Arts & Culture

River Of Art

The River Of Art is a gathering place of Miami’s good people, changemakers, activists, innovators, creators, entrepreneurs, businesspeople and artists. Each month, Life Is Art brings the community together at our River Of Art pop-up art-in-public-places show to socialize through the power of the arts with the goal of exposing new artists, introducing new people to art appreciation, providing an inspiring space to make new connections, showcasing local businesses and charities, while providing a cultural break during the work week. It creates synergies to help promote business by including a breathtaking art show!


These are unique in Miami because unlike many social events, which tend to be sector-specific, we reach across industries and socioeconomic lines. We engage numerous partners, incentivizing them to bring their membership and followers. We bring people to different areas of town, to introduce them to new experiences and heritages. We expose people to new arts and culture, strengthening the artistic community, which, as we all know is key to a healthy and successful city.


The program has 4 primary goals.

1) Provide a well-promoted platform for local artists to expose their work, something that is lacking in Miami.

2) Introduce more local residents to art appreciation and the art being created in their community. With so many transplants and part-time residents, Miami has a real problem with local residents buying local art. By pulling the art out of the galleries and museums and putting it in public venues, surrounded by interesting people, we entice people to attend who might not otherwise be exposed to contemporary art, especially by local artists.

3) Provide a platform through which other community organizations can gain exposure. At each show, we invite a few partner NPOs to set up a promotional table and engage our attendees.

4) Provide exposure for local businesses. The events move from venue to venue each month, introducing our attendees to new places that they might return and visit as regular customers.


In order to bring more people to the show, we combine it with an exciting and dynamic atmosphere, creating an event that people love to attend. Most events include a complimentary drink and some light bites with entry adding a culinary draw. When we are able, we also include live entertainment and/or music.


We have also created partnerships with promotional powerhouses so that they help us advertise the event. In addition, we partner with member based NPOs, to provide reduced admission to their members. As part of our goal to bring new people to the arts, we are working on reaching out to member-based business organizations, such as chambers of commerce and Rotary clubs, to invite them to participate in our reduced-admission program as a member benefit.


The art show is a juried open call. All artists living or working in South Florida are free to apply. We then jury the show based on the quality of the work. We do not base our jury on the experience level of the artist. Every artist is given the same opportunity, whether they are brand new or at the top of their game. We have been embedded in that community for many years and have created strong relationships and a positive reputation.


For our featured community organizations, we have been using our expansive network to send invitations. We also take recommendations from community members and requests from organizations. We are working on creating an application program for the NPOs so that it is more like the open call for artists. Our relationship with the NPO community started very soon after our first show, when we were approached to do collaborative projects right away. With the expansion of our River Of Art program to regularly involve other local charities, we are strengthening that relationship.


Selecting the participating venues is more difficult. Fortunately, we have contacts with numerous PR companies that represent local businesses. We reach out through them with an open invitation. We also reach out through our promotional partners, many of whom also host events at venues around town. We plan to create an application process for host venues, as well.


All of our programs are open to the public. We charge a small fee for entry, but compensate attendees with some complimentary refreshments and other surprises. For those that truly cannot pay, we offer them complimentary entry.

Who are you?

James Echols & Annette Peikert are co-founders of Life Is Art, Soul Of Miami, and PhilanthroFest, all deeply rooted in the community in Miami. Over the past six years, their organizations have produced over one-hundred events of all kinds and sizes.

How does this project impact the issue you selected?

The River Of Art program is designed to bring more and new people into art appreciation who otherwise might not be introduced to local contemporary art and artists. By hosting the events in public spaces, we make it accessible to South Florida’s residents and visitors. This helps to expand the potential customer base for all artists, as more people learn to love art, which strengthens the artist community.

What data points from The Our Miami Report does your project address?

This addresses the dual points of restaurant density and a thriving arts community. While attendance at museums is up, there is still a perception by many residents that there are not that many quality local artists, which is absolutely wrong. In addition, we are always on the look out for new and interesting venues, such as restaurants, so that we can introduce new people to them.

Please give examples of your project's success.

We have hosted nearly twenty of these River Of Art shows, providing opportunity for dozens of artists to be introduced to thousands of new potential art lovers. One testimonial states, “Life is Art’s team is dedicated, mission oriented, dynamic and all encompassing. They have brilliantly positioned themselves to be a leader in the South Florida Arts Community.” Another artist stated, “I cant say more about the quality of the events that the good folks at Life is Art have been doing.”

Organization Name (or individuals name) Life Is Art / Soul Of Miami


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Idea No. 102