New monthly Art Walk at 75th and Bird Road
What: Bird Road Art Walk
When: Third Saturday of every month from 7-10 p.m. Next month’s art walk falls on May 21.
Where: Studios and Galleries in the Bird Road Art District, mostly along Southwest 75th Avenue between Southwest 41st and 48th streets near South Miami
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By Sam Stanton
Special to The Miami Herald
Last October, galleries and studios off Southwest 75th Avenue between 41st and 48th streets near South Miami invited the public over the threshold. They designated the third Saturday of each month for the Bird Road Art Walk.
“They are discovering a new venue in Miami,” said Romero Hidalgo of Romero Hidalgo Artists’ Studios, 4241 SW 75th Ave. Hidalgo and his wife, Sonia, have been in their space for 11 years, offering a variety of classes in painting and portraiture in the old master’s style. The neighborhood has long been home to a number of artists’ work studios, and recently a few galleries have opened.
On Saturday, patrons filled the Hidalgo’s studio, quietly observing his students at work in the live model studio.
“We try to work in an unconventional way, called atelier,” said Hidalgo.
Rodolfo Chavarriaga had a variety of styles, spanning years of work on display at his namesake studio, 4229 SW 75th Ave. He had portraits of his daughters who are now in their mid-twenties, as toddlers, a new series of digital art produced with Adobe Photoshop, a study in charcoal and a series from the his college days he said he’s revisiting.
“It’s about getting up close to different parts of the body and making them really big,” said Chavarriaga.
He said he needs to add more pieces to the 1970’s collection based on magnified body parts, especially if it’s going to be displayed at the Colombian Council, where he says he hopes it will.
In the same studio, Luis Fuentes displayed his work.
“I actually use the Miami Herald a lot,” said Fuentes. “I do papier mache sculptures.”
On his iPad, he pulled up a photo of a Harley Davidson, with its tank completely covered in pieces of a 1976 newspaper. He pointed out the old greyhound and horse racing results with enthusiasm.
Fuentes described his art as a mix of street style and pop art with some cubism and some 3D pieces, like his papier mache Cuban coffee pots. In many of his works, he also incorporates recycled elements, such as newspaper.
“I do a lot of Miami themes,” he said. “Mangos, parties, a little bit of Cuban culture.”
Akuara Teatro, 4599 SW 75th Ave., celebrated its grand opening with a night artists reading their poems and short stories and playing their music. The event raised money for writer, Elena Tamargo, who’s suffering from cancer. Tamargo is a personal friend of the theater’s president, Yvonne Lopezarenal.
“It’s a new project,” Lopezarenal said about the theater, which has its roots in Los Angeles. “But today is to support Elena.”
Also new to the scene and just a few warehouses down from Akuara Teatro was Juan Abuela’s Abuela Gallery, which contained mostly his own art, an eclectic mix of what he called surreal and figurative paintings. The gallery also contained some tribal wooded sculptures by other artists and bright colorful landscapes by Cuban painter, Alberto Sanchez.
Maria Quadreny was one of many artists exhibiting her art at MANO Fine Art. The Miami Dade College professor had three paintings displayed vertically — titled “Autunez,” “Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet,” and “Librado Linares.”
Quadreny, very passionate about the figures in her work explained they were the leading dissidents in Cuba.
“Biscet was the leading figure in Cuba for human rights,” said Quadreny. “He denounced infanticide. He denounced the high rate of late term abortions. And he was just released from prison because of international pressure.”
In the background, other artists explained their works to eager guests. People drank wine and ate cheese while exploring. Mariana Altamiramo of downtown Miami painted at her exhibit, “Looking Forward.” And a budding local spoken-word troop, delivered some spirited live poetry as the night came to a close.
In addition to their Art Walk appearance, Robert Lee and his group have been hitting the Bird Road Art District with Speak Fridays and performing at the Inner Look, 4925 SW 74th Ct., Friday nights at 9 p.m