We were terminated

January 17, 2018

It is with great sadness we formally announce today that Miami Dade College has terminated our agreement prematurely with very little explanation and no attempts to sit down together and discuss how we could continue our historic agreement. After only one year of occupation, we were simply served a “Letter of Termination” from their lawyers stating a vague provision in our contract. As we attempted to request meetings and clarification on the reasons, we were met with more lawyers and more “non-negotiable” demands on our small project by two artists who donate their hard work. We can only do so much for free.

In almost 8 years of running DV, we have never experienced such abuse of power and the blatant disregard for the hard work of artists. We started in the Design District in 2009 with the generosity of Craig Robins/Dacra, a collector, and the real estate development company he presides over. We later moved to Downtown with the help of the Downtown Development Authority securing a donated warehouse from Miami World Center—another private development conglomerate. These real estate companies donated their property for us to occupy and walked away with little demands. They allowed us the freedom to grow and do what we do best. In that time, we secured grants, expanded our programs, and widened our influence. After many years in both locations, it was time to move on and we welcomed it—not because we were exploited or coerced, but because we understood that their generosity had run its course. This generosity is not present today and we are leaving completely shocked and disillusioned by how terribly an institution such as Miami Dade College has treated us.

In a time when emerging and medium-sized galleries and organizations are being squeezed to the point of closing by budget cuts and the dominance of larger entities—we must not forget the importance of small, grassroots independent projects. Projects like ours are the risk-takers, the innovators, and those who operate outside the confines of markets and large boards. We firmly believe the independent spirit present in artist-run projects and galleries that support emerging artists are where the future talents come from. True innovation does not come from a market—it’s simply too risky. Most of the art market pushes preapproved artists with already strong sales to turn profits and that’s fine for business, but not in support of culture and experimentation with new and young art practices.

We must do more and develop new ways to support artists, artist-run projects, alternative spaces, and emerging galleries. If not, we risk enabling the complete homogenizing, and corporatization of art to an unrecognizable point.

DV will continue to do more. In the next few months, we will be relocating and continuing our scheduled projects. We are dedicated to furthering opportunities, supporting and empowering artists by funding new projects and supporting their efforts through new and alternative ways that ensure the artist is the biggest beneficiary of their practice. We’ll keep all of you informed of things to come. We’re excited about what the future holds. Thank you to all who have believed in our efforts, we are immensely grateful.