Arts & Entertainment

Miami’s “Bill Cunningham” documents city’s cultural roots

By Lorenzo Castro E.

Miami (USA), Nov 23 (EFE).- Art curator Barry Fellman has documented the “creative movement” that has emerged in Miami over the last decade, during which the “diverse and ever-changing” South Florida city, as he said in an interview with EFE, has become one of the cultural capitals of the world.

“Over the last 10 to 15 years there has been an explosion of new energy in the city,” said Fellman, who is always present with a camera at the most significant local cultural events and who many call the “Bill Cunningham” of Miami, a reference to the famous trend-spotting photographer for The New York Times.

“Miami Creative, a Decade of Transformation” published by Letter16 Press brings together more than 200 photographs taken by Fellman in the last ten years and is a record of the “incredible period of time when Miami really transformed” and developed “deep roots in the arts and culture,” the curator said.

In the book “there’s a sense that art and culture that provide us with a magical elixir that allows us to experience something together and really break down our differences,” said Fellman, a 30-year veteran and director of the Center for Visual Communication, a 3,000 square-meter gallery in Wynwood, Miami’s arts district.

Fellman, who always carries a non-professional camera with him wherever he goes, has recorded the radical transformation of the local neighborhood, which was once a run-down and dangerous industrial zone and today is home to up-market buildings and designer stores, as well as other areas that have shaped the new cosmopolitan face of this city, where “some of the most interesting artists of the moment” have gone.

“Miami gives you possibilities, Miami is a place where your imagination can run wild, and Miami is a place where if you have an idea and if you are tenacious enough Miami will listen,” said Fellman, who was responsible for the photography exhibitions at the Miami Art Center, which today is the Perez Art Museum Miami (PAMM).

He also highlighted the “significant investments” in the sector made by institutions such as The Knight Foundation, as well as the work of “a dedicated group of local artists and educators.”


Fellman’s collection of art, photographs and art installations not only reflect his “true love” for this city, where he was born, but certify that he has identified its “particular flavor,” as Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniela Levine Cava told EFE, who hailed the photographer’s “imprint” on the growing local art community.

“We definitely need more Barrys in our community, someone who appreciates art across cultures, languages and media,” the mayor said.

The qualities and spirit of the Florida city are present in the exhibition “The Miami Creative Movement”, curated by Fellman and which will open for Miami Art Week, a series of international fairs and events that will take place starting Nov. 29 with Art Basel as the centerpiece.

“One of the ideas behind the book and the show is to reflect on the power of our culture to create community, to bring us joy and create connections when we go through the same experiences; that art provokes and really has the power to connect us to a place,” Fellman said.


The fifteen artists who are part of the collective are exhibiting works created in the last two years, that is, during the Covid-19 pandemic.

If there is one trait that unifies them, it is, in addition to their traditional media, mostly oils or acrylics on canvas, that they use vivid colors, which reflect in their own way Miami’s natural and urban landscape.

“Light, sound, movement, air, wind, breeze, all the elements of our natural and urban landscape are part of the paintings in the show,” said Fellman, who sought a balance between the spirit of Miami and the “stillness” and confinement forced by the pandemic with the selection of artists.

“Fluidity is everything,” said American artist Kathleen Staples, who is exhibiting two works.

Staples says color is very important and likes to “layer to create depth and mystery.”

Puerto Rican Carlos Betancourt exhibits “Landscape Reimagined”, a collage in which he deals with the syncretism of the Caribbean and Miami, a city he says is like “living in a fantasy world.”

Related Articles

Back to top button