By Sandra Schulman
MIAMI — The first luxury hotel in Wynwood is using its spacious quarters to pair up with ArtRepublic, a global curation agency specializing in bringing museum-quality works to an accessible space.
Style & Grace, the first of several planned quarterly exhibitions, opened at Arlo Wynwood in February and will run through May 13, with seven artists who explore survival, strength and creativity.
“We are a curation platform,” said ArtRepublic founder Jessica Santiago. “We help brands, collectors, and institutions connect with artists and really help with storytelling and developing the story through these artistic collaborations. When we started working with Arlo during Art Basel and activated a space that then went so well, we decided to turn it into a gallery space.”
Their intention from the beginning was to be able to have museum-quality exhibitions in a space that people would happen upon if they were staying there or visiting Wynwood. It’s a high-level artistic experience that is also accessible.
“This one is special because some of these artists, like Amani Lewis, she’s a blue-chip artist, her work sells for $100,000 for her physical works. So often those are going to be at blue-chip galleries that people wouldn’t be introduced to in this neighborhood,” Santiago says.
In addition to painters, there are ceramic artists, a film artist, a couple of digital artists, and a photographer.
“It’s a really dynamic group of Black artists,” Santiago says. “All of the works were digitized to create one video installation piece, and each artist was asked to give a sound voiceover of them sharing what style and grace meant to them.”
The show opened during Black History Month, and has been up through Women’s History Month in March. It also will be up during Earth Day in April.
“We were actually able to speak to all of those narratives within the one exhibition,” she said. “But the most important thread is the Black History Month and how style and grace specifically applies.
“All of the artists themselves have an incredible amount of grace. They’re all pivotal in their community. They all are known as having a real sense of service, so that the curation was really very deep. It touched on so many of the aspects, not even just the aesthetics of the work and the context of the work, but who the artists are themselves.”
The artists are all within the Art Republic network, and they all are mostly Miami-based artists as well. Included are Octavia Yearwood, Amani Lewis, Morel Doucet, Jade Lilly,
Indigo Suave (aka Michael Osei-Wusu) and Alexis Chivirter. Also included is Paperwater, a Miami-based avant-garde pop duo composed of Daygee Kwia and Eddy Samy, who operate out of their multimedia company Half/Full Creative.
At the show’s opening, all the art was digitized and projected on the walls.
“It’s a really great way to activate the space,” Santiago says. “We can have this great high-level context with the work, but the space will have to alternate sometimes as other meeting space is needed at the hotel. So it’s beautiful that we have that flexibility there. At the opening, all the projections were projected out on all four walls. It’s a beautifully immersive audiovisual experience. And it was so well-received. We could not have been more proud with the way that it kicked off.”
Yearwood hosted with performance art she calls Libations.
Santago says she is “so gifted at getting people to connect and share their stories, because they really spoke the context in their audios of the exhibition. The libations, then, at the live event was really more around them sharing their stories and what are some of the trials they’ve gone through, where they really showed up with silent grace in order to make it through these different challenges in their life.”
“That was really our intention, especially in Miami,” Santiago said. “The culture is just maturing and evolving so rapidly and so in Miami we wanted to be one of the first to have this really incredible context in the work at museum-level art in Wynwood where it feels so approachable.
“We’ll continue reactivating the space every month and then continuously bring people back and help them experience it firsthand, but people in the hotel, too, will be aware of the exhibition. So it’s exciting that they can get to experience that, very unexpectedly while they’re there,” she says.