After his recent trip to Florida for the annual Art Basel event, local artist Jeremy Flores felt inspired. A developer with an artistic vision had poured energy and resources into Wynwood, a historic neighborhood in Miami, transforming it with public art. The results compelled Flores to bring that same energy back home, and he knew just the area to begin – Art on Ayers.
The city has been focused on the Downtown Revitalization project, which includes the addition of colorful art by talented artists and more art-themed events. Bringing art to the forefront of the city’s culture has long been Flores’ dream. However, he noticed that since growth has been focused heavily on the downtown area, some lower-income communities aren’t receiving as much attention. This sentiment is what inspired Flores to start his latest project, Art on Ayers.
“I’ve seen art transform communities all over the country, and now I want to use that energy to help lower-income communities in my city,” he said about his mission. He explained that “the main goal is to use the power of art to uplift our underserved communities, while also providing support to them in a very real way.”
The Art on Ayers project will involve painting murals up and down Ayers Street to breathe color and life back into the area, and to remind people of how beautiful the part of town was — and could be again.
“I’ve seen art transform communities all over the country, and now I want to use that energy to help lower-income communities in my city.”
Much like the revitalization of the Wynwood neighborhood in Miami, Art on Ayers will focus on bringing color and vibrant designs to the sides of buildings, but it is also intended to give youth in the area a different type of goal or perspective on life.
By growing up in La Armada, an affordable housing community on Ayers Street, Flores has firsthand knowledge of the stigma surrounding the neighborhood, and how these reputations can negatively influence young minds. He hopes that the addition of colorful murals in the neighborhood will bring the positive attention this area needs, and in turn, inspire the kids who live in the surrounding neighborhoods to pursue their dreams, work toward positive goals and stay out of trouble.
In addition to painting a variety of murals in the area, the Art on Ayers project will also focus on restoring old signage and buildings in need of a healthy dose of TLC. Art on Ayers also hosts community events, such as its Back to School Backpack Giveaway.
Flores is also working to re-open a creative development center in the area after having to shut down his former downtown location due to the pandemic. This center is intended to give kids an opportunity to thrive in the arts, and a safe space in the neighborhood to do so.
The local artist and community advocate is thrilled to be at the forefront of Art on Ayers. His goal is to bring a new energy to the area, as well as new opportunities for growth to those who inhabit it. Three to four years down the road, Flores envisions a neighborhood known for its art, rooted in its vibrant culture and celebrated because of it.