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Gifford Lane Art Stroll celebrates sweet sixteen

Children and dogs were welcome at the Gifford Lane Art Stroll.
Children and dogs were welcome at the Gifford Lane Art Stroll.
© 2014 George Leposky

The Gifford Lane Art Stroll, an annual Miami event that claims to be the world’s smallest art festival, celebrated its 16th birthday on March 1, 2014.

An Afternoon in the Art Stroll, by Rafael Gutierrez.
© 2014 George Leposky

It attracted a large crowd on a warm, sunny Sunday afternoon. Children and dogs – living things generally unwelcome at larger art shows – were much in evidence.

Gifford Lane is a three-block street tucked into the verdant greenery of Miami’s Coconut Grove neighborhood. Each year, residents of the block between Oak Avenue and Day Street spend months planning and organizing the Art Stroll.

As in the past, no admission was charged. Instead, the organizers sell refreshments (including David and Trina Collins’ world-famous inebriating cucumber punch) and allocate a portion of artists’ proceeds to benefit two local charities: the St. Stephen’s AIDS Ministry and the St. Alban's Day Care Center in the Village West.

“I can remember that first year, the little band of six artists who put together the Stroll were so proud to give a total of $100 to the charities,” says Trina Collins, an artist who founded the Art Stroll. “Now we have given away tens and tens of thousands of dollars.”

A multitude of media

Sixty-three artists participated in the 2014 Art Stroll, displaying a mix of clay, fiber, glass, jewelry, mixed media, painting/drawing, photography, sculpture, and wood, plus a couple of other categories that defy description. A few brought their own pop-up booths, but most displayed their work on clotheslines, fences, ladders, and tree branches, and in front yards.

Members of the Coconut Grove Juggling Exchange offered free lessons. For young children, a bounce house at one end of the block provided entertainment.

Throughout the afternoon, music by Bike Culture Rising and perennial participant The Solar Dogs (back for a fifth year) entertained the crowd without drowning out conversation.

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