Art: the execution, expression and creation of emotion, color, textures, patterns, and unlimited possibilities to express oneself on various mediums such as canvas, paper, paint, dance, sculpting, music, film, and even with one’s own body. The world is full of art and the artists behind the creations. With so much creativity being born to people who want to show it to the world, is there enough space? Artists have long struggled to be able to showcase their passions. Studio space is hard to come by because it comes with a hefty price tag. The expression “starving artist” comes to mind.
It must crush an artist’s dream to not have a place to showcase their talents, passion, and hard work.
Co-Founders, Mr. Evan Snow and Mr. Andrew Martineau, and Frances Antonio-Martineau live life immersed in the world of art. They are the force behind Choose 954 and Art Ft. Lauderdale, among other events such as FemAle Brew Week and Creative Zen. Being already involved in the community, they often got asked, by artists, about spaces for rent. It was common knowledge that studio space is not cheap to come by. As many successful pieces of art are born, so was this initiative for Zero Empty Spaces.
Evan and Andrew noticed that there have been many plazas and store fronts that have been empty for prolonged periods of time. Just sitting vacant – a space with no soul. The property owners do not make money, and the artists long for a space. So, the idea was brought to life when an arrangement was reached to rent out the space for $2 per square foot.
Zero Empty Spaces also covers all the utilities, like water and electric. That is a deal of a lifetime! Zero Empty Spaces will find a store front and provides a space for the artist to set up shop and do what they love: create and showcase their products. It is an idea that breathes life and purpose for both the artist and the property owners. “It is a total win-win situation!”, said Andrew.
Zero Empty Spaces has had its share of features in the media. And here’s another! Zero Empty Spaces has been featured in The Sun Sentinel, NPR, LinkedIn, Broward/Palm Beach New Times, The Hollywood Gazette, and on WLRN, but nothing is as powerful as works of mouth. Andrew mentioned that a lot of their publicity happened organically by word of mouth, and by introductions by City Commissioners! The word got out and artists are setting up shop in spaces provided by Zero Empty Spaces.
Currently, Andrew and Evan are working with over 40 artists that have come through their doors. Some notable artists are Surge, whose street artwork can be seen throughout South Florida, including at the murals of Wynwood. Another notable artist to have room at Zero Empty Spaces is Steve Diossy. His very colorful original marine artwork is truly unique and eye catching. Lizzy Taber, which recently has residency in Key West, Florida, has also come through Zero Empty Spaces’ doors. Her creations bridge art with science and has a focus on marine ecology and even on sea floor mapping!
Another artist of notable mention is Angela Rush, our very own, Oakland Park born and raised local artist! I was fortunate enough to catch a quick glimpse of Angela’s new space at 3558 NE 12th Ave, near City Hall in Oakland Park. Angela had just moved in and was getting settled, but she was kind enough to let me into her space to take a peek. Angela explained, “I met Evan because of his artist discovery series live painting event at YOLO on Las Olas. I reached out to him and I have been impressed and amazed at how helpful he has been to me and so many other artists in Broward.” She continues, “Zero Empty Spaces was such an awesome concept that I wanted to be a part of it, but I was in my [old] lease until May 31st, so it all worked out.”
Angela has worked with mixed media, acrylic and resin. She rarely uses a brush to paint – she finger paints a lot instead! Her biggest struggle on the business side of being an artist is not giving all her artwork away for free! I asked her when she became interested in art. She said, “I heard someone say, it’s not when I started painting, but when I stopped.” And she hasn’t stopped. Angela is currently still getting settled into her new Zero Empty Spaces room, while working on her Instagram and Facebook page, and an online shop.
Her neighbor in the next space is Ornella Verano. Ornella’s work includes paintings of oysters with caviar, which she describes as “an exquisite combination for your taste buds and your walls.” Her use of food and anatomy mesmerizes the eyes and I want to put food on my walls now! She has knowledge of anatomy and combines it with her art saying, “You can make up words to name your diagram: Flavotomy.” You can check Angela Rush’s art at @artinoaklandpark, and Ornella Verano’s art at @artlabco954.
The trio of co-founders has created a concept that provides hope for artists who could otherwise not afford studio space. They provide purpose, opportunity, growth, and income to property owners who would otherwise lose money with spaces void of life and earnings. Their name, so appropriately chosen, gives the promise of being filled with a kaleidoscope of all the colors, shapes, and media art lovers could dream of seeing. Zero Empty Spaces is settled mainly in Broward County, but they have extended Palm Beach County and may even be extending to Orlando! I am excited to learn more about all the artists, but meanwhile, we have our very own artists, right here, in our Oakland Park backyard, thanks to Zero Empty Spaces!
Anamaria Moreno is an Elementary school teacher. Born in Costa Rica, but mostly raised in Venezuela, Ms. Moreno came to South Florida in 1996 where she has resided ever since. She graduated from Lynn University, with a degree in Early Childhood Education. She has taught in the classroom for 18 years, most recently teaching the first grade for the past seven years. Before becoming a teacher, Ms. Moreno was involved in volunteer work with the Child Life Specialists Department at Miami Children’s Hospital. She also served as member of the Board of Directors for “A Caring Pregnancy Center” in Miami. Most recently, Ms. Moreno has taught at an elementary school in Oakland Park. Ms. Moreno also teaches ESOL to Adults in Night School. When Ms. Moreno is not in the classroom, she enjoys baking custom specialty cakes, face painting, and enjoys creating Arts and Crafts.