Mad Arts Triples Footprint

The immersive art museum will broaden educational programs.

Mad Arts means business in 2024. The organization—which is an incubator for technology-forward projects and collaborations—announced in December the opening of an immersive new art museum. The opening of this permanent home in Dania Beach marks a watershed moment for South Florida’s art and technology ecosystem.

With more than triple the current gallery space and an outdoor garden, the multi-million-dollar museum expansion enables Mad Arts to present an elevated high-tech program showcasing experiential artwork driven by emerging technologies.

Executive Director Marc Aptakin’s vision for the 50,000-square-foot building is a bold concept that responds to the rapid pace of technological advancements and the importance of culture as a unifying force.

“Our vision for the Mad Arts Museum is a response to the rapid pace of technological advancements that highlight the importance of culture as a unifying force,” Aptakin says. “This new expansion will allow us to broaden the diverse spectrum of immersive art installations and provide much needed educational programs to further support our community’s cultural capital and diverse interests. When art is presented in its truest form by artists who want to advance change, it opens the door for guests to think, grow, and learn in an environment that is as unique as the people who visit.”  

The museum’s opening will have more than 20 exhibitions from a diverse range of artists. The highlights of the inaugural program at Mad Arts are RÉSONANCES, an installation by Canadian artist LP Rondeau co-produced by ELEKTRA and distributed by Wireframe Public Art; Core (2020), by the French company Adrien M & Claire B; SysCalls, by Stockholm-based artist Jaime Reyes and re|thread, a collective of software researchers, artists and designers; and The Light Pours Out of Me, an intermedia performance/sound installation by local artist Richard Vergez.

4th Dimension by OLO Creative Farm

Key to the entire experience is an educational flair. “Shortly after the museum opens, MadLabs Academy will be in full swing, teaching both students and professional artists how to infuse technology into their artwork,” Aptakin says. “Because the museum is backed by our Innovation Agency, MadLabs, students have the opportunity to interact with all of the technology that we use every day. From engineering to fabrication, there are a million things involved, and all those elements will be taught within the academy. Students can learn about 3D scanning or projection mapping, gaining access to our incredible motion capture studio. They will have the much-needed hands-on access to the technology they need to grow their knowledge base as both artists and technologists.”  

On the new second floor, Mad Arts will showcase the commissioned work of renowned Japanese artist Makoto Tojiki titled Existence, which is inspired by the interconnectedness of light and shadow; three holographic projections sculptures by Studio McGuire: Ophelia, The Hunter, and Sirens; LASER LIKE WATER, an immersive laser, sound, and water installation by JS Baillat, Ottomata, and Diagraf; an immersive installation by OLO creative farm titled 4TH DIMENSION; the acclaimed installation by Akiko Yamashita, Forest Perception—if a tree talks in a forest, does anyone listen?

Thomas Garnier brings both Taotie, a technological reinterpretation of Fantasmagoria shadow play from the eighteenth century, and Strates, an installation based on photomontage work that superimposes two eras; a site-specific commission that will become part of Mad Arts’ permanent collection called The Empty Mirror of the Sky, by the artist collective Shuster + Moseley, where visitors can contemplate the flickering strands and spontaneous spheres of light reflected on a series of suspended lenses; and the work by Mad Arts’ engine collaborator MadLabs, with three site-specific installations: Luminescent Sylva, Infinite Dimensions and Nano Groove, in addition to hidden gems that visitors will discover while on site.

These commissions show Mad Arts’ commitment to experimentation, risk and believing in artists’ projects by taking them from ideation to completion. And, according to Aptakin, it’s only the beginning. “Moving forward,” he says, “MadLabs Academy also hopes to pair students with high-level artists to work on installations that will later be shown in the museum. There is a constant parade of artists interacting with our technology and we are teaching them new ways to express themselves, from learning TouchDesigner to understanding how to use Dragon O hardware from LED Pulse.”

Whenever tech and education are involved, Mad Arts will be one to watch in 2024 and well beyond.

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Drew Limsky

Drew Limsky



Drew Limsky joined Lifestyle Media Group in August 2020 as Editor-in-Chief of South Florida Business & Wealth. His first issue of SFBW, October 2020, heralded a reimagined structure, with new content categories and a slew of fresh visual themes. “As sort of a cross between Forbes and Robb Report, with a dash of GQ and Vogue,” Limsky says, “SFBW reflects South Florida’s increasingly sophisticated and dynamic business and cultural landscape.”

Limsky, an avid traveler, swimmer and film buff who holds a law degree and Ph.D. from New York University, likes to say, “I’m a doctor, but I can’t operate—except on your brand.” He wrote his dissertation on the nonfiction work of Joan Didion. Prior to that, Limsky received his B.A. in English, summa cum laude, from Emory University and earned his M.A. in literature at American University in connection with a Masters Scholar Award fellowship.

Limsky came to SFBW at the apex of a storied career in journalism and publishing that includes six previous lead editorial roles, including for some of the world’s best-known brands. He served as global editor-in-chief of Lexus magazine, founding editor-in-chief of custom lifestyle magazines for Cadillac and Holland America Line, and was the founding editor-in-chief of Modern Luxury Interiors South Florida. He also was the executive editor for B2B magazines for Acura and Honda Financial Services, and he served as travel editor for Conde Nast. Magazines under Limsky’s editorship have garnered more than 75 industry awards.

He has also written for many of the country’s top newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, Boston Globe, USA Today, Worth, Robb Report, Afar, Time Out New York, National Geographic Traveler, Men’s Journal, Ritz-Carlton, Elite Traveler, Florida Design, Metropolis and Architectural Digest Mexico. His other clients have included Four Seasons, Acqualina Resort & Residences, Yahoo!, American Airlines, Wynn, Douglas Elliman and Corcoran. As an adjunct assistant professor, Limsky has taught journalism, film and creative writing at the City University of New York, Pace University, American University and other colleges.