Award-winning architecture firm Barozzi Veiga will design new Miami home for Oolite Arts

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Award-winning architecture firm Barozzi Veiga will design new Miami home for Oolite Arts
Aerial of Oolite Arts new property.

MIAMI BEACH, FLA.- Oolite Arts, the leading resource for Miami-based visual artists, has selected the Barcelona-based firm Barozzi Veiga to create a new home for the organization in the City of Miami.

Barozzi Veiga, recently chosen to create the Art Institute of Chicago’s new masterplan, will design the new campus slated to open in 2022.

“Miami’s visual arts community has grown exponentially over the past decade, and Oolite Arts has transformed its programming to help Miami-based artists grow,” said Dennis Scholl, president and CEO of Oolite Arts. “Our new home will enable us to better meet the needs of both visual artists and the community.”

Now in its 36th year, Oolite Arts helps Miami-based artists advance their careers, by providing visual artists with free studio space, exhibition opportunities and the financial support they need to experiment and grow. The sale of its Miami Beach building in 2014 provided Oolite Arts with the resources to greatly increase its impact. The organization now connects artists with an international network of curators and artists, including the organization’s first Master Artist in Residence Mel Chin. Oolite also provides studio visits with curators such as Helen Molesworth, Paul Schimmel and Trevor Schoonmaker in partnership with Miami’s Locust Projects, and has provided $1 million in direct support to artists over the past two years through The Ellies, Miami’s Visual Arts Awards.

This month, Oolite Arts inaugurated a new travel residency program, which enables Miami-based artists to attend some of the top residencies across the country, including Anderson Ranch Center for the Arts, Atlantic Center for the Arts, Yaddo and the Rauschenberg Foundation.

Oolite Arts’ new home, at 75 NW 72nd St., will have several key characteristics. It will seek to be community-focused and welcoming to not just art patrons, but the neighborhood where it is located, and the broader Miami community. The campus hopes to inspire innovation and invite collaborations, between both artists and the community, and it will include an accessible public space.

The new home also will include studio space for Oolite’s artist residency program, a top-tier exhibition space, a theater for lectures and film screenings, a makerspace and classrooms for the 350-plus art classes offered annually by professional artists to the community. Plans for the building will be created and shared later this year.

Formed originally as ArtCenter/South Florida, Oolite Arts changed its name last year to reflect both its 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.

In addition to the master plan in Chicago, Barozzi Veiga is known for designing many projects, including the Szczecin Philharmonic Hall in Poland, which in 2015 won them the European Prize for Contemporary Architecture-Mies van Der Rohe Award, and for the Fine Arts Museum MCBA in Lausanne, Switzerland that opened last fall. Charles Benson will serve as the local architect.

Aided by the firm Jones|Kroloff, a selection committee conducted the search for the architects. The committee comprised Oolite Arts board members Alessandro Ferretti, Kim Kovel, Jeff Krinsky and Maricarmen Martinez.

“There is a quiet dignity in their work, in the way the designs embrace the art within the buildings while also making them very much a part of the neighborhood,” said Ferretti, chair of the selection committee.

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