Monday, April 26, 2010

ARTIST SPOTLIGHT -- Purvis Young 1943-2010 -- by Florida Fine Art Blog

                                              Miami Overpass with Mural by Purvis Young

Purvis Young’s funeral was held at Mt Zion Baptist Church in Overtown, Miami this past Saturday.  Family and friends walked together following Purvis’s casket down Third Avenue from Gibson Park to the Church.  The buildings surrounding Mt. Zion have recently been revitalized as with most of the surrounding neighborhood.  New and refurbished housing and clean public spaces filled with parks and community gardens line the streets complete with new wide sidewalks decorated with colorful pavers.  It all started with Purvis and his “Wall of Respect”.
Stories of Purvis and his artwork pulled gallery owners and collectors into Overtown.   Then galleries searching for large, cheap spaces moved into the old dilapidated warehouses.  Flash forward twenty years and the once dead warehouse district west of the tracks in downtown Miami plagued with crime and poverty is giving way to coffee shops, condo’s and European art galleries. The poverty still lingers, but jobs and most importantly hope, has returned to Overtown. The ugly overpass that cut through the heart of Overtown causing much of the blight is now revitalized with large murals painted by Purvis; fitting tribute to the man that became famous exposing the problems of his neighborhood.  And Purvis chose to stay when others who make it leave.  During the funeral the family spoke of a caring loving man who was always there to lend a hand.  Purvis made hundreds of thousands of dollars selling his artwork but gave it all to his family and friends.  Purvis did not want things to tie him down, most of all money, so he gave it all back to Overtown.  Saturday the neighborhood that loved Purvis but never understood his artwork talked about him as their Michelangelo, their Raphael, or their Picasso.  In the end it’s how you spend your time, who you help and how you will be remembered that proves your worth; in that regard my friend Purvis was the richest man in Miami.

                                                                      New Housing
                                                         City Park and Colorful Pavers
                                               New Storefronts and Refurbished Buildings
                                                                   Right Side of Mural
                                                                   Left Side of Mural


Anonymous said...

My first time on your blog, Mr. Lochrie. I am very impressed and awed by all I see and read. I have so little time to study the arts world and you brought me up to date in a short time. I'm sorry I didn't know Purvis while he was alive...what a gift he was to so many. Through the arts, he is still alive and those he loved can continue to remember just by walking the Overtown streets. Keep up the good work. Can't wait to see where you will go next.

Katharine Dickenson said...

Excellent blog. May I make a small suggestion...could you add the logo for the 450 commemoration of St. Augustine as next year is 450 years of America's oldest city?

glochrie said...

Thank you for your comments and suggestion. I have added the logo and link to the blog. St. Augustine is worth celebrating!