O, Miami accepting proposals for 2016 poetry festival

Arts / Article

Melody Santiago Cummings is operations manager for O, Miami, an organization that promotes literary culture in Greater Miami and receives Knight Foundation support. Photo by Michael D. Bolden on Flickr.

O, Miami is now accepting proposals for events and projects to take place during our next festival in April 2016.

Each year, we try to adopt more and more sophisticated strategies for delivering a poem to every single person in Greater Miami. This year, we’re using our open submission period to target three communities outside of the downtown core that we feel we haven’t done enough in: West Kendall, Hialeah, and Opa-locka.

“Each of these communities has an exciting combination of people, history, and leaders, and we’re thrilled to see what kinds of ideas Miamians have for creating poetry in these communities,” says O, Miami Director P. Scott Cunningham.

The 2015 festival reached more people and communities in Miami-Dade County than ever before. Our “in-person” audience was 15 percent higher than in 2014. Based on surveys, we reached 49 out of 72 ZIP codes in Miami-Dade County, and we received 3,304 “ZIP odes” from 187 different South Florida ZIP codes. That’s not even taking into account the impressions from such projects as our intervention on the side of the InterContinental Miami hotel downtown (estimated at just shy of 2 million impressions during April) and the Steve Powers mural on the side of The Carlton Hotel on South Beach, nor does it take into the account the many other projects from 2014, including the poems we hid inside magazines at hair salons, the 1700 “poetry popsicles” we handed out and the poems we gold-leafed onto urinals.

But we can still do better. O, Miami is working with leaders in West Kendall, Hialeah, and Opa-locka to bring more of the festival to their communities. Ideas for events and projects in these three places will be given priority during the proposal review process, but any idea that offers effective and novel ways to bridge the gap between poetry and people will be seriously considered.

The submission period closes Oct. 16. For more information on what we’re looking for, visit omiami.org/submissions2016.

We look forward to hearing your ideas for making Miami more poetic in 2016.

An O, Miami billboard in Little Havana.