Jammin’ at Joey’s
Myra Wexler Goes Wynwood
What a glorious venue from which to observe all the fantastical creativity, in full bloom from Art Basel, than on the sidewalk outside of Joey’s/Wynwood. I sit with camera ready and tape in hand to record the observations and opinions of the people on the street. From the locals, to the “art illuminati.” Players all. It’s a Wynwood thing. No doubt about it!
The miraculous birth of a neighborhood that is not only thriving, but bustling daily with such a high energy, that it’s hard to believe I’m still in Miami, no less in a socially challenged neighborhood such as Wynwood. Leave it to Thea Kulick and the Goldmans’ vision to bring this all to life.
For starters they opened Joey’s exactly one year ago this month. Besides the fact that it has become the go-to place in the neighborhood for locals, Joey’s is bringing people from all over Dade and Broward counties to eat their simple and exquisite food at “fair” prices.
WOW, Women of Wynwood is another outstanding achievement, thanks to Thea and her core group of female activists and Wynwood business owners – including Nina Johnson, Rhonda and Dina Mitrani and Yvette Garcia. They have created a model project of providing jobs for women coming out of the Lotus House shelter as “community ambassadors, security patrols and street cleaners.” These women are easy to spot in their “au courant” uniforms of hot pink and black and yellow cArts. WOW is 100 women strong this first year and is empowering women in need by employing them. Get on board at womenofwynwood.com, become a member of this exciting new organization, and show that we “get it” here in Miami.
Having survived the early morning scene at Joey’s, I decided to venture across the street and check the new storefronts. Be prepared to be impressed. Walk into “Plant the Future” by Paloma and experience orchids and cactii as art. Paloma showcases her offerings in a true gallery setting and brings “Lady Slippers” to a whole new level. The space also features new and different “doll art” done by her sister.
Next door is ECOIST. They have a space devoted to handbags and accessories made into hand woven masterpieces with candy wrappers. From $18 for a pouch to bags over $100. Their visual display is fabulous. Patterns galore. Enjoy.
Down the street at 2620 NW 2nd Avenue is the Dina Mitrani Gallery. Dina’s gallery is devoted photography, and the current show features “Twilight,” a project by Carlos Irijalba from Spain. As part of the project, Irijalba relocated a light tower from a football camp to one of the last rainforests of Europe, between Spain and France. I was treated to the video he produced, and I was so emotionally moved. It was a real “ah ha” moment, and I left the space left feeling elated.
I continued up to 2722 NW 2 Avenue, and went into Claudia Calle’s art space. Claudia is a photographer who layers her images in a manner that results in unbelievable social commentary. The gallery has a wonderful patio space that often gives way to music performed by Claudia’s husband, Toto Gonzalez, a/k/a DJ Mr. Pauer. He is a musician/dj/designer and director of Miami’s website, fabrikalink.com.
On the way back, I couldn’t help but marvel at the Wynwood Walls and their stunning murals. Tony Goldman partnered with New York based-Deitch Projects for a “street art mural park” running along NW 2nd Avenue between 25th and 26th Streets and including work by Stelois, Faitakis, Shepard Fairey, David Ellis, Barry McGee and Jim Drain. Now back at Joey’s, and it is rocking. No reservations accepted this week of Art Basel, but that’s not a problem, as they are managing to turn tables at an impressive rate. People are willing to engage in conversation while they wait 30 to 40 minutes for a table, and in the end, all were served.
Joey’s regular David Lombardi, who just that morning was featured in the Miami Herald about his world-class arts storage facility, Museo Vault, was enjoying lunch. Then there was Susan Kelly of Kelly + Roy Gallery in Wynwood, dining with artist Patricia Claro and her sister Pauline Kelly.
During my Wynwood adventure, I had the opportunity to experience this burgeoning neighborhood with an exploratory eye and was fascinated by the growth and energy. Of course, the party atmosphere was fueled by Art Basel, but I fully expect the neighborhood’s growth to continue – and I’ll be right here at Joey’s observing, supporting and documenting the growth of Wynwood’s exciting emergence. Stay tuned. . .