Art, Exercise Merge at Visionary CrossFit

The artistic owners of the year-old gym on North Main Street are hosting an eye-opening exhibition during Artwalk Gainesville on Friday night.


Carrie Wachter Martinez and Jesus Martinez in front of the mural they worked on at High Dive.
Carrie Wachter Martinez and Jesus Martinez in front of the mural they worked on at High Dive. (Photo by Gainesville Downtown)

This has been a hectic week for Carrie Wachter Martinez and Jesus Martinez—all for the sake of art.

The Gainesville couple has been busy painting a mural on a wall at High Dive in time for the music venue’s monthly food-truck rally on Saturday. Meanwhile, they have been hustling to put together an impressive art exhibition they will host Friday night at their Visionary CrossFit studios at 716 N. Main St.

Titled “Expanded Visions” and featuring the work of seven artists, the show will be one of the featured stops during the first Artwalk Gainesville event of 2016.

Artwalk Gainesville is a monthly self-guided tour of downtown area galleries, art spaces and other arts-minded businesses. The event takes place from 7-10 p.m. at 21 venues.

For the January Artwalk, new venues include 8LP Design (1313 S. Main St.), the new Gainesville Fine Arts Association space (1314 S. Main St.), the new Hardback Café (211 W. University Ave.), City Church (19 SW 1st St.), the Upstairs Gallery (15 N. Main St.), 4 Most Gallery (534 SW 4th Ave.) and LEJ Pretzel (620 S. Main St.). Also during Artwalk, local painter Milan Hooper opens a month-long exhibition at the SoMa Art Media Hub (601 S. Main St.).

For a complete list of Friday’s venues and other info, visit the Artwalk Gainesville website.

Snow Day, Visionary Crossfit, High Dive murals 035Visionary CrossFit has participated in previous Artwalks, but not on the scale of “Expanded Visions.” Open until midnight, the exhibit will include black-light art, 3-dimensional art, visionary art, surrealistic art, psychedelic art and a multimedia art installation.

In addition to paintings by the Martinezes, the artists will include Robert Roberg, Tim Malles, Turbado Marabou, Claire-Lyne “Xylena” Apotheloz and Cloud. There will also be live-art performance music and dance as well as a live exhibition by models in body paint.

“It’s going to be very immersive and a lot of fun,” Carrie Martinez said.

Artwalk participants can expect a powerful moving experience as they wander through three large galleries, including one illuminated only with black light.

Due to the show’s cost, Visionary CrossFit is charging members $5 and nonmembers $7 to see the exhibit. The cost includes drinks, 3D glasses and glow sticks. Carrie Martinez added that the exhibit can be intense and is not intended for children.

Visionary CrossFit is located in the building that once housed the Doris art center.
Visionary CrossFit is located in the building that once housed the Doris art center on North Main Street.

The Artwalk exhibit will use much of Visionary CrossFit’s 5,000-square-foot facility, including a spacious outdoor courtyard/patio. In one gallery, Xylena will have a “water shrine” that will include projected images beneath an arched trellis.

Two of Robert Robergs 3-D paintings.
Two of Robert Roberg’s 3-D paintings.

Roberg will display a number of pieces that once hung in his America’s First 3-D Fluorescent Art Museum, which closed last year in Newberry. Visionary CrossFit’s main workout room, usually filled with free weights and other workout equipment, will be lined with black-light artwork best enjoyed with 3D glasses.

“It’s a very soul-stirring exhibit, exploring life and death and the spiritual dimensions of both,” Carrie Martinez said.

Malles is known for his landscapes and astronomy themes. Earlier this week, he used his celestial knowledge to paint a galaxy on the new High Dive mural.

Marabou’s richly detailed drawings and paintings depict mostly African themes. The Gainesville native’s work can also be seen on a mural panel at the Stereo Hi-Fi building on South Main Street.

Cloud was gallery manager and event producer for Alex Gray’s Chapel of Sacred Mirrors in upstate New York. She also has been involved with Miami’s Moksha Family Arts Collective Gallery.

A mural by Carrie Wachter Martinez adorns a wall outside Visionary CrossFit.
A mural of jellyfish and a woman by Carrie Wachter Martinez adorns a wall outside Visionary CrossFit.

Of course, Carrie and Jesus Martinez will also have work displayed during Artwalk. Carrie, whose studio is in the front of the Visionary CrossFit building, also painted three murals around the outside of the gym.

A "workout of the day" illustration by Jesus Martinez on the gyms whiteboard.
A “workout of the day” illustration by Jesus Martinez on the gym’s whiteboard.

Jesus, also a painter and illustrator, is known for his intricate “workout-of-the-day” drawings adorning the whiteboard inside Visionary CrossFit’s workout area.

Celebrating its first anniversary this month, the gym has a lofty mission, according to Carrie Martinez.

“We created a transformational space for people, embodying mind, body and spirit through fitness, art and music,” she said.

“We are trying to bring beauty and inspiration to Gainesville,” Jesus Martinez added. “We’re also trying to give people a creative avenue for visionary art that sometimes gets overlooked in mainstream galleries.”

Visionary CrossFit members go through their workout with art as a backdrop.
Visionary CrossFit members go through their workout regimen with art as a backdrop.

The environment at Visionary CrossFit is unique in that gym members are exposed to the arts and culture while engaging in high-intensity interval training.

“I like looking at the artwork while I’m working out and listening to the music,” said gym member Martin Sarmiento, who was catching his breath after a session of metabolic conditioning.

“Carrie’s art is very inspiring,” added gym member Yasmin Rivas. “It would feel empty without it.”

Jesus Martinez supervises a training session at Visionary CrossFit.
Jesus Martinez supervises a training session at Visionary CrossFit.

Regular class workouts are comprised of dynamic warmups, strength training, metabolic conditioning and midline core stability.

“You are receiving comprehensive physical training that improves your ability to function in life,” said Jesus Martinez, who has shed 100 pounds using CrossFit methods and through dieting.

“We want [the gym] to be accessible to everyone,” Carrie said, adding that the youngest member is 15 and the oldest member is 88. “We don’t want anyone to feel intimidated.”

The Martinez family, including children ages 7 and 9, settled in Gainesville less than two years ago. They had lived in northern California the previous 15 years. Jesus was a carpenter (it’s true!) while Carrie developed her artistic side.

Married 17 years, the couple met in Jesus’ hometown of Miami. Carrie, a Pennsylvania native, didn’t pursue painting until she was an adult.

“I am a self-taught artist, but it runs in my DNA,” she said. “My grandmother was a painter and a muralist.

The mural by Carrie Wachter Martinez and her husband, Jesus, on the wall at High Dive.
The mural by Carrie Wachter Martinez and her husband, Jesus, on the wall at High Dive.

Carrie and Jesus Martinez have been working on the High Dive mural for the past two weeks. The focal point is a woman holding a galaxy, flanked on either side by stands of trees. The woman used as a model is Stephanie Lee, a local elementary school teacher.

“We’re trying to make a very Southern mural with oaks and Spanish moss,” Carrie Martinez said. “There is kind of a swampy vibe to it.”

She said her murals and many paintings follow common themes that include empowered and wise women, beauty as well as natural and celestial objects.

“These are the first murals I’ve ever painted, and I love it,” she said. “It’s a great way to get your art out there. The bigger the better!”

When asked is she was getting paid for her 10 days of work on the mural, Carrie Martinez shook her head.

“This is our gift to High Dive and to Gainesville,” she said. “We’re doing this to balance out the murals going up around town by international artists. We want to show that local artists also have talent.”

— Noel Leroux


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Visionary CrossFit

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Visionary CrossFit 29.658689, -82.325234 716 North Main Street, Gainesville, FL, United States (Directions)


Visionary CrossFit
716 N. Main St.
Gainesville, FL 32601
Phone: 786.447.8503

For further info, visit Visionary CrossFit on Facebook.
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