami, we want to be the bedrock of the arts community,” said Scholl, who is also an award-winning filmmaker.
Oolite’s new home will be located in an area already home to numerous artists’ studios, including the Fountainhead Studios and Laundromat Art Space, and commercial galleries of Mindy Solomon, Nina Johnson, Pan American Art Projects and Emerson Dorsch, among others.
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The new space will be home to 22 free artists studios — the current space has 15 — and the 200-plus classes the current center offers in photography, filmmaking, painting and other disciplines. It is also working with the community at nearby St. Mary’s Cathedral to develop a youth filmmaking program. The facility and programs are being funded from proceeds from the 2014 sale of its original 800 Lincoln Road building for $88 million.
The fate of its current building, at 924 Lincoln Road, has not yet been determined, Scholl said.
The Little River center is the latest in a series of additions to the ArtCenter program. Earlier this year, it initiated a series of $500,000 in grants through a program called the Ellies, in honor of ArtCenter founder Ellie Schneiderman.
“The visual arts community has continued to grow in quality and scale. We want Miami to be a 365-day visual arts town,” said Scholl. “We’re going to do what we can do to support the artists in our community. We believe this is the natural next step.”