It’s been a year of cancellations for big cultural events around the world, including Art Basel on Miami Beach, but the third annual Fort Lauderdale Art & Design Week begins Saturday. Yes, it is still on.
The week is modeled around hybrid events — more virtual events and safety guidelines for the in-person gatherings.
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Evan Snow co-founded #Choose954, a Broward County-centric social marketing platform. It’s one of the groups putting on this year’s art and design week.
“At a time like now, I think we need the arts more than ever,” Snow said. “It’s giving us something positive to look forward to, specifically in greater Fort Lauderdale, in Broward County, where we don’t have so many signature annual events, especially for artists and creatives.”
That’s a driving theme for Snow as he regularly works to set up arts initiatives: that the arts in Broward are catching up to the rest of South Florida in recognition.
“We’ve just found ourselves being somewhat in the shadows of Miami, somewhat the stepchild to Palm Beach, and I never really have seen anybody as a private citizen step up to the plate to really invest the time, the money, the resources to move the needle forward,” Snow said. “They don’t hopefully have to leave Fort Lauderdale and Broward County to be able to pursue their passions as an artist and a creative. You should be creative in Broward County, in Fort Lauderdale, but without these platforms for discovery, to have these artists be highlighted, receive press coverage and all the other things that generally you find in major established metropolitan markets — we never really had that when I was growing up.”
That’s a sentiment that muralist Lori Pratico shares.
“The very first thing people ask you is, do you have a mural in Wynwood? It’s their very first question. And, you know, you could have 20 murals in Fort Lauderdale. And it just doesn’t seem to matter unless you have a mural in Miami,” Pratico said. “So Fort Lauderdale Art and Design Week — to have an actual week dedicated that has Fort Lauderdale in the name — for art and design is just you know, I just really love seeing it grow and seeing it become bigger and bigger and more important in the arts community.”
This year’s Fort Lauderdale Art & Design Week is hosting fewer in-person events and more virtual engagements. There will still be an Art Discourse speaker series. But there won’t be an ‘Art Fair On The Water’ until next year.
One of the events going on in person is a five-mile bike ride around Downtown Fort Lauderdale and the Flagler Village neighborhood to visit murals.
Pratico, also an artist-in-residence at ArtServe and founder of the nonprofit mural project Girl Noticed, has a mural along the tour. It reads: “Your ego is not your amigo.”
“I actually have five pieces of art hanging in a gallery show right now that nobody can go go see,” Pratico said. “Where these murals, you know, being out in the public and being safe to still have your work out there and be seen and get your message out there.”
Snow thinks of the saying in her mural as an arts consumer. He said it’s stayed with him.
“It’s really something that I think if people take the opportunity to kind of slow down and think about it for a little bit, we’re in obviously a very egotistic world. And there’s so many different influences with social media and Instagram and all these things… and through this little reminder, through a mural and public art, you know, hopefully it could bring somebody day with the beautiful colors and vibrancy,” he said. “But it could also maybe give them a little bit of inspiring message to maybe stay on that course that they’re on, stay true to themselves.”
Snow is leading the bike tour on Sunday, Jan. 17. It’s free at 11 a.m. and leaves from 410 NW Flagler Ave. You just need to RSVP and it’s BYOB: Bring your own bike.
There is also an architectural tour of the city on bicycles. That will take place Saturday, Jan. 23.
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