Overtown is throwing a party and everyone’s invited.
Local nonprofit Urban Philanthropies is opening a new space in the heart of the historic district called the Urban. The 53,000-square-foot public space will host a rich program of ongoing cultural events for the community. The Welcome to the Afrofuture kickoff celebration is inspired by the Afrofuturism movement and aims to not only honor the past but also visualize and inspire the future.
“Afrofuture is rooted in African cosmologies which look at the time-space continuum and imagine new spaces, tribes, and aesthetics,” event curator Gia Hamilton says. “It incorporates — but also pushes past — traditional cultural iconography to pull from nontraditional sources. When people from the diaspora engage in Afrofuturistic projects, they are committed to examining the past, investigating present-day life, and projecting new imagery into the future.”
The event is part of this year’s Soul Basel lineup, a series of exhibitions and events celebrating Overtown’s history and culture. Guests can expect plenty of Afrofuturist art, performances, and music. Hamilton has curated a mix of both local and national artists, including Rich Medina, Brandan Odums, Sokari Ekine, and King Britt. “The show is rooted in creativity, possibility, and freedom,” she says. “We will see a lot of figurative work in the show, artists trying to imagine and figure out what to do with the black body, using it as metaphor, reimagining its form, using ritual in performative ways to evoke spirit and the fourth dimension.”
Courtesy of Urban Philanthropies
Welcome to the Afrofture takes place during the busiest weekend for art in Miami. Throngs of national and international tourists will descend upon the city, but most will not venture past Miami Beach or Wynwood.
“It’s important for Miami to be inclusive of all its residents during Miami Art Week and to make art available to everyone,” Hamilton says. “We are all linked by the power of art, and what we at the Urban are offering is an intentional experience of possibility that is connected to a space that will be important to the Overtown community.”
The nonprofit’s mission is to enhance the quality of life for the residents in urban communities, specifically through community development activities. With the Urban, Overtown residents will get a new place to engage, unwind, and attend cultural happenings.
“The Urban is a space where people who live and work in the area can convene to relax, network, and align,” Urban Philanthropies assistant director Keon Williams says. “The community can expect a place with great customer service, a variety of food trucks to choose from, and signature cocktails, like the Purvis Young Paloma, that pay homage to the heroes of Overtown. There will also be creative programming in the open-air space for light recreational activities and special events.”
The four-day celebration kicks off Thursday, December 6, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and continues through Sunday, December 7, with daily activations including a mural unveiling and musical performances.