There are few local events that vigorously endorse Miami’s reputation as a “melting pot”. True, in a city as diverse as Miami, it would be hard to find ten people of the same background in one room, but, as locals know, the notion that the city’s variegated populace comes together every day — or ever — to sing Kumbaya and share family recipes is more than a little naive.
Still, it does happen. Sweatstock 2011, for example, drew droves of locals to Little Haiti to listen to an array of local bands. The turnout cut across various demographics, including ethnicity and age, as you can see in our photos of the all-day music fest. While the music and the food and the free beer all contributed to the event’s success, the experience of eating, drinking, and getting rowdy with friends and strangers from across Miami’s vast cityscape made it one of my favorite days of this year.
Other events that come to mind along these lines include the inaugural Big Night in Little Haiti, put on by the Rhythm Foundation, and Miami Critical Mass, which, on the last Friday of every month, draws hundreds (and hundreds) of cyclists for a group ride through the city streets.
Our Sketchy Party Friday night was another such event. Held at Wynwood’s Bakehouse Art Complex, the party brought together more than 1,000 people from within the Miami mélange for the simplest of reasons: to draw each other. It was the second party we’ve thrown since we launched Sketchy Miami two months ago. In that short time, more than 120 local artists have created 350+ portraits (or “Sketchys”) based on the beautiful faces of fellow Miamians.
As with Sketchy Miami itself, Sketchy Party #2 was a testament to the prodigious creativity and generosity of Miami people. The Bakehouse welcomed us and 1,000 of our closest friends into its home, and many BAC artists sketched guests nonstop for the length of the five-hour party. There were also the non-BAC artists who lined the complex’s bustling corridors and met everyone who sat down across from them with a smile and a sketch pad — or, in one case, a wood-burning kit (see photo below).
Artist Kalesie Saravia, who has submitted 12 portraits to sketchymiami.com so far (!), getting ready to burn faces onto blocks of wood at Sketchy Party #2. (Photo by Adrian Machense)
Of course, portraiture takes two. The turnout Friday night was amazing, more than double our first Sketchy Party at Lester’s cafe back on June 30. A former industrial bakery, the BAC is an enormous warren of artist studios, and still elbow room was scarce.
Beyond numbers, though, the party showed Miami in all of its diversity, which, cliché or not, is the best part about living here. On this point, I will let the photos below do most of the talking, but let this suffice: One of the non-BAC artists was a 15-year-old girl who came with her parents. Another was a 90-year-old Brazilian man who wanted to get involved with Sketchy Miami but doesn’t know how to use a computer. The vast majority of the crowd fell between 20 and 40 years old, and probably poured into Vagabond or Grand Central after the BAC closed down at midnight.
In Miami, getting that kind of crowd together after dark is a rare thing, and, in my opinion, it’s a beautiful thing. Many people are asking when the next Sketchy Party is. We don’t know that yet, but rest assured there are plenty more to come. Until then, keep sketching.
Megan Harmon, one of the many volunteers who helped us ride the whirlwind Friday night. Megan assisted in our raffle of original art work and prints by BAC artists, a $200+ color pencil set from Pearl Art Supplies, a dope Sweat Records prize pack, and other goodies.
This couple won a painting by BAC artist Olivier Casse called “Girl with the yellow ring”. In all, nine BAC artists contributed original artwork and prints to the raffle free of charge. To see all the work, check out “Sketchy Bakehouse Artists”, “Sketchy Bakehouse Artists II”, and “Mike Rivamonte’s Robots”.
Although entry and sitting for a portrait were both FREE, we were selling Sketchy Packages for $10 at the party. The package included a raffle ticket, Joey’s glorious pizza, beer à la keg courtesy of Vintage Liquor & Wine Bar, a set of collectible Sketchy Miami postcards beautifully printed by Reprographic Services, and an O Cinema discount card. The above photo was taken at the Sketchy table.
This is Pat Oblak from Pearl South Miami, which provided all the art supplies for the party and gave a raffle prize. Pearl rules. So does Pat.
NBC Miami reporter Adriana Larios (center), on the scene to do a piece on Sketchy Miami and the party, encounters Beached Miami reporter Geoff Campbell. We will have our own Sketchy Party #2 video out later this week. (See Geoff’s past videos HERE.)
15-year-old artist Ana Maria Gonzalez, one of the party’s most prolific Sketchists (check out Ana Maria’s Sketchys)
Macedonian native and BAC artist Irena Gapkovska (far right) sketching two colorful characters (check out Irena’s Sketchys)
BAC artist Marcelo Daldoce (second from left) posing with a few of his portrait subjects. Daldoce also gave an original work to the Sketchy Party raffle and has submitted several Sketchys to sketchymiami.com.
These last two photos were taken by BAC artist Felix Alfonso Estrada. Even though Sketchy Miami does not necessarily lend itself to photographers, Felix found a way to take part by doing photo portraits in his studio all night long. You can see Felix’s full Sketchy Party #2 photo album on Facebook.
We have many more of our own photos from Sketchy Party #2 on Facebook. Check them out, and feel free to tag yourself and your friends. To keep up with all things Sketchy Miami, you can like the Sketchy Miami Facebook page and follow @sketchymiami on Twitter.
Thanks again to everyone who came out Friday night, and a special thanks to everyone who helped out.
All photos by Robby Campbell, unless noted otherwise.