Jammin’ at Joey’s with Myra Wexler . Installment #3

Bakehouse Art Complex Leads the Charge

Matthew Chevallard and Angela Criscione

Heading down N.W. 2nd Avenue and I can’t help but think about David Lombardi’s description of the neighborhood.

“Wynwood is an area of non-descript facades with a cherry filling,” he said.

David may have been waxing poetic, but it is so true.

Outside of Joey’s was Francisco De La Torre, IV, owner of Butter Gallery, lunching with his friend and enjoying the beautiful sunny day.

I was thrilled to see that a joint project with Women of Wynwood (WOW) and Lotus House Shelter that was launched during Art Basel was still going strong, as was evidenced by the smiling faces of Shawntina and Glendia dressed in their pink and black uniforms.

Harvey Oxenberg and Nory

I took my usual seat on Joey’s patio and was anxious to see who would be joining me to jam at The Table. Arlys Raymond, Executive Director of the Bakehouse Art Complex (BAC) came in with Lauren Wagner, Associate Director of Exhibitions and the president of their board, art dealer Harvey Oxenberg.

Harvey was oh so clear in expressing his belief in the Bakehouse and how the art co-op’s future was looking strong. In fact, BAC is contributing to Miami’s multi-cultural mystique by hosting a group of artists from NGO Art Studios in the Republic of Macedonia for a six-week residency program in April.

The Bakehouse is a not-for-profit organization that provides emerging artists with affordable studio space, exhibition galleries and professional development opportunities.

The Bakehouse came to be when the former Grove House space on Main Hwy was sold to the State of Florida and “they paved paradise and put up a parking lot.” Good bye Grove House. Hello Bakehouse. That was 24 years ago.

Three years ago Arlys Raymond came on board as Executive Director and boy has she made a difference.

Arlys Raymond, Lauren Wagner and Myra Wexler

Among her early challenges was getting proposals out for grants to paint the two 40 foot silos that are a big visual part of the former bakery space. They thought this would draw attention to their facility in a creative way. Unfortunately all of their proposals were rejected. Then, out of the blue, they were contacted by Primary Flight, the organization responsible for the world’s largest live mural installation to happen in Wynwood during Art Basel. Would they be interested in being one of the site specfic locations for a live installation?

They couldn’t believe their good fortune. NY artist, Jonathan Viloch, a/k/a Depoe, was selected and now his multi-colored grid pattern with unique drip technique adorns the silos, along with the flood lights and blue neon halo. They are a true beacon to The Wynwood Arts District.

Second Fridays are a perfect time to visit the BAC artists in their studios, and the next one is March 12.

Not to be missed is their current show in the Main Gallery, “Found Object Found Love,” by Pablo Cano, puppeteer extraordinaire.

Art historian, Armando Droulers, arrived with Miami Biennale’s Ariana Testamarck. Originally from Venezuela, Armando now lectures for The Osher Institute at UM, teaches collage and drawing at ArtCenter/South Florida, and on Tuesday evenings during March will be hosting art lectures and wine tastings at Joey’s.

Axel Stein of Sotheby’s NY stopped by to say hello. He had literally just flown in and headed right to Joey’s.

Sydney Carpel from the Greater Miami Jewish Federation was at The Table. She is heading up a new program with Jewish Community Services to pair business with people looking for jobs. There’s no fee for the recruitment.

While all of us were immersed in conversation and great food, here comes Thea our hostess at Joey’s with cameraman Lorenzo Morales who is filming a documentary project for PBS on emerging neighborhoods such as Wynwood. We were all thrilled and delighted to smile for the rolling camera.

Armando Droulers and Ariana Testamarck

Shoe designer, Matthew Chevallard and his girlfriend Angela Criscione were also there. Matthew founded Del Toro Shoes. They do a “preppy loafer” in tons of colors, with or without an embroidered logo or image. They are “a must have” in my wardrobe and apparently everyone’s in Palm Beach as well.

Also dining that day were Tina Salvesen, “The Knot Project”; Gerbi Tsesarskaia, a potter, originally from St. Petersburg, Russia; painter and mixed media artist, Patricia Schnall Gutierrez; and sculptor, Becki Boni Litman.

Our afternoon of stimulating conversation was coming to a close and I suggested we walk across the street to “Plant the Future” a gallery space with a adjoining garden that is devoted to plants like orchids, bromeliads, bonsai and more. It’s the brain child of Paloma Teppa, who is starting classes on Saturdays. The first is planting a butterfly garden with a crystallis so that you can actually watch it morph into a butterfly. Though it flies away, the butterfly will come back to the garden to feed. Visiting her space is always so awe-inspiring for me. I wanted to share this experience with my friends.

That’s it for now, but do stay tuned. Remember to stop by Joey’s, 2506 NW 2nd Avenue, the last Friday of each month between noon and 2 pm to say hi. Our next Jam is Friday, March 26th. Hope to see you there.

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