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In 2018, David Graziano debuted Art With Me in Tulum. Embedded with arts, music, and ecoculture, the shoreline festival premiered with programming of community-driven events and activations surrounding sustainability, wellness, culinary, and creativity. This year, it is revealing its first Miami edition, just in time for Art Week. For its inaugural happening on Virginia Key, it will feature an array of art installations, an artisan’s market, and four music stages for performances including those from Lost Creations, DinaburgArts, and Tulum Inside Out, and tunes by artists like Sublime, the All Day I Dream crew, and Birds of Mind.
Whitewaller spoke with Graziano about the premiere of Art With Me in Miami, and how it’s shaking up the sustainability, art, and cultural lenses.
WHITEWALLER: We’ve had a year “off.” How did the pandemic impact the way you thought of returning Art with Me to the public?
DAVID GRAZIANO: The biggest thing I have noticed after quarantine and the shutdown was the ability to pause and slow down to reflect on how we are navigating our business, and even my personal life. Creatively, this was also a time where there was more space to use our imagination and less time managing events. This led to us being able to define a clearer mission and creative direction for Art With Me.
Additionally, I had time to reflect and redefine the socially conscious pillar of Care With Me. We became a 501(c)(3) and shifted our core objective to outreach to the children. We will continue to do things within our communities while supporting and creating initiatives for the care of our environment. However, real change, while hard to achieve, is easiest if you teach a child the beauty this planet has, inspire them through art, make sure they have access to develop their imaginations, and watch as they flourish into creative innovators. Because, let’s be honest, many adults are already set in their ideals but it’s the children who will inherit the earth.
WW: What more informative gatherings— those in your “six pillars” like wellness programs, ecological programs, and panel discussions with artists, business leaders, and activists—will there be that you’re looking forward to?
DG: There’s a lot of great educational and sharing platforms in the festival. If someone’s interested in really looking into the schedule to see the full spectrum of what Art With Me is offering, I think they will find there’s something for everyone. We will have great panel discussions with thought-provoking leaders on inspiring topics. Topics like finding your superpower. There is Jared Bistrong, Miami Native and Master Sound Healer, that will present his Sound Healing Symphony in a curated mix of experiences throughout the festival. We have Dr. Bobby Klein and his world-class Astral Travel workshop and Meditation, as well as Pam Butler, a student and the South Florida Ambassador of the Chopra Foundation, to give her “Return to Life” Yoga, Meditation, Ecstatic Dance class. There are over two hundred activations in three days. The more that someone wants to see of all the things that Art With Me has to offer, the more they will realize the well-balanced options and inspiring experiences available at the event. People can deep dive into our app to get a better picture of the diversity and enormity of offerings.
WW: Art With Me is an art and culture festival but seen through a sustainable lens. How will the inaugural Miami project focus on sustainability and giving back to the planet?
DG: Art With Me strives to be a clean event and minimize our impact on the environment as we celebrate the earth and create awareness. We have extensive waste management plans where we invest greatly in assuring that a very low percentage of waste ends up in the landfill.
We will have a Caring Village onsite with multiple environmental nonprofits with various fun interactive elements for adults and children alike. A theme throughout of being a more environmentally aware participant and conscientious tourist.
The previous years of Art With Me only seven percent of the event’s waste ended up in a landfill. The remaining waste was recycled and composted. We will work intensely this year in Miami to drastically reduce any single-use plastic consumption. Keeping high standards with our waste management plans and having awareness campaigns throughout the festival is very important to us. We can have fun, plant seeds of awareness, and be kind to the planet.