[Interview] Craig O’Neil Is Making ART History at Miami Marine Stadium

Posted on: June 18th, 2014 by Steven Piccione 1 Comment

Credit: Diana Larrea
The ART History Mural Project and an exclusive Instagram contest will take place at the Miami Marine Stadium on Saturday, June 28.

It hasn't been long since we featured a young Miami preservationist, Ivan Robles, who's working to bring attention to saving the Miami Marine Stadium, but we're back with more exciting stadium news.

Next Saturday, June 28, the National Trust is partnering with Friends of Miami Marine Stadium (FMMS) to launch a Day of Art and Action, a daylong celebration of the historic stadium. Three big things are happening that day:

  1. Gloria Estefan -- a trustee of the National Trust -- will join other representatives from the National Trust to unveil several accomplishments in the campaign to restore the stadium.
  2. The highly anticipated ART History Mural Project will bring nine internationally known artists to the stadium to create large-scale murals.
  3. There will be an Instagram contest hosted by the National Trust, in which the 30 best "Instagrammers" of Miami will get to meet Gloria Estefan, the nine world-renowned artists, and Hilario Candela, the stadium's architect.

There's a lot to look forward to, but before next weekend, let's take a closer look at the artistic event that will directly benefit the stadium, as well as the man behind it: Craig O'Neil.

How would you explain your art-centric preservation event to curious readers?

For the first time in history, art is democratized. It has fans of all ages, [from all] walks of life, living in every corner of the globe. The concept is to connect the passion those fans have for urban art to the unique 20-year graffiti history of Miami Marine Stadium.

The urban art community lost an institution when "5 Pointz" in New York was buffed and demolished. This moment is our chance to come together as a community and save a building with a rich graffiti history.

Credit: Ivan Robles
"Mozart Played Here" by Miami preservationist Ivan Robles highlights the graffiti artwork on the stadium's chairs against the natural sunlight and trees beyond the structure.

What drew you to the Miami Marine Stadium?

Pictures by artists David Olivera that were being posted on Facebook of the graffiti. I was immediately captivated by the art set against the unique surroundings.

In what ways will the event improve both the stadium and the communities of Miami?

The appeal of urban art is wide reaching, and pictures of the murals will spread far and wide to engage advocates and donors. The prints we are producing [of the visiting artists' murals] will provide a channel to directly raise funds for the stadium.

In regards to communities, we feel passionately that public green space is key to bringing communities together. Public green space is a great equalizer. It doesn’t care how much you make, what you do for a living, or where you live; it’s a welcoming environment to experience the beauty of an area. Our passion is in bringing this structure back to use for the people of Miami and welcoming everyone to enjoy it and the art integrated into it.

Credit: Craig O'Neil
The already existing artwork in and around the stadium ranges from generic "tagging" to complex works that display raw emotion.

How would you describe the artists that you invited to the stadium on June 28?

The nine [internationally recognized] artists we have involved in this event and the 20 we have overall were chosen because they not only exemplified the best in contemporary urban art, but because they were largely different from each other, utilizing different disciplines within the culture. We want the unfamiliar viewer to be able to grasp the expanse that exists within urban art, because to someone without regular exposure the nuance between artists can seem indistinguishable.

What you have are artists with wildly different styles, executions, and historical significance.

Logan Hicks, our curator and the co-curator of MANA Museum of Urban Art (opening in September in New York), has specifically worked with each artist to try to integrate their unique style into the structure for the most dramatic impact.

Each artist is looking to apply something unique, utilizing the stadium's iconic modernist structure to highlight the stadium and the art in the best light possible.

Credit: Craig O'Neil
Paint-covered paths and rails wrap their way through the stadium around works of art, one of which depicts a mermaid in distress.

How does social media play a role in spreading the awareness of both the event and the stadium?

Social media is largely responsible for the explosive growth of street art. Artists living in countries with no urban art market (like Stinkfish in Columbia, or Pixel Pancho in Italy) can build fans in the U.S., the U.K., Japan, etc. Social media allows those connections to form and globalizes the movement. This means that the fan page has fans from all across the world. We leverage that interconnected audience, intertwined with the artists' audiences (more than 300,000 [people] collectively), to evangelize the mission of Friends of Miami Marine Stadium

What are your greatest hopes for the event and its outcome?

My deepest hope is that, beyond the $500,000 we are working to raise, the profile of the event and the “viralization” of the images connects the foundation to a big money donor that puts them over their goal.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Steven Piccione

Steven Piccione

Steven Piccione is an Editorial Intern at the National Trust. He enjoys carbonated water, all things British, and living in a city warmer than Chicago. Follow him on Instagram at @stebbsjp.

Interviews, National Treasures, Restoration, Trust News

One Response

  1. Gloria Estefan Announces Major Contribution to Miami Marine Stadium | Latina Lista

    July 7, 2014

    […] announcement was part of the National Trust’s “Day of Art and Action” at Miami Marine Stadium. In addition to announcing Gloria’s gift, the ART History Mural Project […]