The Real (And Really Cool) Gallery Girls Of Miami

Bravo's Gallery Girls might be a good source for some drama and a reality TV fix, but for the real art world scoop in Miami, we turn to the actual pros. Both Nina Johnson-Milewski from Gallery Diet and Laura Sheridan from Canvassed live and breath art in the 305, and have stopped to share some of what makes them tick…and more importantly, how they got to be such experts. Luckily for us, since aesthetics and creating ambience is their thing, each of these ladies have some major style. Hey, when you are surrounded by art, you've got to look your best, too.
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Nina Johnson-Milewski, Owner/Director, Gallery Diet

In three words, your personal style is…
“Fun, sarcastic, and eclectic.”

Finish this sentence: In all things art and fashion, style is…
“Necessary.”
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Is there any advice you have for aspiring gallery girls?
“Work hard, learn from the people around you, and look at art.”

How did you get your start in the art industry?
“I started interning at a commercial gallery in Miami when I was 15 years old.”
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In what ways has art helped shape your own aesthetic and style?
“Art teaches us to look at the world through various lenses. I think when you apply this type of thinking to fashion, it happens subconsciously. Just yesterday, I got dressed for an event and realized I was wearing three shades of yellow all present in the exhibition I had been installing all day.”
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Do you feel the blossoming Miami art scene is part of the reason that fashion houses are starting to thrive in the Magic City?
“Of course. Miami’s cultural community is not only bringing new faces into the city, it’s helping to redefine what people in Miami consider stylish or ‘en vogue,’ and as a result, the fashion houses are responding. It seems as though, every year, more sophisticated and interesting brands are opening up here: Marni, Margiela, Céline…”

What is your favorite exhibition currently on display at Diet?
“Tonight, we’re opening an exhibition of new works by Fabienne Lassarre, The Us and the It. The show is a line driven drawing space. The artist looked at the whiteness of the gallery and treated it like a piece of paper that she has drawn on with her sculptures.”
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Laura Sheridan, Director, Canvassed

Finish this sentence: If you could wear one item every day it would be…
“A scarf and a smile. Either item always enhances an outfit!”

In what ways has art helped shape your own aesthetic and style?
“Because Miami is a go-with-the-flow kind of city and the art world is equally lax, I get to play around with my wardrobe. In an effort to keep things equally professional and artsy, I often match blazers with feminine blouses and wedges with fun, printed dresses. Anytime I can add a scarf, I do! Scarves have a magically whimsical way of spicing up any outfit. I also like to play with nail polish and my curly hair.”
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How did you get your start in the art industry?
“By the ripe age of 25, I had worked at an art investment fund, ran one of the top contemporary art galleries in Miami, as the assistant director, and now aim to enhance the global art industry as the director of Canvassed. Art history, creativity, and ambition got me here, but it is my move-making mentality, high energy, and smile that makes me a real gallery girl!”

Is there any advice you have for aspiring gallery girls?
“I encourage anyone interested in forging a similar path to pursue your passion. Don’t listen to boring speculators that tell you you can’t land a dream job. Instead, fully immerse yourself in the art world. Learn art history, visit exhibitions at galleries and museums, and start to develop your personal aesthetic by seeing what artists and genres pique your interest. People will trust your aesthetic a lot more when you know how to explain what you’re looking at. Apply for internships in creative areas that seem interesting and, most importantly, go out and meet people. Never be too shy to introduce yourself to someone important. Building relationships will open doors. Creativity and a positive attitude will help you walk right through them.”
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If you could own any artwork in the world, what would it be?
“Asking me to choose my favorite artwork is like asking me to pick my favorite lipstick or dessert, nearly impossible! I would, however, opt to move in to Museé d’Orsay in Paris and reside amongst all of my favorite impressionist and modern masters. Rent shouldn’t be too crazy there, right?”

In your opinion, what is the most crucial part of the learning process when becoming a gallery girl?

“The ability to eloquently articulate the artwork on view to an audience. An art history education and ballsy personality certainly help!”
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What artist and fashion designer would you love to see collaborate?
“I would love to see a collaboration between Marc Jacobs and Frank Gehry on a line of evening gowns, as each of these visionairies has great command over elegantly flowing lines and form with soft or constructive materials.”

In what ways has art helped shape your own aesthetic and style?
“By fueling my creativity to mix unexpected materials in an effort to create one cohesive look. I often take an eclectic approach when curating my ensemble.”

Finish this sentence: The Miami art scene is…
“On the rise! Pulling from local influences and international exposure, the Miami art scene keeps building its global presence.”
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