Arts & Culture

The Patron Saint: Patricia García-Vélez Hanna

An art director for a Miami real estate heavyweight advocates for creativity on a huge scale

A portrait of a woman in a green top wearing a pink necklace

Photo: The Related Group

Patricia García-Vélez Hanna.

On the side of Wynwood 25, a hulking building in Miami’s eponymous artsy district, three teenage faces gaze out over their neighborhood. Nearly nine stories high, the evocative mural can be seen for miles: exactly what Patricia García-Vélez Hanna envisioned when she helped commission the artist El Mac to paint it five years ago.

As the art director for the Related Group, a real estate development company, Hanna plays a prominent role in texturizing South Florida’s cultural landscape. While it’s unorthodox for a real estate firm to employ a full-time art director, it makes sense at Related, where each property displays work from international artists. “Art has the power to completely transform neighborhoods and give a voice to those who are otherwise underserved,” Hanna says. She shares this art-for-all sentiment with Related’s founder, Jorge Pérez, himself a prominent collector and patron of Miami’s art scene (in 2013, the city’s contemporary art museum was renamed in his honor).

While she’s never put brush to building herself, Hanna’s handprints are all over her city. In El Espacio 23, a gallery that Pérez founded in 2019 in the Allapattah neighborhood, for instance, Hanna co-curates sweeping exhibitions, like the current one on abstract textiles. In the heart of Edgewater, at Hanna’s behest, Mexican muralist Omar Barquet painted a flock of birds taking flight across two residential towers. In Hyde Midtown Miami, Hanna worked with the local photographer Anastasia Samoylova to create a large-scale, tropics-inspired installation on the lobby’s ceiling, a project that perfectly epitomizes Hanna’s ethos: “It was an opportunity to think of the artist’s work as something beyond the frame.”

Read more about the South’s new slate of artists, curators, preservationists, movers, and makers in Art’s Rising Vanguard.