The Miami Flea Creator Who’s Filling a Cultural Void

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Isabella Acker has only been in South Florida for ten years. But in that decade, she’s helped transform Miami’s cultural community… and she sees no point in slowing down.

As the founder and curator behind Prism Creative Group, she’s bringing programming to Miami to help bring about a sense of community, which entails everything from free events to local shows and monthly happenings. She identifies a cultural void, and she fills it. “We want to align ourselves with anyone or anything that is contributing to the cultural landscape of Miami,” she says.

That was the case with the Miami Flea. Now in its second year, it brings local artisans, DIYers, vintage lovers, and more for a day filled with music, food, and fun. Talk about reinventing Sunday Funday.

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What inspired you to create Prism Creative Group after The Black Key Group? 

Prism was birthed two years ago with a dire need and desire to create experiences for community beyond music. It’s a 2.0 of Black Key Group—Black Key was created from the result of the dispersed music scene, we represented local and emerging talents, while promoting the local music scene. I knew we could make a bigger impact morphing into a creative agency to help elevate the entire music scene, and eventually expand into the other creative scenes throughout the city and affect change. Prism’s larger mission is to re-brand Miami and change the way locals and travelers alike interact with the vibrant community.

What inspired you to create Miami Flea? What was that process like?

Throughout our travels we’ve noticed that every world-class city has a gathering place for makers, artisans, foodies, and enthusiasts. Working on a project like the creation of the A+E District afforded the team and I to bring so many of our passion points to life. With this project specifically, we were lucky to be tapped by developers (NR Investments) that had the same holistic vision in mind: being driven by the necessity to create a real community, which can be hard to find in Miami. The Miami Flea spoke to all of that and we couldn’t believe it hadn’t been done to this degree.

The process is quite extensive—we put out a monthly call for vendors, comb through the 400-600 applicants, and narrow it down to 100. After we confirm all of our artisanal craft and maker vendors, we move on to the Grub Garden—we select 12 to 15 eateries, everything from sweet to savory, that range from small mom-and-pops to second restaurant owners/chefs.

After all of our vendors and Grub Garden are confirmed, we focus on the experiential elements. We book 4 bands for the A+E Live Stage, we have a Kid’s Corner by Little Creative Souls, live henna, hair braiding, Biscayne Poet doing interactive and personalized poetry, puppies for adoption by local Jamie’s Rescue, to name a few. We also have Mac’s Pubs, which specializes in handcrafted cocktails with fresh and seasonal ingredients. We really focus on making the Flea something much bigger than a place to shop: it’s a gathering place to meet your local makers, enjoy local bands that you might discovering, savor tastes from every part of Miami, and experience a sense of place where everyone is welcome.

What differences have you seen between the first Miami Flea and the most recent? How’s it developed?

Ha, night and day! I still remember the first Flea and I still don’t know how we were able to fit everyone. That was August 2016. We had 40 vendors at the time, and although we had all the same elements (grub garden, live stage etc), it was so packed, you couldn’t move so people didn’t stay to hang out and lounge like they do now. We had no idea what to expect and couldn’t believe how much the city wanted something like this. Now, the Miami Flea lives on a lot three-times larger than the original space, with over 100 makers and dozens of eateries where thousands of attendees gather together. The widespread local reception and the programming we’ve been able to produce within the A+E has really become a catalyst for Prism and has helped revitalize the local community in a way Miami hasn’t known until recently.

What are some advancements you’re hoping to bring to Miami Flea in the coming months?

We are always looking for ways to incorporate new elements and exciting experiences. We’ve seen that the Flea has actually drawn vendors from all the way up to St. Petersburg, so we’d love to continue to extend the opportunities to vendors from all around Florida. Florida has a vibrant maker community in Orlando and Tampa as well, so we’d love to nurture those relationships. We want to continue elevating the food space in our Grub Garden—we’ve worked hard to get concepts out of their food trucks and into pop-ups that allow them to connect with their customers on a grounded level. It creates a more personal experience for the consumer and allows you to be a voyeur into the cooking process. We’ll always be working with local bands but we would also love to bring emerging acts from all over to expose their music to Miami’s engaged community. In short: keeping the elements everybody loves, but always exploring new concepts, talent and vendors.

What other regular events are on the horizon for Prism Creative Group?

We’ve got some really exciting events cooking up! Of course we have the Miami Flea every third Sunday of the month. Miami’s 21st Century Orchestra doing epic renditions of Radiohead and Daft Punk with a special collaboration with Colombian band Monsiuer Perine on Feb 16, The Raddest Craft Fair on March 4th, to name a few. We always have things pop-up last minute so the best way to keep up is to follow us on Instagram.

The next Miami Flea will be held on February 19. For more information, follow them on Instagram at @miamiflea.

Christine Borges

Christine Borges

Christine Borges is a writer and editor based in Miami. She specializes in music, fashion and the arts.

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