PAX Miami

By Manuela Gabaldon

The hipster in me takes credit for knowing hit songs before they are even written, discovering new bands before they form, hot spots before they’re hot, and artists before they emerge; the hipster in me has met a perfect match. PAX (Performing Arts Exchange) has one-upped me and thrown me back into the dreamy-eyed leagues of the awestruck local. Only a bit more than a stone’s throw away from Miami art epicenters Wynwood and the Design District, PAX’s purposefully unassuming location between Brickell, Downtown, and Little Havana makes the place even more the destination spot with a dash of “locals-only”.

Not only does the venue look the part, giving us all an excuse to rock our combat boots, buddy holly-esque frames, and “I’m so strange I’m cool” looks as we hangout under the i95 overpass, it actually delivers the “now”, creating underground buzz and the acclaim of all the right pubs-err, publications – for all the right reasons: innovation, originality, authenticity, boldness, and guts!

PAX excels in its mission of “fostering cultural diversity through the arts in hopes of World Peace. For the intellectually-curious, free-thinking individual who appreciates original music and art,” (as stated on, acting as coffee house, hangout, and free-Wifi spot for all by day and afterhours stage by night. The spot offers the free thinkers it summons a haven to discover new passions and art forms, and most importantly, a place to enjoy artistic expression free of judgment and conventional standards.

“PAX is the perfect place to stay in touch with every type of artistic expression there is,” says Yulliana Duarte, PAX friend and regular, “with a calendar that is full of amazing activities, right in the middle of 8th Street.”

Its roster of unique artists grows almost on a daily basis, as its founders, art dealer and local band manager Roxanne Scalia and her business partner Jerry Pennington, tirelessly exercise their knack for scouting and presenting worthy and original performers like musician Sergent Garcia, Miami band ¡Suénalo!, DJ Le Spam & Spam Allstars, Conjunto Progreso, and Afro-Cuban Funk leaders PALO!, to name a few.

Scalia, who became almost famous for commendably executing the transformation of an abandoned Miami Herald distribution center into the quirky-cool venue that is now PAX, with everything from thrift store one-of-a-finds to Warhol’s Interview excerpts pasted all over the bathroom stalls, has distinguished herself from the pack of trade wannabes by more than making good on her promise of delivering “a genuine, authentic space for artistic expression,” that is as legitimate as it gets.

Obviously not one to disappoint, Scalia has booked a calendar of events for PAX through the end of October, giving us all so much to look forward to in the immediate months; because who wants to wait until December for everything? “Although I am in love with Miami and what has already become and established art scene with an expected and necessary calendar,” says another PAX regular, “I am really glad that PAX has its own rules, and doesn’t focus its efforts on only delivering the best of the best come Basel time. There’s always something going on there!”

Undoubtedly a local pioneer in the performing arts and music scene, PAX has also made a place for itself in the digital space with a website, that although minimal and beautifully clean in design, is chuck-full of new media goodies. Whether you were left wanting more, or are simply geo-challenged, is a way to keep up with the music venue via recap videos, livestreaming sessions, photos, and social connections to all of PAX’s channels a la Facebook and Twitter. Its foursquare venue is also popping, with hundreds of check-ins, as well as several good tips from local scene surfers and cool hunters. It is important that just as we stay current with the arts, the arts stay current with us, and PAX’s efforts to reach us, its audience, online and off definitely sets it apart from the bunch.

Some things we can look out for from PAX? Performances by the Rodolfo Zuniga Trio, Johnny Dread, Elastic Bond, the Absinthe Trio, Bachaco, Rose Max, Afro Kumbe, Timbalive and so many more.

The real beauty of PAX is that every person that walks through its doors is considered an artist. Whether you are the observer or the performer, you are part of the greater good, the bigger picture, the larger cause; at PAX, you are the pulp of art.

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