A conversation with Young Artist Initiative


Steadfast Co-Founder & Creative Director, Christina Arza , & writer Taaron Sundby recently met up with the

team behind Young Artist Initiative at 111 Lincoln rd. to talk about art & culture, and their contribution to emerging artists all over the globe. 


TS: How long has Young Artist Initiative been around? 

YAI: Almost 2 years and it’s just the beginning!


TS: Explain what your essential purpose is.

"The Young Artist Initiative (YAI) is a unique, innovative platform designed to empower emerging artists and simultaneously foster community engagement in the arts through conceptually rooted experiential exhibitions."


TS: Each exhibition explores a thesis evocative to artists and viewers alike welcoming 30+ participating artists and 2000+ attendees. YAI creates an opportunity for dialogue amongst the city’s creatives and the community.

YAI encourages the community to take part in developing Miami’s cultural footprint, empowering the artists that it constitutes, and weaving art as a fundamental element of Miami’s future through action in the present."


TS: Are you only in Miami?

"Miami is our home. There’s a lot more to the magic city than you once thought. Our aim is to further contribute to Miami’s new identity and cultural footprint."


TS: How does YAI discover new artists?

"Our research is atypical using both online and offline resources. A combination of studio visits, shows, online research (local publications, social media), and artist submissions.

The city possesses a deep pool of emerging talent in the arts that has the potential to mold the city’s development and growth, both culturally and functionally, in the coming years. We want to meet each and every one of them (you)!"


TS: What does YAI consider when featuring an artist at an event?

"The Young Artist Initiative provides a place for everyone, from designers, DJ’s, architects to sculptors, musicians and performance artists. As opposed to having artists compete for recognition, YAI encourages artists to co-exist.

We seek to constantly push our curatorial standards to further challenge and empower our artists.

Participants are required to submit a proposal for their projected activation or performance based off of the presented thesis. The selected artists are those that most conceptually and artistically embody, address, or function as representations of the thesis."


TS: Your events are always held at incredible locations. How do you negotiate these spots?

"Location, location, location. The location is one of the defining pillars of each exhibition. Our aim is to provide artists with the opportunity to exhibit at aspirational space(s) and cultural landmarks. We develop a site-specific thesis prompting artists to submit innovative and conceptually rooted proposals. The space must allow for interpretations across a variety of mediums.

We develop ongoing partnerships with Miami’s budding districts (Miami Design District, Lincoln Road, and more) providing a local talent pool the opportunity to exhibit in unique locations (The Moore Building, 1111 Lincoln Road). Miami’s districts have been extremely supportive of our mission to empower the local artist community."


TS: What is the vision for YAI 10 years from now?

"Miami is currently at an important stage of its maturation into one of America’s emerging metropolises. It possesses a deep pool of creatives from various backgrounds that have the potential to mold the city’s development and growth, both culturally and functionally, in the coming years.

Our vision is to establish the Young Artist Initiative as a powerful representation platform for emerging artists worldwide based in Miami, FL. We will aim to welcome emerging artists from all backgrounds, cultures, and nationalities to prosper and collaborate with local creatives on internationally recognized projects."


TS: Describe Miami in 3 words.

"Diverse, atypical, and radiating."


TS:  Who benefits most from your events? The attendees? The artists? Or Young Artist Initiative?

"The essence of Young Artist Initiative’s mission lies in presenting and applying art in a manner in which the artist and the community are intertwined through concept and interaction.

Our first priority is our artist. Our artists are the essence of our platform and everything we strive to do is for their benefit. We seek to empower this collective of emerging talent and provide them with the resources to create at their highest capacity.

Our second priority is our community. They are the supporters of our artists and the new generation we aim to challenge to take part in developing Miami’s cultural footprint. We seek to spark curiosity and provide them with creative learning."


TS: When can the next event be expected?

"Good thing you asked, we couldn’t keep it in any longer.

We plan to approach Design and its Dimensions, our signature exhibition, as a 3-year survey at The Moore Building in partnership with the Miami Design District. At its essence, the decision to host the exhibition over the course of three years addresses the temporality of our perception of time, as well as documenting the manner in which the interpretations will evolve with regard to their context.

The exhibition is confirmed at The Moore Building on October 20-22 2017. With a projected attendance of 4,000+ individuals over 3-days, 40+ of Miami’s emerging artists, we promise to offer something extraordinary to artists and YAI-goers alike for our long awaited return!"



photos christina arza

interview taaron sundby