We had the good fortune of connecting with Doug McCraw and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Doug, what is the most important factor behind your success?
The most important factor behind the success of FATVillage is building a world class team. We have built an extraordinary team by aggregating very talented people who share the same vision and passion. This covers a number of different disciplines including arts, technology and business resources that are shared across our organization. We have extensive social outreach and arts programming that features prominent national and international artists. The result has been the FATVillage brand which is nationally trademarked and has become a cornerstone of the arts in South Florida.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Over the last two decades, my business partner Lutz Hofbauer and I have developed FATVillage as an arts district whose purpose is to promote the creation, exhibition, curation, research, and education of emerging, contemporary artists. FATVillage strives to generate an art community that is inclusive through having many different programs as well as reinforcing cross disciplinary collaboration and experimentation. FATVillage incubates artists and “mashes” them with the professional business, design and technology community on-site. This produces art not in the traditional sense, or not how we may be accustomed to seeing it. FATVillage has launched companies with its resident artists, and tenant-creatives in partnership. We created FATVillage Arts District to rally philanthropic support around sustaining an artist community and it’s exciting to see how far we have come. When we first came to purchase the land, folks did not see the opportunity we saw. The four blocks consisted of older buildings and these great historical Hooks warehouses but the surrounding neighborhood crime rates were high. Despite that FATVillage thrived and subsequently a cultural emergence sprang up in Flagler Village. FATVillage has weathered the storms (literally and metaphorically) with resilience. Facing steadily rising values, and numerous opportunities/pressures to follow the typical narrative (handing over to market pegged development void of artist sustainability), we have stayed the course protecting the artistic mix for 21+ years. This is highly unusual on a national scale, especially amidst the greater displacement story of art communities worldwide. Our success has not been without obstacles but we have aggregated a talented team to help overcome them. As a result, FATVillage is planning a new phase in transformation. We’re partnering with Urban Street Development and The Restaurant People to develop a mixed use project consisting of an arts complex equipped with art galleries, cowork spaces, creative residential, and cutting edge tech space along with innovative restuarant and retail uses. It will be a very exciting, new arts centric addition to the South Florida community.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
We would visit Fort Lauderdale Beach, NSU Art Museum, Bonnet House, take a trip on the intracoastal; YOLO, Boatyard, and Township for drinks and dinner. We would also make sure to visit the creatives, artists, and techies during a tour in FATVillage Arts District.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Yes, I would like to dedicate this to my FATVillage Team.
Downtown Photo Monica McGivern