For nearly thirty years, ArtServe has helped the South Florida art community thrive with events and programs like their annual RedEye event being held July 16. The event is held at ArtServe in Fort Lauderdale from 6-10 p.m. RedEye promises a fun cultural experience for less than twenty dollars. Tickets can be purchased for $10 online and for $15 at the door.
To learn more about the event and organization, I spoke with President and CEO, Jaye Abbate.
Art Serve creates the Red Eye event every year, can you start by telling us a little bit about the organization?
“Yes, we are a regular nonprofit organization, 501c3. Our entire mission is to provide service and support to the individual artist and other cultural organizations in the tri-county area so that they can grow, they can thrive and do what they do best–which is practice their profession in the arts. Our mission is very different from a performing arts center, a museum [or] an art gallery, but we support all of those types of institutions through all of these programs, services and portable facilities, [or] anything that can help artists of all genres grow and really thrive in the career that they have chosen. And you know, a lot of people say ‘don’t go into the arts you won’t be able to make a living’ and we provide services that defeat that and will prove them wrong.”
Okay and just a little bit about yourself, when did you become involved with ArtServe?
“Prior to coming here, I worked at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts for many years as the marketing manager and this opportunity came up and was offered to me to be the president. It was a really difficult decision because I absolutely love and adore the Broward Center but I felt [like I wanted] to be personally challenged and try something new. I felt that I had a lot of background that could help take ArtServe in a new direction and make it stronger and even more impactful in the community than it was.”
How would you describe the RedEye event to community members who may not have heard of it before?
“The whole place comes alive and we celebrate every art form that we support. So, we’ll have four hours of live music on the main stage. We turn another room in the facility into a spoken word stage. We have live painting. We have a featured artist who is going to be [painting] a mural on the building and he’s going to be mentoring some high school students who are interested in having art as a career. We have people who are going to be coming in: art creations, actors, singers, filmmakers. We have a whole four hours of indie films that are going to be really fun and one vintage film “The Green Slime”. The granddaughter of the screenwriter [of the vintage film] is going to be here talking about how he came up with this. [It’s] a great way to expose the community to all the local talent that we have, as well as a way to expose them to our organization and all the ways that we can impact the community. One new thing that we are adding this year that we are really excited about is an area called the ‘sofa den’ and we’re going to have video games, because we are really celebrating the rise of video game art as an art form, which it truly is. There are people who study it in college; a lot of people are really dedicated to committing their careers to developing video art. So that’s a new dimension that we’re adding, it’s going to be really fun.”
Awesome. Wow, that sounds like there is something for everybody there.
“There truly is. One of the things that I love about it is that, obviously, we have a whole [art] exhibition and we actually broke all records this year with the number of pieces that were submitted for the exhibit itself this year. There are a lot of people that don’t think of themselves as someone who would go to an art gallery for an exhibit so, this has something, as you said, for everybody: somebody [who] wants to listen to a rock band, [or] we have an unplugged stage as well this year so we have some acoustic music. We have a dance performance and if you’re not into any of that, you can just go play some video games and have something to eat and drink. And [at] the best price; it’s really less than it costs to go to a movie so you get all this live entertainment original entertainment all this fun and it’s cheaper than sitting for two hours in a movie.
How do you guys choose performers and artists for the event?
“One of the things that is distinct about our organization from like a museum or an arts academy or a gallery is that we are all inclusive. We always open the doors because that’s our mission as an incubator. We give everybody, from emerging artists to established artist, the opportunity to have one more chance to gain exposure.”
I was looking online at the schedule for the Red Eye even and I noticed that there are a few names from the Jason Taylor Foundation’s bluapple Poetry Network. Do you guys collaborate a lot with other local programs?
“Yes, one of the most important achievements that I’ve had since I’ve gotten here is really ramping up our number of collaborations. I truly believe that collaborations create success. I don’t think we have to reinvent the wheel and start from the ground up for every single idea. I’d much rather partner up with other nonprofit organizations that are out there. So they [The Jason Taylor Foundation] are going to be the anchor of the Spoken Word Open Mic Night and the director of the program, Darius Daughtry, is an aspiring playwright. So, he is going to be launching an original dramatic piece that he wrote and directed in the auditorium. It’s amazing what can come out of one partnership and one collaboration.”
What are you most looking forward to at this year’s event? Why?
“It’s a hard answer to give. I’m interested to see how the video gaming portion is going to be and how that interacts with everybody. I think that’s going to be really interesting. I think the main stage is going to be a lot of fun because we’ve added a lot of elements. We have some interludes between the main bands. So, I’m excited to see how that whole component is going to flow this year and add energy. The other thing I’m really excited about is seeing this mural that they are building come to life.”
PHOTO CAPTION: Clockwise from top left, musician Joshua Olazabal, RedEye featured artist DaveL, Director of Poetry Programs at Jason Taylor Foundation Darius V. Daughtry and musican Alexander Star will be part of the annual art happening RedEye at ArtServe. Credit: Kara Starzyk.