Ten years Loco for Miami Arts Festival

Event organizer Michael 23 joins in a drum circle under a bridge at the 2018 Miami Loco Arts Festival. The event will celebrate its 10th anniversary this weekend in downtown Miami. Photo by David Abbott.

This report has been edited to reflect the proper day for "Tucson Salvage," which takes place on Friday, April 12 at 8 p.m.

For a decade now, the Miami Loco Arts Festival has celebrated the arts — bringing together artists and those who appreciate art.

A “free, all-inclusive art walk,” the festival will take place on Sullivan Street in downtown Miami, from 6-11 p.m. Friday, April 12; from 11 a.m. to midnight on Saturday, April 13; and from Noon to 6 p.m. Sunday, April 14.

Throughout the weekend, the festival will showcase live music on five different stages — the Veterans Park stage, Keystone stage and the Wild Horses Bar stage as well as two stages at Miami Artworks and both Jim Coates and JP Girarde Galleries.

More than 40 acts are scheduled to perform, including local group “Heart of Arizona,” who will open things up on Friday.

From 7-9 p.m. Friday there will be a “very informal open mic,” hosted by local artist JP Girarde at his gallery at 604 W. Sullivan St. Featured artists will include Vic Void, Eric Hodgins, Fable Farren Fen, Robert Anderson and Cleopache.

The park will be family friendly with art tents for making masks, puppets and decorated eggs. Stacey Gordon, with Puppet Pie, will hold a puppet workshop, and there will be more workshops by artists Patty Sjolin, Heather Morgan and Nja Onê.

Also, on Friday, the festival will feature Tucson native and author Brian Jabas Smith and director Maggie Smith, reading from the book and screening the film “Tucson Salvage.”

It is a biographical anthology of humans living on the fringes in Tucson, adapted from Jabas Smith’s award-winning column and book “Tucson Salvage: Tales from La Frontera,” said Alexa Oliphant, with PMG-Platform Media Group, in Los Angeles.

The film and book represent “a remarkable symbiosis between the husband and wife writing and filmmaking team,” she told the Silver Belt. “It resonates for all audiences — straight and LGBTQ, privileged and destitute. It brings voice to the voiceless. It’s gritty and hopeful, scoured by the desert.”

The workshop, “365 Days Painted Word,” will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday on Sullivan Street.

365 Days is a collection of “Painted Word” art created by beat artist Renick Stevenson as a gift to his wife Laura Jane, in their first year of marriage.

Laura Jane will share Stevenson’s gift of a daily art practice.

Beginning at 1 p.m. Saturday is the festival’s third annual Poetry Under the Bridge event will take place on Cordova Avenue, between Live Oak and Sullivan Streets.

At 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Joy Young, a spoken word poet, storyteller, teacher, activist and performer, will present her workshop, “Topography of Selfhood,” a personal journey with pen and paper.

Then, at 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Young will present her editing workshop, “How to tell your story in a way that makes people listen.” Bring a finished piece to workshop for editing.

“Poetry and storytelling is the art of knowing what parts of a story draw people in and help them feel what you feel — it’s the art of editing,” Young said.

Based in Phoenix, Young has worked with youth in schools, outreach programs and community centers, encouraging and supporting young voices.

Beginning at 4 p.m. Saturday, the festival will feature Wayne Henry, a poet dedicated to bringing awareness to issues such as mental health, oppression, depression and concepts of spiritual growth.

Raised in South Central Los Angeles, Henry was exposed to a melting pot of different cultures, giving him a broad canvas for his work. He later became a passionate poet who writes each line to watch it come alive through poetry.

Beginning at 6 p.m. Saturday, will be the Twilight Procession, with poets and artists leading the procession down Sullivan Street with words and art.

“It’s a parade. It’s a poetry reading. An impromptu performance. It’s a procession of words, music and art at a handful of galleries and storefronts — in a very short jaunt through downtown Miami.”

From an “impromptu art detour” in 2012, has evolved into “a ceremony, a toast and a vision of collective art dreams.”

Then, at 8 p.m. Saturday will be the third annual Miami Loco Poetry Slam.

Beginning at 1 p.m., Sunday, April 14, Organic Poetry “returns to home base” at the festival. The “alter-native” poetry open mic will take place outdoors in the courtyard of Miami Art Works, 509 W. Sullivan St.

Participants are invited to bring old or new writings, a musical instrument, or a poem from a favorite writer. This is a time for those veterans of the mic and newbies, in a “round-robin” style showcase.

Organic Poetry is an independent showcase of poetry, music and performance. It is an “alternative” poetry open mic that welcomes all genres of poetry, music, experimental arts and embraces an all-inclusive community.

Organic Poetry will not condone hate speech nor verbal abuse language.

Everyone is invited to visit Miami’s art galleries, antique shops, storefronts and studios, which will be participating with new art installations, music concerts, poetry and stage performances.

The Miami Arts Commission (MAC), a local non-profit arts organization formed in 2008, puts on the event. 

For more information, contact MAC President Michael 23, at 602-300-7575 or via e-mail at

[email protected]

Editor’s note: Some information in this report was obtained from the Miami Loco Arts Festival’s Facebook page.


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