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Miami's ArtCenter/South Florida announces new home & changes name to Oolite Arts
Former Resident Artist and now Oolite Arts Board Member Adler Guerrier. Photo by Alex Markow.

MIAMI, FLA.- ArtCenter/South Florida, one of Miami’s largest support organizations for visual artists, announced today the purchase of a new property in the City of Miami that promises to expand its programming and better meet the needs of the city’s booming visual arts community.

The firm Jones|Kroloff is conducting an international search for an architect to build the new headquarters on the 50,000 square-foot property at 75 NW 72nd St., Miami. The new home, slated to open in 2022, will enable the organization to expand its artist residencies and provide local artists with a top-tier exhibition and theater space, in addition to a makerspace, and classrooms for the 200-plus annual classes already offered to artists and the surrounding community.

ArtCenter/South Florida will also change its name to Oolite Arts, to reflect both its South Florida roots and mission. A sedimentary rock composed of shells, corals and other organic material, oolite is a fundamental part of the local ecosystem, forming the literal bedrock of Miami. Like its nominative inspiration, Oolite Arts seeks to be the bedrock of Miami-Dade’s visual arts community, where artists, art lovers and neighbors unite to form a thriving and diverse cultural ecosystem.

The organization was created 35 years ago to, as stated by founder Ellie Schneiderman, “help artists help themselves.” A pioneer on Miami Beach’s Lincoln Road, Oolite Arts began to offer affordable studio space in then-vacant storefronts.

Since then, Oolite has championed the careers of hundreds of visual artists, including Teresita Fernandez, Edouard Duval-Carrie and William Cordova, among others, while advancing the knowledge of contemporary art through exhibitions, lectures and public programming.

“In the 1980s, our founder had the vision to come to a new area and become a vital part of the neighborhood and the city,” said Oolite Arts President and CEO Dennis Scholl. “With the move to Miami, Oolite Arts will be able to expand on its mission to strengthen and support the visual artists of Miami.”

With the sale of its Lincoln Road building in 2014, Oolite Arts was able to greatly increase its impact. Last year, Oolite launched The Ellies, Miami’s Visual Arts Awards. In its first year, the initiative provided $500,000 to projects that help celebrate and elevate Miami’s visual artists and arts educators.

The new home in the City of Miami will help Oolite Arts continue this expansion. In addition to The Ellies, Oolite recently began a curator speaker series in partnership with Locust Projects, “Talks,” that brings international figures such as Nato Thompson and Helen Molesworth to Miami. Oolite Arts has also recently developed its Cinematic Arts Program in partnership with the producer of the Academy Award-winning film Moonlight, and plans to expand opportunities for local filmmakers.

Oolite Arts currently offers 200-plus art classes to the community annually, from courses in painting and printmaking to ones that offer tips on making videos with cell phones. While it will maintain its home base on Lincoln Road in the interim, Oolite Arts will begin offering neighborhood programming this spring at its new home, including an award-winning video arts program for area teens.

“We want Oolite Arts to be an integral part of the surrounding neighborhood, building on the artists and artistic traditions in the neighborhood to offer unique programming to the youth and adults who live there,” said Kim Kovel, Oolite Arts’ board chair.

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