the story of wynwood walls

Here in South Florida, art is a pretty big deal. There’s a neighborhood in Miami, known as Wynwood-Edgewater, which has transformed into MIA’s major art district. (It’s actually two neighborhoods, sometimes collectively termed as Midtown.) It’s proof positive that art and business can exist harmoniously and that art, especially public art, can change a community.

HERE COMES THE NEIGHBORHOOD, a docuseries exploring the power of public art and innovation in communities, is basing it’s pilot season around the Arts District of Wynwood. Watch the video above for a great look into how one of Wynwood’s public art spaces came to be.

To learn more about the walls, visit the Wynwood Walls website.

*Reading this in e-mail and can’t see the video? Click here.

{about this weekend…}

As you know, I cut out early last week. I booked an event, which just so happened to be a rather major conference called the Summit Series. If you’ve read the NYT, Entrepreneur, Inc, or any other major publication lately, you may have heard of them. Summit has dubbed itself as a “mutual aid society for young entrepreneurs.” The average age of attendees is 28, and they come from every industry. Venture capital, philanthropy, non-profit, media, technology, design … name it you’ve got it. What is really extraordinary about Summit is seeing all these groups work together and grow together. Let me tell you my feet have never hurt so bad {13 hours in 4 1/2 inch heels}, but I got to hear great things and meet amazing people. I thought I’d be talking about the social media folks, VC’s, and the guy who wrote The 4 Hour Work Week, but instead I want to tell you about a few of the great causes and the people behind them that left an impact on me…

  • Eva of Recurso. Ok, so truth is she was booked for the event with me, but she might as well have been an attendee. Eva founded Recurso while we were in high school, and it has grown into an organization that promotes awareness in teens and university students about world hunger, gender inequality, children’s rights, water, sanitation, and the global health disparity. Recurso also funds health and hygiene educational programs for children in a variety developing countries.
  • Ido and Lance of Yes to Carrots. Leaving the W the first night, these two caught up with Eva and I. Now, I love to brag and pitch my friends, because I’m proud of them and because I love to connect people. For most of the conference, I did just that. So, as we’re walking Ido asks about us and I launch into that answer. Lo and behold, wouldn’t you know that these guys have a fabulous paraben-free beauty line and a non-profit {the yes to seed fund which is currently sponsoring organic gardens in some LA schools and a variety of other projects you can read about here.}
  • Jason & Jedediah of Invisible Children. Many of you have heard of IC before.
    One of the best quotes from the weekend came from Jason: “The profit model of the millennial gen is the Triple Bottom Line – Planet, People and Money.” If you could see threads connecting all the attendees, you would see one huge red one that connected almost every participant, and it would represent exactly what Jason said. These guys are fun as can f-ing be, as can be demonstrated in this video.
  • Jamie of To Write Love on Her Arms. If you’ve been on facebook for the past few years, you’ve probably seen TWLOHA. I’ve read the story, but hearing him talk about how TWLOHA came to be made me cry, very quietly, in the back of the room. He and the guys from IC are quite the trio.
  • Sean of Falling Whistles. I will forever use Sean’s story, of seeing a video about waste as a child and how that impacted him from such a young age, as an example for social awareness education in early childhood education. He obviously grew up into a very aware and socially responsible man. Sean’s organization, Falling Whistles is so very compelling. I beg you to hit that link and click through the story; when you figure out where the name of the organization came from, you’ll understand.
  • Scott of CharityWater.  Both the man and the cause are obviously focused with a very intense story, in person. And while one of us thinks he might still be a cocky fucker under it all and the other thinks he’s reformed and looks like McSteamy {no, I won’t tell you who thinks what}, there is no doubt that his organization is doing great things and he has a very good understanding of the challenges to be faced.
  • Lauren of Girls Write Now. One of the hosts of the discussion on empowering women, Lauren Cerand’s organization provides guidance, support, and opportunities to New York City’s at-risk high school girls, to develop creative, independent voices and explore careers in writing. GWN was just honored with an award by Mrs. Obama. Now, if we could get this program running in more schools across the country…
  • Valentina of Kidizimo. She has a great energy {and great shoes.} During the Empowering Women discussion session, she spoke out about how girls need their dads {or a strong role-model like a dad} to set the example. This lead to a later discussion about how many boys say they are who they are because of their mothers. In general, the point is that kids need their parents to show them and tell them that they can do something. It makes it much easier for a kid if he/she has that foundation to build upon.

To sum it all up, it was a pretty awesome opportunity and we left with tons of new ideas and inspiration.

However, I noticed something. The girls that did attend, kicked ass, but I’d love to see more of them. I think it speaks to how far women still need to go. This is not some old boys club filled with old men in suits. This is the new generation of entrepreneurs, but there still was ridiculously less women than men. To emphasize my point, I was the ONLY woman sitting in on the venture capital discussion.

I remember reading a few weeks back that women don’t think big enough when it comes to business: in salary, in profit, in scale. I know that no one likes to hear that, but it’s the truth.

Photo: unknown