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Anamaria Moreno

Art 13’s Little Libraries Competition: Where Art and Children’s Literacy Come Together


A few months ago, Living in Oakland Park covered the story of Frank Polanco, our very own local Jack of all trades. As a philanthropist,  animal rescuer, photographer, artist, magazine founder, producer, wardrobe stylist, fashionista, and artist, Frank keeps himself pretty busy. His most recent project that is very near and dear to him is the 2nd Annual Art 13 exhibit that will take place this March, from 10th through the 13th.

A Familiar Name

The Art 13 Movement is a project on its own where Frank has curated art shows in our community. The goal is to bring more art and culture to a continually rising boom of businesses and offices in the community. As it states on the Art 13 website, “Art13 has been created to promote, curate, develop and empower the rising art trend, the new businesses development as well as the community outreach in Fort Lauderdale city.”

Little Free Libraries

This year, South Florida Lending Hands is presenting “The 2nd Annual Art 13 Fair” in which the theme is “The Little Free Library” . This project is being done in collaboration with the City of Fort Lauderdale Neighbor Volunteer Office.

The city is building and painting these little libraries sky blue. It will then be the blank canvas for the artists that participate. Each artist will compete with their Artistic expressions to create unique pieces of functional art. They will be used in conjunction and collaboration with the Little Free Library Program to promote literacy. The registered artist will come to City Hall and pick up their little house and take it home to don their artwork onto the little library.

The actual building of the little houses is done by the city. These libraries will then become a public Art exhibit. If anyone that lives and works in Fort Lauderdale wants to become an Ambassador, they can apply to adopt one of these little libraries to display in front of your business or house, or in a place to where it is accessible to the public 24 hours a day.

The idea behind this project is for the businesses along 13th Street to become a host so the businesses that have agreed to participate will be receiving a Little Free Library to stand in front of the business and become Public Art. They will be installed starting from the Art 13 event until an extended period of time.

The City will install them as well as take them down. Originally, the idea was to use billboards, but Frank says, “Billboards are so large, and they get expensive. This way, it’s an interactive experience for the community and easily available to the artists”.

This is a jury art competition which will be entered into a Silent Auction. The books that will eventually go into these little libraries will be provided by the City of Fort Lauderdale.

This event will make the Little Libraries and will make them interactive. Frank says, “We are taking a children’s book and we will distribute the pages of the book and we will attach them to different Little Libraries, so when people go from library to library, will have two pages of the story. When peoples walk from one to the other, they can read the story. It will be an interactive public art exhibit.”

In the libraries, there will also be little post-it notes for people to write their own thoughts and messages and once they are all gathered, they will be arranged onto a collage and displayed at City Hall.

The 4 Day “Af-Fair”

This 4-day event kicks off in the middle of the week. The opening reception begins on Wednesday, March 10th, from 6 to 9pm at the restaurant Milk Money located at 815 NE 13th Street, Fort Lauderdale. This is a combination opening reception, Silent Auction, entertainment and a cash bar! This event is also to benefit a nonprofit South Florida Lending Hands and donations are welcome. T-Shirts are on sale as well (found on the Art13 website).

On Thursday, March 11, at Gulf Stream Brewery, is a community event where people can come paint one of the little libraries. Gulfstream Brewery is located at 1105 NE 13th Street, Ft. Lauderdale.

On Friday, March 12, there will be an open warehouse gallery on 603 NE 13th Street. And on Saturday, March 13th, from 1 to 6pm is the closing event where judges will cast their votes and declare a winner. There will be an open bar, entertainment, live painting by local artists and vendors. All prize money is courtesy of PNC Bank. For more information or apply to the event, please visit Art 13 official website.

On Thursday, March 11, at Gulf Stream Brewery, is a community event where people can come paint one of the little libraries.

Spread the Word!

Please spread the word and mark your calendars for this event that will surely will make a stroll along 13th Street a one-of-a-kind experience.

The concept of Little Free Libraries as billboards is a new, fun, innovative way to not only promote literacy, but to also show the creativity and artistry of our local artists. An added plus is that you – the community – will be able to enjoy these little libraries for days to come after the event.

If you or someone you know would like to become an Ambassador and host one of these little libraries, please visit the website and apply. The website is very user friendly and easy to navigate!


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