Great news…..Build A Bette Block’s event was a hit. Read article in the South Florida Business Journal…
FAT Village brings art to downtown Fort Lauderdale
South Florida Business Journal by Kevin Gale, Editor in Chief
Date: Monday, June 18, 2012, 12:51pm EDT
Kevin GaleEditor in Chief- South Florida Business Journal
The “Build a Better Block” street party on Saturday highlighted a redeveloping area just north of downtown Fort Lauderdale.
The party featured a lot of artists, many of whom have galleries in the area, a fitness demonstration, a mini-dog park, street theater, food trucks and temporary exhibitions.
The Flagler Village area between Andrews Avenue and the Florida East Coast Railway tracks has seen a wave of loft developments and the street party highlighted the FAT Village arts district, which has a gallery walk from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. the last Saturday of each month.
Walking through the block party on Saturday made me think of the pointsRichard Florida, author of “The Rise of the Creative Class,” has made about how creative thinking and cultural diversity (including a thriving arts scene) are key ingredients to making economies function best.
That was apparent to me during a recent visit to Asheville, N.C., which has a thriving arts scene, a youthful population and anational reputation as a cool place to live. One of the challenges in South Florida, many economic development leaders note, is keeping young people here after they graduate from college – or getting them to return if they go to college somewhere else.
While there was a mix of all ages at the street party, there was a definite youthful vibe among the attendees and artists.
Among the most successful artists in FAT Village is Alfred Phillips, whose studio is at 113 N.W. Fifth St. He has won “Art Florida” top award for his “Tourist Show” piece and was named best visual artist by the New Times in 2010.
Some of Phillips’ paintings reflect the somewhat urban gritty neighborhood that Flagler Village is morphing out of with chain link fences, alleys and railroad crossings while others are acrylic representations of models or workers.
Paul Fioretti manages to combine art made out of car parts with his South Florida Window Lift business at 445 N.W. First Ave.
One $250 piece had pieces of cranks shafts topped by eight timing belts wrapped around to form a bowl that could create a fire pit. The light from the first spills out through the links in the chain, said Fioretti, who has Indu Art Gallery.
Collaborators included the Flagler Village Civic Association, Radio-Active Records, Public Image Vintage, C&I Studios, Artist Luke Jenkins, Zahn Development, Hooper Development, Urban Matters, Helium Creative, Fort Lauderdale DDA, Fort Lauderdale Northwest Community Redevelopment Agency and the city of Fort Lauderdale.
Hooper Development has largely fueled the wave of loft construction in the neighborhood. Based on an MLS search, it looks like most of the lofts have been sold. There were six listingsranging from $179,000 to $500,000 in the neighborhood when I checked on Monday.
Just west of the tracks, work continues on the streetscape along Sistrunk Street (Northwest Sixth Avenue), which hopefully could spur the type of renaissance seen in New York City’s Harlem area. A greenway is also being constructed along Flagler Drive between Andrews Avenue and Sunrise Boulevard.