The followers of Swami Bhaktivedantas Krishna Consciousness moved out of the compound on Kumquat Ave in Coconut Grove around the same time the old Winn Dixie dies and rose again as an exclusive shopping mall, the Mayfair. Gone are the sickly dogs that would hang out in the parking lot hoping for scraps and gone are the craft shops that surrounded it.
The of the Sandpiper with its handmade quilts, the Key West Fabric Shop, Dupriests Old Book Shop, Berts Groceries, I Ching and the barn where hippies would hang out to listen to folk music and blues. The Oak Fee Natural Food Store still exists and the Grove Art Cinema is still offering alternative films long into the Groves metamorphosis. Now developer Manny Medina is launching a campaign, “In Search of the Lost Artist”, a hunt for the artiistic spirit that many still remain in Coconut Grove.
This was the case for Eileen Seitz, a 36 year old painter who has lived all over the Caribbean, Central America, South America. She settined in the Grove in 1979, first selling her watercolors mounted on cards at the Saturday morning Farmers Market. Her Tropical subjects bright fish
and lush foliage with a life of its own, were conducive to the outdoor market. Here the lsat of the ’60’s persons sold goods ranging from Mexican hammocks to sun-dried tomatoes. She worked in and around the Grove for years, bicycling to the post office to mail out her most
recent productions to a company that began manufacturing them and making frequent trips to the Caribbean to do commissioned murals. It wasn’t until last August that she finally bought a car and was able to do more than mail service. The paintings have taken off,selling in poster form,
limited edition prints and originals. Now she saids” Its not like I am on my own anymore, like a hippie moving here and there. I have priorities now. There are cards Posters that have to go out and I have someone in my life who I am responsible to”.Her change, she said is mirrored in the Grove’s. “The Grove’s external change reflects my own inner change.” The more clients coming in her who have a knowledge of quality art, the better it is for me. I have grown and expanded because of that”. But she saids she feels no particular allegiance to the area either. Who wants to be a local artist when galleries ignore them and they are underrated by the community? ” I am not a local artist,” she explains, ” I am based in Coconut grove because I have to plant myself somewhere so people can find me.”
Two months ago she moved into a two-story townhouse with a garden. Mexican tile floors and a modern kitchen. It’s a far cry, she says from the place she had on Matilda Street that embarrassed her and “cramped in every way”. Mary Stapp- Miami News Correspondent