Determined to ignite a cultural and commercial revolution in the magic city, Moishe Mana and his team expand their culture-centric exhibitions and events from Wynwood to downtown Miami during art week with the broadest multi-faceted program of the season.
A rendering of the future of Mana Wynwood.
Over the past half dozen years or so, visionary impresario Moishe Mana has amassed acres of property and millions of square feet of warehouses in major American cities, including large swathes of land in Wynwood and a slew of prime properties along Flagler Street. But his mission, he says, is not so much about developing real estate as it is about promoting culture and commerce. “We are about building creative communities,” says Eugene Lemay, president of Mana Contemporary, the innovative arts organization founded by Mana in 2011, and a key member of his team.
Shiva Ahmadi, “Lotus” (2014, single-channel animation with sound).
Mana’s evolving real estate imprint began in Jersey City, N.J., where he started acquiring abandoned warehouses, which were initially used as art storage, then later developed into exhibition spaces and studios for artists. Over time he created a platform for artists, collectors, curators, museum directors and art aficionados to begin collaborating directly in these structures. Since then, Mana’s early complex of century-old brick warehouse and factory buildings has morphed into a sprawling visual arts campus known as the Mana Contemporary Art Center. At the same time, his organization has blossomed into a flourishing enterprise that not only supports culture—including art, music, photography, film and dance—with groundbreaking spaces for exhibitions, programs, lectures, archives and creative interaction, but also serves as a catalyst for trade and jobs growth in Jersey City as well as in Los Angeles, Chicago and Miami, where Mana Wynwood—a 100,000- square-foot event space and 36,000-square-foot sound stadium hall—has become an anchor for the international multicultural art scene here.
Iván Argote, “Excerpts: Don’t believe their lies” (2016).
And Mana’s footprint in Miami continues to expand. “In Wynwood, we now have more than 40 acres where we’ll house a container park of showrooms for fashion designers and high-tech businesses from Latin America and China,” says Lemay. Ultimately, Mana’s goal is to build the Mana Wynwood Americas-Asia Trade Center & International Financial Center, a 10 million-squarefoot trade center and cultural campus in an area bounded from east to west by NW Second Avenue and the I-95 interstate and from south to north by 22nd to 24th streets. Set to break ground next year, it will bring together companies and trade partners from China and Asia, Latin America, North America and the Caribbean. The first phase will include 4.68 million square feet of showrooms, retail, hotels, offices and public space distributed across 8.5 acres, in addition to 50,000 square feet of civic space, nearly 3,500 residential units, more than 8,000 parking spaces and a 2.5-acre privately owned park.
A still from Andrew Thomas Huang’s “Flesh Nest” (2017).
But that’s just one slice of the big picture in Miami. “Downtown we now own about 50 buildings, which we’ve purchased over the past five years, and in them we’ll host for the first time a series of art fairs, music events, residencies and pop-ups that will comprise the largest program during Art Basel this year,” says Lemay. Among the highlights are a performance by Björk; the 11th edition of the Pinta Miami Fair; Om This Way, a hip hop-inspired yoga activation developed by Mana Contemporary, Equinox, Darryl McDaniels from Run DMC, and Donald Webber Jr. from Hamilton: An American Musical; the Mana BSMT New Media Program, a communitybased residency dedicated to supporting the next generation of new media artists; and the Prizm Art Fair featuring the work of artists who focus on sociopolitical and cultural issues pertinent to people of African descent in Miami and beyond. “There’s nothing else like what we’re doing,” says Lemay. Indeed, and they’re just getting started. For a full lineup of Mana’s events during Art Week, visit manacontemporary.com.
“EXCERPTS” BY IVÁN ARGOTE, PHOTO COURTESY OF THE ARTIST AND PERROTIN; MNA RENDERING, PHOTO COURTESY OF MANA
CONTEMPORARY. “LOTUS” BY SHIVA AHMADI, ASIA SOCIETY, NEW YORK: GIFT OF ANNE AND JOEL EHRENKRANZ (2015.1), PHOTO COURTESY OF THE ARTIST
AND LEILA HELLER GALLERY; “ASUNTOS EFIMEROS” PHOTO BY MICKEY NEGRO