South Florida artists get unique opportunity for studio space, discounted rent

MIAMI – One of the nation’s oldest public housing projects is now the site of a new idea. Discounted rent and studio space will now be available for local artists, as the world’s elite artists, curators and gallerists descend on South Florida for Miami Art Week.

Addonis Parker is an ambassador of Related Urban’s Liberty Square Redevelopment Project, in partnership with Miami-Dade County. He believes “a land without art is a land without civilization,” and has brought his passion for art and art education to historic Liberty Square.

As an African American artist rooted in a public housing upbringing, Parker knows the power art has to build community.

“It’s important because you think outside the box automatically. There is a message in every stroke that you do,” said Parker.

Parker shared his idea with Albert Milo, Related Urban’s Development Group President. This prompted the first-of-its-kind program to help provide artists with discounted rent and studio space in Liberty Square.

Miami-Dade County’s Director of Public Housing and Community Development, Michael Liu, also stepped in to activate Parker’s vision.

“We know that art is going to change the quality of life of everyone who lives in the development, it should not just be for the rich,” said Milo.

The units provide artists with studio space and discounted rent, in exchange the artists will give back to the community by offering art education programming.

“Sometimes in small areas like this in Miami we are kind of choked out, especially when big shows like Art Basel are coming through here, we have to have take a stand, look we exist too,” said Parker.

Local 10′s Christina Vazquez toured a four-bedroom unit with two bathrooms and a large central space for two resident artists to work. The rent will be discounted to $150 a month.

Miami-based artist Marjaries Marmolejos, moved into the unit on Monday.

Built in 1937, Liberty Square was the nation’s first public housing project in southeastern United States. The 10-phase Liberty Square redevelopment project is currently on the cusp of starting on its fourth phase. The entire project is expected to be completed by 2026.

Project leads are renovating three units which can serve 4-6 artists. A selection committee is currently in development. If you are an artist interested in these units contact: 786-469-2255.

Parker’s related exhibition to coincide with Miami Art Week, titled “Where We Stand,” the exhibit encompasses a positive but spiritual view of the Black community’s silent protest. It will be held Wednesday night at Liberty Square Community Center at 6304 NW 14th Avenue in Miami.

It is open to the public.

The redevelopment project comes as Fountainhead Studios, a space which housed 30 studios in Little Haiti run by local arts nonprofit Fountainhead Arts, closed its doors earlier this month after nearly 15 years.

About the Author:

Christina returned to Local 10 in 2019 as a reporter after covering Hurricane Dorian for the station. She is an Edward R. Murrow Award-winning journalist and previously earned an Emmy Award while at WPLG for her investigative consumer protection segment "Call Christina."