Ward House gets $50,000 annual fund
Miami Times staff report | 8/14/2014, 9 a.m.
Overtown’s historic Ward Rooming House gallery received a $50,000 annual commitment from the Southeast Overtown /Park West Redevelopment Agency.
The agency voted last week to give the amount on a yearly basis to the building, located across from the Dorsey House at 249 NW Ninth Street in the Historic Overtown Folklife Village.
The house sits next to the site where the former Coca Nip building once stood before it was demolished because of roof damage from a hurricane.
Owned by SEOPW, the gallery was designated a historic site in 2006. It joined the Historic Lyric Theatre, Greater Mt. Bethel AME Church and the Historic Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church as one few remaining structures from Overtown’s heyday.
The restored house has hosted art exhibits as well as special events and workshops featuring local artists. The Ward also co-produces cultural activities with the Lyric and sponsors exhibits during Art Basel. The Ward is open Tuesday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The number of visits to the gallery have increased with a many as 250 coming out for special events, according to The Black Archives of South Florida.
The gallery and some of the exhibits are featured in a video: “A Walk Through Historic Overtown,” produced by Visit Florida. It is being shown on You Tube. Because of the increased traffic, a docent has been provided to guide visitors through the exhibits.
Historians hope the funding will keep the Ward open as part of efforts to transform the historic site into a cultural destination.