BY EVAN SNOW
While the City Of Hallandale Beach is rich in history and variety of cultures, this coastline city in Southern Broward County had not been thought of a cultural hotspot compared to it’s neighbors to the north and south over the last few decades. The city was home to the famed Palms nightclub (otherwise known as the Million Dollar Palms), which was a major stop on the Chitlin Circuit, a nationwide string of venues where it was safe for African-Americans to perform and experience live music during segregation featuring the likes of Marvin Gaye, James Brown, and Sam Cooke. But after the legendary venues of previous generations closed their doors, it took many years and new leadership to bring light, vibrancy, and color back to the city. With a new, forward thinking and energetic City Commission and Community Redevelopment Agency Director (“C.R.A.”) at the helm, the City Of Hallandale is making the arts the focal point of their redevelopment and have kicked off their new initiatives with a bang in partnership with Broward County based arts incubator Artserve.
Studies and market trends show that the arts not only help in building community, but that they also aid in attracting talented skilled workers to communities. Though in today’s current landscape where cities compete for the designation of being the most desirable place for residents to call home, having cultural activities are not only a luxury – but necessary to assist in retaining those same skilled workers that the arts and culture attracts. This is part of the reason why The City Of Hallandale Beach recently launched a yearlong program consisting of arts and culture activations that will rebrand Hallandale as a destination for unique experiences, fine cuisine, unbridled art, culture and Craftsmanship in partnership with Artserve. “Our goal is to bring culture, excitement and character to Hallandale Beach, branding the city as a beacon for emerging talents and arts innovation. Through this partnership and the arts, we’re confident that we can stimulate economic vitality and create a sense of place for residents and visitors alike.” said ArtServe Executive Director Craig W. Johnson.
On November 16th 2019 the arts were alive and on full showcase in Hallandale’s Foster Park (609 NW 6th Ave, Hallandale Beach, FL 33009) during a day full of music, murals, and family fun for everyone. Local artists Benjamin Sugarman & Claudia “CLoD” Echeverria were present with their easels and paint brushes conducting live painting demonstrations for the community to interact with, while famed local muralist Stephanie Melissa Dorsainvil added to the growing mural project transforming the parks walls. There was something for everyone during this family friendly afternoon event on a beautiful South Florida Saturday, from live music, to interactive art activations and games, all while having the opportunity to interact with the Hallandale City & C.R.A. employees on hand who are dedicated to making their community a better place to live. “Our goal is to be known as THE City of arts here in South Florida” said CRA Executive Director & Assistant City Manager Dr. Jeremy Earle. “We know we have other cities that have said that, but this is going to be the forefront of our economic development and cultural activity here in our city.”
The effects are already starting to take place and be noticed by visitors and community members alike. Anyone driving by or visiting Foster Park will quickly notice an explosion of color that’s transformed once blank walls into a beautiful public art gallery to be appreciated for free thanks to these initiatives. “This project helps grow & enhance local business owners while we work to revitalize the business corridor that Foster Road used to be,” said Vice Mayor Sabrina Javellana. “And it’s really important to beautify our neighborhood that a lot of people in this area live in, especially with it being a generational neighborhood we heard a lot of complaints that ‘this area never changes’ – though this area is going to change and you can see the effects of that now from the investments thanks to the CRA”.
Since the graffiti era turned “street art” mainstream and socially acceptable thanks to the likes of Jean Michele-Basquiat and the artists in New York City around the 1980’s-1990’s, murals have had the power to transform previously blighted neighborhoods for the better. The most prevalent example of this can be found minutes down the road in Miami’s “Wynwood” neighborhood where dilapidated warehouses filled every block in this community, until artists started coming in and painting there. This ultimately brought investment from the art collectors who would trek to the admittedly sketchy neighborhood to visit with emerging and established artists working on artworks inside of their warehouse studios, and eventually creating masterpieces on the walls outside. Fast forward just a few short years from when Wynwood was a place you wouldn’t stop your car, the same warehouses that no one wanted to rent for a few hundred dollars a month sell for upwards of FORTY MILLION DOLLARS to real estate developers desperate to have a development in what has become the street art capital of the United States (and arguably the world) in the form of the largest outdoor public art museum around. This coincided with the rise of the premier art fair in the world – Art Basel and Miami Art Week, undoubtedly contributing to the growth and redevelopment of Miami as a world class, well cultured destination that very few cities can realistically compare to. As a result of these combined forces, Miami generates a larger economic impact in one week during “Art Basel” (over $550m) than Broward County does annually ($414.6m) – directly resulting from the arts and culture.
Missed the “Arts+Music Celebration” on November 16th? Thankfully the good folks from ArtServe have a yearlong program including monthly activations designed to engage existing residents and bring new audiences to up-and-coming areas of Hallandale. With the help of its artists, ArtServe will utilize its expertise and experience to raise the profile of Hallandale Beach, redefining the city as a versatile and burgeoning community with a vibrant citizenry and a rich mix of beaches, upscale retail and dining opportunities, cultural growth and expansion. With the support and participation of volunteers, local businesses and the city, the initiative will build a foundation for enrichment, engagement and education through the arts; facilitate collaboration between artists and organizations; uplift, inspire and positively transform Hallandale’s citizenry; and successfully establish Hallandale Beach as an unparalleled destination for the arts. We hope you’ll take the time out to explore what’s happening in Hallandale, as we collectively work to give you more reasons to Choose The 954.