North Miami - NMB

Artistic expression has a new home

749 Artist Studios and Gallery, where artist collaborate with individual works of art. Street artist Chytea Walton painted the building’s mural.
749 Artist Studios and Gallery, where artist collaborate with individual works of art. Street artist Chytea Walton painted the building’s mural. EL NUEVO HERALD

Cuban artist Manolo Iraola is the owner of a new building dedicated to art in Miami: 749 Art Studios and Gallery, located on the corner of Northwest 7th Avenue and 49th Street. The work spaces are easily identified by a mural, which was painted by renown, local graffiti artist Chytea.

The studio was founded with three main purposes: First, to provide work spaces at affordable prices in which artists could create, regardless of what their medium. Secondly, to provide areas in which artists could exhibit their work permanently, individually or alongside other artists in a group setting.

“Reasonably priced studios and galleries for artists to display their work are scarce in Miami,” Iraola said. “And I think what we’re offering is unique in our city, not only because of the price but because of the quality of the spaces, which promote creativity.”

The third objective is perhaps even more important than the other two; to contribute to the transformation of our communities.

“This last objective is something that all 749 artists believe in and its absolutely necessary to do so in order to be a part of 749,” he said. “Our artists are committed [to] contributing to the transformation of our community and that’s why we’re developing a series of interactive activities for children.”

The building is subdivided into eight individual studios; each one with its own work zone, but at the same time its creators can exhibit their pieces in designated areas labeled ‘gallery.’

The resumes, education and experience of those who participate in this venture are rich and diverse. At the present time, seven artists from five different Latin American countries are occupying studio space inside the building. Artists specializing in Mixed Media art include Iraola (Cuba); Martin Carbajal (Argentina); Jose Pacheco (Colombia) and Juanca Aravic (Colombia). Cuban artist Rosa Naday Garnendia does installations and mixed media. Cesar Barroso from Brazil is a photographer and Suzanne Crossland from Peru specializes in graphic art.

“The development and transformation of Wynwood has been spectacular, but the prices are already out of the reach of many. I have to emphasize that artists need reasonably priced studios and these can’t be found in Wynwood anymore,” said Iraola, who considers the area on Seventh Avenue as a possible extension of Wynwood in the near future. “The Seventh Avenue is a very important avenue and people there are already breathing in the breezes of change in the air, despite the short time that we’ve been established.”

According to the painter and artistic promoter, the ethnic diversity of this region has been a catalyst for Miami’s artistic development and, thanks to those cultural differences, an ambiance of high level creativity has been formed. That’s something that can’t be said for many other United States cities.

“We have a little bit of everything: Latin America, Europe and the United States. That’s where the future of our city lies in every sense of the word.”

Iraola adds that art, differently from religion and politics, unites us all.

“This process is irreversible and is already a reality — starting with Art Basel, our museums PAMM, Bass, North Miami and others. This will keep growing and that’s why we need places like 749, which reflect the diversity, education, experiences and styles found in South Florida.”

According to Jose Pacheco Silva, who worked for 10 years as a graphic designer at el Nuevo Herald, Iraola had the vision to create a space inside of an abandoned building in a “hot” area of Miami and turn it into artist work spaces.

“We have a space at the entrance which resembles a gallery, that’s where we showcase the work of the resident artists as well as that of guest artists. The next exhibit will take place in December during Art Basel and will include two guest artists, who will display their work alongside ours.”

Pacheco’s technique consists of editing black and white photographs and laying them on wood. “The procedure is monochromatic with accentuated details using primary colors, blue and red, as well as orange hues. I try to create visual poetry and transmitting the sad beauty on the accelerated death of the land.”

Talent in Miami has spread throughout the entire city. With the exception of museums, there are no specific places to find artistic groups.

“Artists, and of course, art centers, begin to move as ‘development’ displaces minority groups,” Pacheco said. “The creators, to survive, must adapt to those changes. Art moves in accordance the economic conditions and available spaces.”

If you go

▪ What: Dark Views/ Luminous Sights, resident artists exhibits

▪ Where: 749 Art Studios, 4901 NW 7th Ave.,

▪ When: Friday, Dec. 4, 6:30-10:30 p.m.