As seen in the Miami New Times
MINHAE SHIM ROTH | FEBRUARY 27, 2018 | 9:02AM
If your only experience with art in Miami has been at Art Basel and other exclusive art fairs in town, you might imagine that being an artist in the Magic City is glamorous. In reality, for most, it’s really hard work. Many artists aren't able to support themselves with their work because their community lacks the resources to help budding creatives develop a sustainable practice. Elisa Medrano and Nicole Martinez have set out to change that fact through their monthly event series, Creator’s Lounge, which takes place at the Cambridge Innovation Center (CIC) every last Tuesday of the month.
“Artists should think of themselves as innovators and entrepreneurs... The birth of Creator’s Lounge was a mission to make local creators and makers aware of the resources around them... and [give them] practical business skills to thrive and survive and respond to the market,” says Medrano, who also works as a senior relationship partner at the CIC.
She and Martinez launched Creator’s Lounge in January with an event centered on defining one’s artistic practice. Tonight, the series will host its second panel and networking event, the Art of the Hustle: Streamlining Your Creative Flow. Interdisciplinary artist and performer Monica Lopez de Victoria of TM Sisters, artist and educator Lauren Shapiro of Bakehouse Art Complex, and entrepreneur and artist/activist Solange Sarria of SodadaSalon will participate in the discussion. A third event, Content Creation: How to Sell the "Big Picture" of Your Creative Work, is scheduled for March 27.
Martinez has worked in the arts since 2011, including as an arts and culture writer for New Times. She says the Miami community needs to support its artists so they don’t feel forced to flee to other places with more creative infrastructure. Martinez is also an editor at Orangenius, a New York City-based arts and entrepreneurship organization that's in partnership with Creator’s Lounge.
“Artists get to a certain point in their career and they feel they can’t mature, so they leave [Miami]. We need to do better for the community, in which collaboration is encouraged,” Martinez says. “Creator’s Lounge is meant to be a space for resources and collaboration... It’s located at the intersection of Overtown, Wynwood, and downtown Miami. Miami has this very nascent culture brewing [with] art, technology, and business. People want to grow this city and don’t want to leave it.”
Having debuted only last month, Creator’s Lounge is still developing. In addition to hosting the panel and networking at the event tomorrow, Creator’s Lounge is working to organize 15-minute “office hours-style” consultations during future events for creatives to connect with professionals who can help with taxes, pricing, contracts, branding, and other business fundamentals.
Creator’s Lounge is also accepting proposals for art, murals, and installations for the interiors of the CIC. Medrano and Martinez are excited to hear from all kinds of creators. “Share your work with us. We want to know who you are. We want to see everything everyone is working on. Help us grow as a network. Send us your stuff. Send us your questions,” Martinez says.
Ultimately, Creator’s Lounge wants to help creative people thrive in Miami by filling in the gaps in the community and sharing valuable, practical resources free of charge.
“[We want artists to] come here and have access to resources in a comfortable space, learn from peers, and tap into what’s happening in technology and the intersections with art and entrepreneurship. We don’t see that fully happening in Miami. Lots of events end up being parties where people don’t learn or take home any valuable information or contacts,” Medrano says. “We want to make sure we create a fun space that’s also collegiate, where you can learn, ask questions, bring portfolios and contracts, and we can get you connected... We want to build and harness the community, and we really want you to succeed.”
Creator’s Lounge: The Art of the Hustle: Streamlining Your Creative Flow.6 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, February 27, at CIC Miami, 1951 NW Seventh Ave., Suite 600, Miami; 305-503-7751; cictr.com. Admission is free. RSVP ateventbrite.com.
Creator's Lounge: Content Creation: How to Sell the "Big Picture" of Your Creative Work. 6 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 27, at CIC Miami, 1951 NW Seventh Ave., Suite 600, Miami; 305-503-7751; cictr.com. Admission is free. RSVP at eventbrite.com.