L.Mercado Studios, a working artist community in Downtown Hollywood, has burst onto the arts scene with a full house of Artists in Residence, an array of art class offerings and a Visiting Artists Exhibition scheduled for May 21 during the 3rd Saturday of the Month Downtown Hollywood ArtWalk.
Hollywood residents Dorandy Mercado and Laura Gasper, who opened L.Mercado Studios at 2000 Harrison St. in early March, know firsthand what it’s like to be a struggling young artist. Their new joint venture offers space for fellow artists in a variety of mediums to create, display and sell their work in a supportive environment where creativity and camaraderie thrive.
The 3,000-square-foot art center features a front window gallery, classroom, large ceramic kilns, open studio space for part-time artists and private studios for Artists in Residence. L.Mercado Studios is home to 10 full-time 2-D and 3-D Artists in Residence who receive assistance in promoting and selling their work.
“The Artist in Residence spaces were reserved before we even opened,” said Mercado, a visual artist specializing in ceramics. “We have a waiting list, and we also have the open studio option, where 12 artists can share a rental space.”
L.Mercado Studios also offers 2-D and 3-D art instruction for all levels of experience. Classes include pottery, clay and sculpture, glass fusing, printmaking, drawing and painting.
Mercado said she’s very pleased with the community’s response to the art center.
“Every day we have people dropping in, asking about classes,” she said. “And we are getting a packed house at ArtWalk.”
The Downtown Hollywood ArtWalk is presented by the City of Hollywood Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) from 7 to 10 p.m. on the third Saturday of every month. The event features a guided outdoor mural tour and live outdoor painting and entertainment. Complimentary refreshments are available at participating art galleries and businesses. At each ArtWalk, L.Mercado Studios offers visitors an interactive art activity and hosts a new exhibition opening.
The Visiting Artists Exhibition, coinciding with the next ArtWalk on May 21, will showcase four local and international artists: Mercado’s brother Evoca1 (née Elio Mercado), a prominent street artist from Miami; canvas and mural painter Tati Suarez of Miami; Pixel Pancho, an Italian street artist specializing in large wall murals; and Japanese-born TWOONE, who resides in Germany. There is no charge for the event, which will include hors d’oeuvres and music.
Evoca1 is assisting the art center with donations of prints and art merchandise for financial supporters. Evoca1, the founder of the ArteSano Project, an art festival in the Mercado siblings’ hometown in the Dominican Republic, saw his career take off after working on some of the Downtown Hollywood Mural Project’s first outdoor murals.
In the coming months, an auction of the works of Evoca1 and other artists will be held to raise funds in support of L.Mercado Studios’ mission “to provide Hollywood and South Florida with educational opportunities in the Visual Arts through exposure, classes, sales and a working artist community.”
L.Mercado Studios is partnering with Hollywood-based nonprofit A Childs Life Foundation to bring an outreach art program to underprivileged children in South Florida that would be offered in schools, at Boys & Girls Clubs or at the art center.
“We’re also very interested in working with children with disabilities,” Mercado said. “We just want to give back to the community.”
Mercado and Gasper, who hold degrees in Studio Art Ceramics, met in 2012 at a ceramics and glass studio in Hollywood, where they both worked. They have exhibited, separately, in galleries in both the U.S. and abroad, and have had numerous custom commissions.
The historic downtown arts, music and entertainment district is home to art galleries and studios, the innovative ArtsPark at Young Circle, the Art and Culture Center of Hollywood, Cinema Paradiso art-house cinema, the Downtown Hollywood Mural Project (DHMP) and numerous cultural events.
Mercado said Downtown Hollywood is poised to become a top arts community.
“We have a lot of talented artists in the area and need community support to make it happen,” she said.
L.Mercado Studios also offers repair and restoration services, and accepts ceramics and painting commissions. For more information, call 754-217-4713, email [email protected] or visit www.lmercadostudios.com. Art benefactors also can make a donation on the website.
There is no charge for on-street downtown parking between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m. Free on-street parking is available in three-hour increments between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Garage parking is available for $1 per hour at the Municipal Garages located at 251 S. 20th Ave. (between Harrison Street and Van Buren Street) and 251 N. 19th Ave. (between Tyler Street and Polk Street).
For more information about redevelopment projects, businesses and events in Hollywood’s Downtown and Beach Districts, call the Hollywood Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) at 954-924-2980 or visit www.hollywoodcra.org.