Best Arts Cultivator Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach 2013 - C&I Studios
"This is our town, and it is creative," says Joshua Miller, founding director at C&I Studios, a 7-year-old media company and idea agency based in the up-and-coming FAT Village arts district in Fort Lauderdale. "People just didn't know where to go. Now they do." At the root of any innovation or movement is a free-flowing exchange of ideas, and Miller knows that if there's one thing essential to fostering the arts, it's having a community where like-minded individuals can get together over shared passions and a strong drink. Miller's DIY media and production company has been making a name for itself in the FAT Village neighborhood since moving into the 4,000-square-foot warehouse space in 2011, hosting themed art walk events, $1 movie nights, and Live at C&I mini music festivals. The events draw crowds of mixed ages and styles — "anyone who is tired of going to Vibe and YOLO and is starving for something real," says Miller. While the facilities boast a fully licensed liquor bar, recording studios, and a trendy design aesthetic, the savvy director also knows that many young creatives are still working on getting on their feet — which is why many of the events at C&I are BYOB, often with free food and no cover charge. If Miami's burgeoning Wynwood Arts District is any indication, it would seem Miller has figured out the recipe to a successful arts community: If you feed them — art, culture, food, and drinks — they will come. C&I Studios is most certainly bringing up a small but hungry community of artists in Fort Lauderdale.