The City of Hialeah on Sunday staged a street festival to open its first art district in hopes of one day drawing as many artists and visitors as Miami’s world-famous Wynwood Art District.
“Four months ago, this area was designated as an artistic area for artists to live and work here,” Hialeah Mayor Carlos Hernandez said shortly after the start of the festival along the 1500 block of East 10th Avenue. “The idea is attracting artists to our city.”
Hundreds flocked to the area, gawking and taking pictures and selfies in front of giant graffiti murals drawn by more than a dozen urban artists. Among them was a young woman known as Kazilla. At the start of the festival that opened the district known as Leah, Kazilla was at the top of a ladder putting the finishing touches to the wing and tail of a giant flamingo in pink, black, white and magenta.
"My work represents the fauna and springs of Florida,” said Kazilla.
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Other graffiti “muralists” included Atomik, Abstrk, Derick G., Diana Contreras, Don Rimx, Ernesto Maranje, Junk Lainez, Mr. Dheo, NM Salgar and Trek 6.
Many visitors said they had decided to attend the Leah festival Sunday to experience something new, outside South Beach or Wynwood.
“We came to see something new,” said Tania Bravo, who was at the festival with her sister Natasha, both residents of Miami. “Something different outside Wynwood.”
Apart from the large graffiti murals covering the walls of warehouses and stores in the area, the festival included food trucks selling hot dogs, hamburgers and other food, as well as juices, soft drinks and beer. The longest queues were in front of the truck offering cold beer.
“This is the culmination of work done since 2006 when we started the first art exhibition in the city of Hialeah,” said art curator Gustavo Orta.
Orta said the Leah art district “is like Wynwood” where all artists can exhibit their works.
Wynwood is gold standard because the hip neighborhood draws not only artists and gallerists but also celebrities and fashion models and designers.
Follow Alfonso Chardy on Twitter: @AlfonsoChardy