The Wallflower Gallery, open for 13 years, is a space for original artistic performances, open mic poetry and film. After some tough months, the gallery is being forced to close and locals are in shock that the landmark is in danger of closing permanently.
On Third Street in downtown Miami, the Wallflower Gallery is hidden behind a mural and inconspicuous door. Perhaps you never lived to see the sixties, but once you open the mural door and ascend the stairways you have made it back to that era. The mood, the style, the philosophy, the art and the lounge spaces all date the spirit of this venue. Open mindedness, acceptance and art seeps through all the walls while all-original artistic performances, open-mic poetry, film and music are regulars on stage. They have been for the past 13 years.
What many people are not aware of is the fact that the Wallflower Gallery is being evicted and their building demolished.
The past five years have not been easy for millions of Americans, and many small businesses have taken large hits with the wary economy. Though this struggle is now on the minds of all politicians and citizens, this is a constant, traditional fight for the arts. After 9 months of unpaid rent and a landlord ready to sell the building, the Wallflower Gallery has been given no choice but to relocate.
““We are not a shoe store, we can’t just pack up shoes and move,” says Flash, the current owner of the Wallflower, “ We have an original mood and an established culture. How can you relocate that?”. Flash, a University of Miami Alumnus, is desperately trying to save the essence and existence of the Wallflower Gallery. Watching him for one day is exhausting, as he works most aspects of the Wallflower; he takes care of booking, stage set up, sound production, clean up… all with the perseverance to keep the monetarily deprived venue.
The Wallflower Gallery is now hosting weekly organizational meetings on Mondays at 7pm to troubleshoot the next step for the gallery. Efforts include bake sales at the Vagabond, writing for grants to relocation offers in Ft. Lauderdale. Though the general consensus in the room is that the Wallflower needs to stay in Miami.
Behind his sunglasses, leaning against the venue’s art gallery wall, Flash just stood silently for a while and nodded his head to say “(the Wallflower) has a tie with young people…. And why I want to stay in downtown Miami is for the accessibility of public transportation and to offer a venue where young people can show their art and experience what others are doing”.
There are many ways that people can get involved, from just spreading the word, to helping with the campaign to fundraising; the Wallflower could use some watering and sunlight (and of course, the cash!).
The experience of the gallery is hard to duplicate, and you can always expect eclectic, philosophical, honest work being exhibited. Karma Sutra Yoga Performances, sitar-playing, storytelling, local filmmaking all thrive here and may no longer have the welcoming home if the Wallflower shrivels.
And the two-dollar coffee isn’t such a bad deal either. To help or get involved in the new venue transition, log onto thewallflowergalley.com