Digging Into the District
Karen Grimson’s title is a bit of a mouthful, but her mission is simple: make the Miami Design District the “epicenter of cultural programming.” After nine years at the Museum
of Modern Art in New York City, she is now the district’s curator of the Craig Robins Collection and director of cultural programming. “That comes with a huge sense of responsibility, but simultaneously a lot of creative freedom,” she says. Aventura chatted with Grimson to discuss her vision for the district and more.
AVM: How would you describe the impact of public art?
Grimson: There’s no way I could describe the sphere of influence in which it adds; its impact is immeasurable. Its function is never decorative. Public art is never there just to be a pretty background in the form of murals or billboards or sculptural installations, which we have a lot of. Public art will engage passersby in an unexpected way; it’ll stop them in their tracks.
How do you want to move the district forward?
There’s this strong history of engagement with contemporary artists that Craig [Robins] has been championing in Miami for so many years, and that’s a legacy I want to continue. It’s a crucial foundation for the work that I do, to keep that engagement with the creative community going and to grow it.
What can the public expect?
They can expect a plurality of artistic voices in the public sphere coming from the work that we do with Craig’s personal collection. We work with a lot of designers and emerging artists to make that become a reality, so a lot of works that are in Craig’s collection will find a version of themselves as a public installation in the district.
Art for All
Even before stepping inside The Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami (MOCA), passersby already get a taste of art thanks to Art in the Plaza, a year-old program that presents temporary outdoor art installations. For the first time, the museum has selected two participating artists from a public call for proposals. From July 29 to October 7, locals can check out works by Autumn Casey, followed by VantaBlack (aka Chire Regans) from October 14 to January 20.
It’s this accessibility to art that drew Adeze Wilford to MOCA. She’s the museum’s new in-house curator, having relocated to South Florida after serving as assistant curator at The Shed in New York City. “When you can bring art to the public and into your public spaces and have it be something that people can see as they’re driving down the street…it’s really a special thing to be able to do,” she says.
Wilford looks forward to not only digging into the museum’s archives to discover how its history can help guide its future, but also working with visiting curators to craft exhibitions. “Having more than one voice at the table is something that is necessary for institutions to really have varied perspectives,” she says.