Three years ago, a group of friends and I started to dream up what a lot of people considered impossible: a festival that would bring poetry to all 2.6 million residents of Greater Miami.
At that time, Miami’s cultural scene was exploding. Art Basel was in full force, and we wanted to do a festival that was the opposite of the “pipe-and-blazer” readings that most people associate with poetry. We wanted to do a festival that reflected Miami’s diversity and personality.
Knight Foundation had just finished the first round of its famous Random Acts of Culture™ and we liked how those events turned everyday events into cultural occasions. What if did something like that? What if we did it every day for a month?
And that’s how O, Miami was born. In the poetry festival’s first year, we did 45 events and 19 projects in a 30-day span, and almost none of them had a recognizable headliner. (You can get a taste for it in a new report being published this week.)
As we headed into our second full incarnation of the festival this month, we wanted to share a few of the things we learned about engaging new audiences and creating a cultural event that transcends geography, genre, and demographics… Read the rest of this entry »