Every now and again I find myself longing to adventure, a getaway from the Miami madness. Some weekends I get on the road, sometimes on the A1A, and I head North with no particular destination in mind. These day trips have become my favorite way of exploring South Florida.
Word is that the Downtown Hollywood historic arts and entertainment district is transforming into a vibrant live music hot spot. This year, the City of Hollywood also initiated the Downtown Hollywood Mural Project to curate contemporary outdoor murals by some of our favorite local artist, including Luis Pinto and Jessy Nite, at key locations in Downtown Hollywood.
And so, my last day trip which had started off as a quest for bargain antiques, became a street art treasure hunt in Downtown Hollywood…
Around the time Rod Deal took us behind LEBO’s studio, the artist was also getting ready to launch the Downtown Hollywood Mural Project. David “Lebo” Le Batard created Be-Bop Into Outer Space for the inaugural Downtown Hollywood Mural Project mural. The multi-dimensional mural spans 124 feet is inspired by geometric abstraction, color harmony and 1950s jazz. The mural is located on the future site of Young Circle Commons, a multi-story mixed use development.
Below are a couple of snaps from our visit and another via the of the artist in action:
The third outdoor installation of the project was by our girl Jessy Nite who transformed the blank white building façade at 1901 Harrison Street into a 18-by-22-foot mural across the corner building’s second story (above New Age Cycles). The mural features groups of kaleidoscoping diamonds in 20 pastel shades, punctuated by black diagonal stripes.
“I want people to be able to walk by it and experience it, and carry it with them throughout their day.”
Amduat, a 45 x 15-foot mural by contemporary artist Luis Pinto aka StrangeWays. Inspired by the geometric abstractions found in Egyptian art, Pinto’s vision for 1843 Harrison Street is site-specific for the sprawling, horizontal wall. Amduat, which translates to “that which is in the afterworld,” references an ancient Egyptian text about the sun god traveling through the underworld and will feature large rectilinear shapes in the form of a coyly slithering snake.
“My inspiration for the mural was brought on by the vision of a snake,” said Pinto. “That was the first image that popped in my mind when I was approached with the words ‘building’ and ‘mural,’ especially given the shape of the property itself. I hope this piece will be well received because it’s so playful and has a lot of fun characteristics.”
Eddie Mendieta is working on the current mural project, Over Look, on the west wall of 2014 Harrison Street, future site of Gallery 2014. The stark outline of the children’s faces on the buffed wall is experiential, conveying both innocence and hope laced with ideals for a promising future.
“Art is what you make of it. It’s all about how you personally relate to a piece and what you take from it”
The Hollywood Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) has been funding a program that pairs accomplished contemporary artists with property owners to commission murals. The Hollywood CRA’s mural program is designed to boost and encourage the Downtown Hollywood Live Music Initiative.
Mayor Bober’s live music initiative was launched in February of this year with the debut of ArtsPark Live! a year-round free concert series featuring a variety of high-quality acts every Friday and Saturday night at the state-of-the-art outdoor amphitheater. The ArtsPark at Young Circle features 10 acres of lush green space, broad paved promenades for strolling or jogging, and an interactive feature fountain designed by internationally acclaimed public artist Ritsuko Taho of Japan.
Every 3rd Saturday of the month, visit the art galleries and businesses showcasing local, regional and international artwork during the ArtWalk. Day tripping? Also visit Arts and Culture Center of Hollywood featuring ongoing contemporary gallery exhibitions and live stage performances.
This summer, the operators of Cinema Paradiso in Fort Lauderdale will be opening a new independent film house on Harrison Street. Developers are also planning Hollywood Circle, a multi-story apartment, hotel and retail building on Young Circle.