Buskerfest Founders win Public Space Challenge Grant for CULTRA
Wanting to continually bring performers to outdoor spaces throughout Miami, the founders of Buskerfest Miami along with frequent collaborators Emerge Miami have won a Public Space Challenge Grant from the Miami Foundation for their event CULTRA.
The idea behind CULTRA is to showcase Miami’s homegrown talents at three downtown Miami parks – Museum Park, Bayfront Park and Dan Paul Park on Parcel B. That’s where performances by local musicians, acrobats, theatrical groups and comedians will take over the green space.
One of Buskerfest Miami’s founders, Amy San Pedro, spoke about CULTRA winning the Public Space Challenge Grant and what audiences can expect to see at the parks:
How did you feel about being awarded the Public Space Challenge grant?
We were thrilled! The competition was very stiff and we value the Miami Foundation’s belief in the project and our ability to make it special.
What inspired the idea and when did you decide to enter?
Emerge Miami and Buskerfest Miami have collaborated on events and projects for a number of years. To date, it has mostly been in the form of sharing resources such as volunteers and promotional outreach. We felt that both group’s skill sets could be combined for a uniquely Miami event that would celebrate public spaces, Miami artists and drive focus and conversation around the preservation of our downtown parks. We’ve seen our public coastline gobbled up by private interests in recent years and we strongly believe that what’s left should remain public property to be enjoyed by all.
What do you hope your CULTRA event will bring to the Miami community?
An opportunity for established and emerging artists to perform for the community. Awareness of the challenges in preserving our public parks and how they might be augmented through a connecting baywalk. We also hope to collaborate with long-standing open mics like Artistic Vibes, Words and Wine, The Imperial and SpeakFridays. With their help and expertise, these events can have exponential impact beyond our existing networks.
Can you share any details as to when these will take place exactly?
They will occur once a month, regularly (i.e. second Thursdays, third Wednesdays TBD) from January to May. We expect to schedule two of the open mics in Museum Park, two in Parcel B — or Dan Paul Park as we like to call it — and one in Bayfront Park. Each event will include 90 minutes of open mic followed by a feature act.
How did you choose those three parks in particular and can you explain the play on the name CULTRA?
The parks were chosen because of their proximity to each other. There has been a lot of discussion around constructing a continuous baywalk from Museum Park to Bayfront Park and we think that would be a great addition to the area. By having the open mic travel in linear fashion between the parks, we hope to highlight the eventual benefit of a connecting walkway between them for the folks who attend.
The name “CULTRA” is a pretty obvious parody of another well-known music event that takes place in Bayfront Park [Ultra]. We have nothing against EDM, but we would like to demonstrate that Miami’s performers are much more diverse than most people think. We are still working on a tagline — “like Ultra, but with culture” seems appropriate for now.
Do you consider this an extension/expansion of your already existing and successful Buskerfest Miami?
This is a new program which expands on the groundwork laid by our annual Street Performance Festival. Everything we do is intended to elevate local artistry and to see that artistry performed in public spaces. CULTRA is a natural progression from our other programs.
Any hint as to which local artists you may be lining up for CULTRA? Are they performers from Buskerfest Miami or will these be new performers?
We don’t want to give everything away! There will be familiar names as well as new faces. The main point we want establish is that CULTRA is for everyone and anyone who is brave enough to get up on stage and show us what they can do. One thing we can share is that each edition will focus (although not exclusively) on a different discipline like music, comedy, theater, poetry, etc. That way, each time will be unique in its own special way.