The Arsht Center (@arshtcenter) and Kindred Arts (@Kindred_Arts) are collaborating to bring sculptures by Hank Willis Thomas to two public outdoor spaces in Miami’s urban core. Beginning in December 2019, Thomas’ iconic “All Power to All People” will be on view, simultaneously, to the public at the Arsht Center’s outdoor Thomson Plaza and in neighboring historic Overtown.
The project, which will include a series of community gatherings, cultural conversations, readings and other public celebrations of the arts, is presented by the two institutions with the intent of engaging the community through art and activations that affirm and promote cross-cultural conversations.
On display through March, the two installations will be within one mile of each other, creating an artistic connection between the Arsht Center and Overtown, one of Miami’s oldest neighborhoods, that all Miami-Dade County residents can explore. A 25-foot version of “All Power to All People” will be on display in Overtown at a space donated by award-winning chef Marcus Samuelsson adjacent to his forthcoming Red Rooster restaurant, 920 NW 2nd Ave. An 8-foot “All Power to All People,” generously loaned by the Opa-Locka Community Development Corporation, will be installed at the same time at the Arsht Center. The 25-foot sculpture will move to the Arsht Center’s Thomson Plaza in February.
For the Arsht Center, “All Power to All People” is a meaningful continuation of its public art program, which dates back to the Center’s design phase in the 1990s when public art was baked into the plans for the building and currently exists throughout the campus. Since opening in 2006, the Center has continued its visual arts program, exhibiting new works from Miami-based Cuban artist José Bedia (2019) and commissioning a 30-foot mural of a ballerina by Brazilian artist Eduardo Kobra currently on the Center’s Carnival Tower (2018). The Arsht Center welcomes more than 300,000 visitors each year and will soon welcome its 5 millionth guest. As one of Miami’s oldest communities, nearby Overtown has a long history as a center of African-American cultural life. Once known as the “Broadway of the South,” Overtown was a mecca for popular nightclubs and legendary performers such as Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie and Josephine Baker. Overtown is currently home to Soul Basel, the restored Lyric Theater, The Black Archives research center, Miami’s oldest and grandest churches as well as eateries and boutiques that reflect the area’s rich culture.
“The arts have the power to generate emotion, inspire conversation and promote understanding. By making these two magnificent pieces accessible to all and creating celebrations around the artwork, we hope to play an important role in connecting this community to the arts – and to each other,” said Johann Zietsman, president and CEO of the Arsht Center.
Kindred Arts, the Arsht Center and Diaspora Vibe Cultural Arts Incubator will curate a series of events around both pieces, creating opportunities for public enjoyment and thoughtful conversation around the arts, social justice and, most importantly, the sharing of all kinds of power by all people. Events will include a Soul Basel Community Cookout and Unveiling at Overtown (920 NW 2nd Street) and a Party on the Thomson Plaza at the Arsht Center, both on December 3. To RSVP for the event, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Details about additional community events and new collaborative partners will be announced soon.
Hank Willis Thomas is a conceptual artist working primarily with themes related to perspective, identity, commodity, media, and popular culture. He is best known for creating timely, thought-provoking installations utilizing the human form, including a recently unveiled 22-foot sculpture adjacent to the Brooklyn Bridge.
“We’re thrilled to bring this important installation to Overtown,” said Kindred Arts Director Marsha Reid. “At the heart of our project, as with all of our programming, is the goal of exploring the significance of public sites and their function in enriching communities and engaging the community with activations that affirm cultural citizenship.”
“Red Rooster Overtown is excited to be a part this dynamic collaboration,” Rooster partner Derek Fleming stated. “Art is a core component of Red Rooster culture. We’re proud to be a part of this historic community and we will continue to bring groundbreaking art to the Overtown experience.