Loco Fest brings art to streets of Miami

Copper Corridor residents looking for a loco good time can head to Miami on the weekend of April 20-22 for the Ninth Annual Miami Loco Art Festival, sponsored by the Miami Arts Commission, where Sullivan Street will be closed off for a weekend of art-inspired activities.

Organizers say that Miami has become a “boomtown” of the arts and is “attempting to harness a new ‘Art West’ spirit of the traditional and the contemporary, with a broad vision of community, diverse cultures, bridging the old with the new.”

In order to show that to the wider community, Miami’s art galleries, antique shops, storefronts and studios will also participate with new art installations, and there will be music concerts, poetry and other performances on five stages.

“It’s like we have the town for the whole weekend,” event organizer Michael Twenty-three said.

The Miami Loco Arts Festival is an all-inclusive art walk of diverse cultures, ages and tastes. There will be 40 acts in multiple venues with entertainment from traditional to contemporary and folk, with a healthy dose of multi-media artwork.

The event will kick off Friday night at 6 p.m. with music and an opening ceremony and on Saturday morning at 11 a.m. the festivities begin again with a drum circle and a full day of activities, lasting long into the night.

At 6 p.m. on Saturday, there will be a Twilight Progression down Sullivan Street, leading to the festival’s second annual poetry slam, emceed by Cobre Valley Center for the Arts director Paul Tunis.

Poetry slam organizer and spoken word poet Libby Rooney said there would be seven participants in the slam this year, with poets coming from all over the state.

“Poetry slams are a lot of fun,” Rooney said. “It’s a combination of stage and poetry that’s meant to be heard and performed. It doesn’t have to rhyme or follow the traditional rules of poetry and it gives voice to people that otherwise wouldn’t be heard.”

Poetry slam contestants are given three minutes and cannot use props, although they can write down their poetry to read during their time on stage.

There will be a panel of five judges — randomly chosen from the audience — and audience members are free to let the judges know what they think of their decisions and the performances of the poets.

“Why do we have a competition in art?” Rooney posits. “Because it’s fun. People can discover poetry. It’s very dynamic.”

On Sunday, there will be “poetry under the bridge” near the park on Sullivan Street, featuring nationally known poet Joy Young.

Rooney said she “accidentally” discovered the acoustics under the bridges are good for spoken word poetry, hence the genesis of the event.

But overall, she wants people to realize Miami is a town with a lively arts community simmering under the surface.

“Miami is a cool town with arts and history and great architecture,” she said.

Sunday will also feature a pancake breakfast fundraiser at the Miami Senior Center and events will go throughout the day until 5 p.m. or until the expected crowd of 300-400 dissipates.

In addition to all the art and music, there will be food vendors on hand throughout the weekend with a variety of culinary treats for different tastes.

For more information, or to get involved, call 602-300-7575, email [email protected], or www.miamiartscommission.org.

For up-to-date information and schedules on the weekend of the event, go to the its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/miamilocoartsfestival.

Pictured: Cobre Valley Center for the Arts Director Paul Tunis (right, foreground) will reprise his role as emcee of this year’s poetry slam at the Ninth Annual Miami Loco Arts Festival, taking place the weekend of April 20-22.

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