Down the block, the large warehouse sat wide open. The inside was a bright cathedral with cement floors and wooden rafters, a void that could likely hold your childhood home a few times over. McCraw stood in the corner, serving wine in plastic cups. On the walls were large abstract paintings by Miami-based artist David Marsh.

A gray-and-white floating web hung as the centerpiece of the room, extending from the ceiling trusses and lit from all sides by spotlights that cast a soft net of shadows. Jamey Grimes, a soft-spoken artist from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, created the web, called Roil. Grimes wandered the open room with a camera and tripod, taking pictures of his work. Around 10 p.m., a band called Pocket of Lollipops began to play at the back of the warehouse. About five mildly excited 20-somethings gathered around to sort of dance. A few older art patrons chatted with McCraw, who explained how he discovered Grimes' art in a Birmingham gallery and matched him with David Marsh. The space was empty for long stretches at a time.

"Some of the art walks were good; some were terrible," recalled Alex Benitez, a practicing artist with a retail shop who moved out of FAT Village when his one-year lease expired in December. They've been growing in attendance recently, and the feeling on the streets is livelier than ever: All the shops keep their doors open, and performances at the village's two black-box theaters draw crowds. Still, the events lack publicity.

Doug McCraw owns most of the buildings in FAT Village.
Photo by Michael McElroy
Doug McCraw owns most of the buildings in FAT Village.
After a dispute about rent, Adam White moved to a cheaper and busier space at Galt Ocean Mile.
Photo by Michael McElroy
After a dispute about rent, Adam White moved to a cheaper and busier space at Galt Ocean Mile.

"People are surprised when they're here for a show and there's an art walk going on," said Lasher. "It's like an underground secret that only the cool kids know about."

Leah Brown's 18 Rabbit Gallery displayed a group exhibit of conceptual sound art, including a set of speakers filled with water, sand, and beans. Flutelike contraptions screwed into the air-conditioning ducts broke the air with a high-pitched whistle. At Andrews Living Arts Studio, a sold-out crowd watched a premiere of The Laramie Project.

On the corner, Fioretti had transformed his shop into a gallery. Two welded and polished iron torches burned outside the entrance, and a Kool-Aid fountain circulated above a tray of cookies. His artwork was on display: a working clock, some smaller pieces, and a cactus-like floor sculpture made of heavy polished gears.

Fioretti is the only artist in FAT Village whose building isn't owned by McCraw, but he may have had the most success during the art walk: He said he received multiple commissions during the three-hour event. They included two more torches, which he said he would sell for $1,000 each, and a $5,000 dancing skeleton, made from the engine valve of a decommissioned battleship.

Around the corner, a storefront on Andrews sat dark and empty. It used to house Gallery 101, which until February was a star tenant of FAT Village, bringing in collectors and serving as an anchor for the village's eastern edge. Then, almost overnight, it was gone. Taped to the door was an eviction notice, claiming $18,788.07 in unpaid rent, signed by P. Douglas McCraw.


On a sunny, salt-sprayed afternoon on Galt Ocean Mile, Adam White reclined on a black leather couch in the new location of Gallery 101. A stocky man with silvered hair and a taste for gossip, White expressed no regrets about packing up his gallery and leaving FAT Village. He was in good company: Alex Benitez, the artist who moved out in December, set up shop in a retail space a block away from White's new gallery. Rachel Henriques, another FAT Village artist, joined them in March.

The Galt Mile is a fusty strip along A1A north of Oakland Park Boulevard, known for buildings and residents that might have been glamorous in the 1960s. The neighborhood shares a name with John Galt, Ayn Rand's industrialist hero in Atlas Shrugged. In the novel, Galt persuades the world's creative leaders to go on strike, revolting against a collectivist society that suppresses individual freedom.

"I've sold more art here in the last three weeks than I did in six months in FAT Village," said White. He said the pedestrian mall around his gallery, along with a mix of amenities like a wine bar, restaurants, and other galleries, made Galt Ocean Mile a more pleasant place for people to buy art. He also cited the economic benefits: "I was paying $3,800 a month in my old space, and now I'm paying a third of that." White and McCraw would not discuss details of the eviction.

At Galt Ocean Plaza, the shopping center where Gallery 101 is now located, businesses include old independent restaurants, hair salons, boutiques, a cigar store. The diagonal parking spaces are filled with Volvo sedans and old Cadillacs. Parking costs 50 cents an hour. Still, White said it had something that FAT Village lacked: people.

In 2010, the Art of Alex Studio was one of the most prolific and visible artist's shops in FAT Village, occupying the corner of the intersection opposite Fioretti's shop. Alex Benitez painted swirling, cartoonish masses of color that hung on prominent display during art walks; he painted wooden signs saying "FAT Village" and attached them to stop-sign posts along the avenue.

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11 comments
Captain Sandbar
Captain Sandbar

How can Adam White say "I was paying rent"? READ: Around the corner, a storefront on Andrews sat dark and empty. It used to house Gallery 101, Taped to the door was an eviction notice, claiming $18,788.07 in unpaid rent, signed by P. Douglas McCraw. White sounds like a dead beat to me based on the article...Creepy

D.F.W.M.
D.F.W.M.

The rents at FAT may be higher in some places, and for good reason as it sits in a very booming area with recently a 20 million dollar residential building is under construction.

Adam White didn't do the right thing and quietly moved out and snubbed McCraw of almost $20,000.

What an opportunity to see the character of a so called "business owner" that Adam White is!

McCraw should file charges against White and take him to court for unpaid back rent.

Michelle G.
Michelle G.

I think you have a foggy perspective of Adam and Doug's dispute and posting you're opinion of a great gallery is hardly doing good for the area. We need to be supporting artist and galleries and not landlords. Let the landlord manage and mitigate whatever the dispute was.

D.F.W.M.
D.F.W.M.

The "great gallery" you claim White's had, apparently wasn't that great since it didn't attract enough people to sustain it -- hence one of the other reasons why he moved.

Maybe it was great for Adam White himself, as he was pocketing a large portion of the artists money with commissions and the cost he charged for them to hang their art on the walls of his gallery.

The area has continued to build momentum and foot traffic with the artwalks and other events there, but this article and the writer certainly hasn't helped the "struggle" by maliciously espousing only a negative view of the area. The area has much to offer and is getting better with city improvements by the week.

There's a reason a $20 million dollar development is going up right across the street.

Everyone who leaves FAT Village seems to only speak of the negative side of the equation. But there are two sides to it, and the benefits that White gained from being at FAT Village -- from the artwalks and events and foot traffic that steered them into his gallery, shows us how positive that area was for him from the new clients he gained that came to the events which he took with him to his new gallery.

If White would have stuck it out and supported the efforts of FAT Village like he said he did, and not left the property owing $18k in back rent thus being evicted on bad terms, then he truly would have been doing something positively benefiting everyone involved.

What Francisco is doing with that space is amazing and I applaud his efforts!

R. D. M.
R. D. M.

I bet if you had a few food trucks there you could get a few hundred people, but what do I know? I've never been bankrupt.

Miami Beer Tour
Miami Beer Tour

Thanks to Doug, Travis and everyone at FAT Village. Murals out back of FAT Village walls and containers inside Collide Factory created by MBT (Miami Beer Tour), a group of artists based in Tokyo, Miami and Ft. Lauderdale. Murals are always changing and living outdoor installations with the use of tape which preserves parts of the murals before them. Artists include La Mano Fria, Broke, Team Panza, Marvel, Neon 7...For more info and images check out:http://tokyobeertour.tumblr.co...and follow MBT on facebook:http://www.facebook.com/profil...

Bap1346
Bap1346

Is this where the New Times office is? Otherwise I can't see why they wrote about this.

counts
counts

Well... they couldn't event support their area... I wonder... Oh!!! it was was the new guy Stephan who wrote the article.... He doesn't even know that The Galt area is dead!

New Times
New Times

The name is an acronym for "Flager Arts and Technology".

steroids
steroids

excuse my stupidity but why is it called fat village ?

 
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