We must address the core issues, not just the symptoms.
All good change comes from the bottom up, not the top down.
Four key elements are necessary for monumental positive outcomes: Hope, Connectedness, Opportunity, and Enlightenment.
These are the tenets which inform and drive our new programmatic strategies.
To accomplish this, Life Is Art is seeking significant growth funding.
To learn more, contact CEO and Founding Director James Echols using the form to the right.
Please, help us save the world.
The full Strategic Operational Plan is coming, all 60+ pages of it. Until then, find below a short summary of our planned programs.
If you would like to download this as a PDF, please click here.
VISION: Prosperity Through Creativity
MISSION STATEMENT: Promoting vibrant, connected Miami-Dade communities through arts advocacy, education and collaboration
A Brief Overview
Founded in January 2009, Life Is Art, Inc. is a South Florida based 501(c)3 not-for-profit dedicated to building a stronger society through cultural infrastructure. We have 3 primary areas of operation: Education, Presentation, and Facilitation.
Our approach to consensus-building and community has allowed artists to hone their craft, learn the nuances of earning a living as an artist and build bridges between disparate communities which might not normally find common ground. To date, Life Is Art has organized over one-hundred events, exhibitions, lectures, networkers, fairs, festivals and other arts-oriented happenings, all in collaboration with other entities.
“Art/Work” EDUCATION Department
* Conferences * Seminars * Workshops * Salons
Through entrepreneurial education, the goal of the Art/Work programs is to provide all people, artists and art lovers, with the knowledge and tools necessary to create robust art commerce. This is achieved through a variety of educational formats, including workshops, seminars, salons, roundtables, visitations and interactive experiences. The educational programming culminates in an annual international art conference.
“River Of Art” – PRESENTATION Department
* Festivals * Fairs * Exhibitions * Performances
The River Of Art exhibition programs are designed to engage the community by bringing people and art together. These programs are anchored by two major annual events, a community music festival and an international art fair, which are fed by monthly local shows across the county. An important economic engine for participants, event locations for the monthly shows are selected with the goal of dispersing opportunity throughout Miami-Dade to bridge the cultural accessibility gap and provide greater exposure for the arts while providing favorable circumstances for local artists and businesses to engage potential patrons.
“Culture Builds Communities” – FACILITATION Department
* Advocacy * Collaboration * Housing * Development
The Culture Builds Communities programs are designed with the goal of enhancing opportunities to leverage artistic work for the benefit of the community and the artists. These programs include working with other entities, municipalities, non-profits and businesses, to help them bring art to enhance their own projects. One of the largest projects in this department is the creation of artistic centers across the county, community cultural hubs with affordable living, creative and exhibition space for artists where residents and visitors can enjoy the arts and businesses can thrive.
For many more testimonials, click here.
“River Of Art” – Presentation Overview
The River Of Art programs serve to bring people together in strategic venues to foster appreciation for the arts while providing opportunities for local artists and businesses to engage potential patrons. An important economic engine for participants, the event locations are selected with the goal of dispersing opportunity throughout Miami-Dade—in much the same way the Miami River flows through the region.
Miami Featured International Art Fair – shining the light on south Florida arts
- This event is designed to be the missing bridge of that chasm between the local emerging artists and the international arts scene.
- A major contemporary art fair that includes art from all over the world, but also provides opportunities for south Florida based artists to participate through scholarships.
- It also hosts the finalists from the River Of Art shows.
River Of Art Socials – bringing people and art together
- Using artistic works as a back-drop, social networkers engage a broad set of business professionals, innovators, entrepreneurs, change-makers and civic organizers through pop-up exhibitions in locations around the County.
- These social exhibitions provide opportunities for local artists to display their works, introduce new people to local art appreciation and showcase community organizations and businesses.
- The shows are anchored by visual art, but may include music or performance, as well.
Soul Of Miami Festival – signature music and community festival
- With artistic, community-engagement and educational programming, this major outdoor festival features all that is awesome in South Florida, everything conducive to a healthy, happy and prosperous culturally-rich environment.
- Anchored by headlining music acts, featuring the best of local music and highlighting talented emerging artists, this show is designed to blow up the live music scene in south Florida, while providing space for changemakers and community-builders to promote their missions.
- It also hosts the finals of the Soul Of [City] Shows.
Soul Of [City] Shows – community stories through music
- Through music showcases, this program highlights local communities and uplifts artists by employing hometown experiences as cultural well-springs.
- The Soul Of [insert City name] Show is a series of competitive events across the County at which emerging music artists from the local areas submit original works that reference their life in their respective community.
- The local qualifying showcases culminate with a final major annual event to bridge the cultural accessibility gap between the communities and provide greater exposure for the artists.
“Art/Work” – Education Overview
Through entrepreneurial education, the goal of the Art/Work programs is to provide all people with the knowledge and tools necessary to create robust art commerce. This is achieved through a variety of educational formats, including workshops, seminars, salons, roundtables, visitations and interactive experiences.
Art/Work Conference – major annual international arts conference
- This large-scale event is designed to bring together all aspects of the art community from all over the world to learn, share and discuss best practices and trends in the art world.
The conference is a weekend of educational breakout sessions, keynote speeches, plenaries and socials.
- Renowned international leaders and local experts are tapped to deliver presentations for three segments of the art community: Artists, Arts Administrators and Art Enthusiests.
- The Conference is intended to not only educate attendees, but also advance Miami’s reputation as a serious, thriving arts metro to both international and local observers.
Art/Work Connections – business power for artists
- These seminars create a support network for artists by bringing them together with experienced business leaders, arts professionals and educators who share their knowledge regarding the entrepreneurial aspects of art as a business.
- As emerging artists become knowledgeable in such topics as contract negotiation, copyright law, financial planning, marketing and art sales, Miami becomes known for its art/work infrastructure that supports a sustainable art ecosystem.
- Seminars are held at galleries and other art spaces to provide host-partners with exposure and allow gallerists and artists to connect.
Art/Work Collections – art appreciation for emerging collectors
- The Collections series works in a social capacity to bring emerging art enthusiasts together with experienced collectors, curators and artists to educate and grow the local base of collectors.
- These sessions take a variety of formats, including visitations to experienced collectors’ homes to gain insights into their collecting and social discussions at galleries to learn from established curators or artists about their backgrounds and motivations.
Art/Work Conversations – critical discussions about art
- Conversations bring a much-needed critical, but not elitist approach to art and creates a platform upon which deeper discussions of art and, specifically, local art can take place.
- Held as roundtables, panels or salons, each session has a specific topic.
- Topics can include a current exhibition, a specific artist, an individual piece of artwork, even a trend or a movement within the art community.
- One goal of each session is to create and publish a white paper regarding the topic.
“Culture Builds Communities” – Facilitation. Infrastructure. Advocacy Overview
The Culture Builds Communities programs are designed around facilitation, infrastructure and advocacy. The goal of these programs is to enhance opportunities to leverage artistic work for the benefit of the community and the artists. Advocacy is directed at supporting the artists and assuring their best interests are served.
Imaginarium Artistic Hubs – building the foundation of the arts
This program has three primary goals:
1) Provide cost-effective live/work space for local artists through philanthropic scholarships.
2) Create a cultural hub, bringing traffic to the area, through exciting and interesting programming.
3) Provide opportunity for neighborhood businesses to open up in the area through partnerships and education.
- Designed as cultural and economic hubs, the Imaginariums include cost supported live/work space for artists, exciting cultural programming to drive traffic to the area, business education through partnerships with local colleges, and capital services through partnerships with local banks.
- Each Imaginarium has the dual purpose of providing much-needed services for artists to build their practice, and providing opportunity for local residents to build their businesses.
- These cultural hubs include cost-supported artist apartment/studios, a shared exhibition/performance space, and a communal garden/meditation space.
- Each Imaginarium is crafted in collaboration with the local neighborhood, working in tandem with municipalities and community leaders.
- Key to the success of this program is maintaining the land used for the complexes to remain in the public interest, operated by Life Is Art, providing continuity and sustainability for generations to come.
- By providing artists with affordable spaces to live and create art, as well as providing residents with a dedicated area within their community to enjoy the arts, all sectors of the region benefit.
- The live/work spaces for artists are kept affordable by scholarships that Life Is Art provides through philanthropic funding.
- A prime consideration for locations is the opportunity to be economic drivers, bringing in businesses to the surrounding area like restaurants, boutiques, lounges and other creative economy entrepreneurs.
- To facilitate this economic growth, the Imaginariums provide business seminars for local residents, in collaboration with a local college or university.
- Our goal is to have at least six running across Miami-Dade County within five years.
Facilitation Projects – helping others help others to help themselves.
- The keystone to this program is working with other entities to enhance the quality of their programs and projects through art while maintaining quality benefits for the artists.
- Primary partners are municipalities, other not-for-profit organizations and for-profit companies.
- These entities often wish to incorporate art into their projects, but do not have the knowledge or experience to do so with meaningful outcomes.
- Artists have creative vision and ability, but often lack the knowledge or experience to put their creative genius to work.
- Life Is Art bridges this gap by serving as facilitator managing communication, dialogue and resources.
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Adriana Oliva, theAOinsight
Adrienne Arsht Center
Aiza’s Divas and Gurus
Alex de Carvalho, Visual Storytelling Institute
Allen F. Bennett, Bennet Intellectual Property
Allure Rejuvenation & Antil Aging
Andy Toonz Studios
Art & Business Council Miami
Art Deco Weekend
Art Studio Miami
Association for Women in Communications South Florida
Badges of Courage
Bahama Breeze Kendall
Bakehouse Art Complex
Bass Museum of Art
Bleu Moon Resto-Lounge
Blo – Blow Dry Bar – Midtown
Blu Moon Studio
Blue Nectar Tequila
Broward New Times
Bubble Wrap Miami
Buffettes Shoe Shine
Burger & Beer Joint
Cafeina Wynwood Lounger
CANDO Arts Co-op
Carrabba’s Italian Grill
Celebrate Diversity Miami
Cibo Wine Bar
City of Hialeah
Cocktail Collection at Tobacco Road
Conscious Acts of Kindness
Creativas Branding | Public Relations
Culture in the City
Day Music Died
Dine Design and Explore Art
Discounts for a Cause
DOC IT! Detect Ovarian Cancer in Time
Downtown Development Authority
Downtowner Saloon & Steak
Dreyfus Ashby & Co.
Du20 Holistic Oasis
Dwntwn Art Days
Eat Your Poem
Dr. Ronald & Deacon Mary Echols
Edward Oberle Lopez
El Cristo Restaurant
El Dorado Demerara Rum
el Jimador Tequila
El Nuevo Herald
Eleazar Delgado Studio
Fab C. Productions
Galleria Ft. Lauderdale
Geronimo Schmidt, Friends With Benefits
Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau
Haute in the City
Health Council of South Florida
Health Council of South Florida, Inc.
Heart for Humanity
Henry Stone Music
Indie Film Club
Jeremy Roth, Liebler, Gonzalez & Portuando
Joy Taylor Studios
Julia K. Wakefield
Kenneth Drew Carrington
La Boca House
La Mexicana Cantina
Leah Arts District
LeKoKe Wine & Bites
Life Extension Foundation
Louis Balbirer – Kaufman Rossin & Co.
Love Intelligence Group
MANO Fine Art
Maria de los Angeles
Mrs. Mary Echols
Mary Siaz, Insuring Sources, Inc.
Maura Shiffman, Health Council of South Florida
Mayor Carlos Gimenez
Mayor Tomas Regalado
Miami Art Space
Miami Beach 411
Miami Beach Festival of the Arts
Miami Center for Architecture and Design
Miami Community Redevelopment Agency
Miami Dade County
Miami International Art Fair
Miami International University of Art and Design
Miami New Times
Miami Parking Authority
Miami Rescue Mission
Miami Shirt Company
Miami Social Marketing
Miami-Dade Department of Cultural Affairs
Monica Reyes, Alexandra Kontos, and Lisa Ehrenreich, RKE Law Group
More Than Art Group
Paul S. Vicary, Esq.
Pridelines Youth Services
Real Estate Sales Force
Red Dot Art Fair
Reed V. Horth, Robin Rile Fine Art
Robin Rile Fine Art
Rodez Art Gallery courtesy of George Rodez
Sandra Garcia, Creative Healthcare Marketing
Sean Dugan, Hayes Company
Sex and the Beach
Sex Drive Energy Drink
Shops at Boca Center
Shore Club Red Room
Social Media Club South Florida
Soho Studios Miami
Spectrum Art Fair
Switchboard Of Miami
Tamarind Thai Restaurant
Tongue & Cheek
Tony Major Events
Unite 4: Good
Urban Tour Host
Van Dyke Upstairs
VeeV Acai Spirit
Venture Law Project
Virginia Key GrassRoots Festival of Music, Art & Dance
Vitamin C Events
William Pena Wells
Wokstar Eleanor Hoh
World Of Beer Midtown
Wynwood Warehouse Project
Zak Mann, National Planning Corporation