This walkable neighborhood is overflowing with talent. The Design District is best known as a hub for high-end shopping, and it’s continuing to expand in that direction, but right along-side the development of designer stores and specialty boutiques is a growing number of galleries and music venues. New names are coming to the area everyday for the spirit of creativity, fresh architecture and innovative ambiance. There are some long term residents, like the Design and Architecture Senior High (DASH), that have roots in the neighborhood’s creative history.
The defining feature of the Design District is the distinct feel of cool. Well dressed men and women sit in outdoor cafes taking meetings, tourists visit to stock up on the latest in everything from Prada handbags to hanging antique light fixtures and local artists call this eclectic urban neighborhood home.
While there are certainly plenty of material things you’ll want to take home with you, the Design District isn’t about the superficial. Stop by to feel the energy of a burgeoning neighborhood on the rise or to soak up some live music at The Stage, a venue right in the heart of the District. Pop into a gallery and take some art home with you.
The Wywood Art Walk on the Second Saturday of every month has become a huge sensation with thousands of visitors flocking the streets and galleries for a high-energy dose of art and culture. But it was the Design District who first started the new tradition. The Design District’s Art Walk, on the same night every month as Wynwood’s (just a few blocks down the street) is a quieter alternative to the younger hustle and bustle over in Wynwood.
Every month design showrooms stay open late, galleries open the doors to their current exhibits and musicians and artists set up stands on the streets to show a new audience their work. Make a reservation in advance as neighborhood restaurants see the busiest day of the month during Art Walk.
This is a popular free monthly event for families, art enthusiasts, visitors, and anyone looking to enjoy some fresh air and a look at this up-and-coming neighborhood.
The Design District developed the character it has today when artists and collectors moved into the area. Today, there are more than a dozen art spaces of all kinds from small personal spaces, to public displays of huge private art collections and everything in between.
The de la Cruz Collection Contemporary Art Space moved into a 30,000 square foot structure filled with the private collection of Rosa and Carlos de la Cruz. These collectors of contemporary art support artists in residency programs, exhibitions and educational programs. Supporters of the local scene, the de la Cruz Collection encourages artists to create site-specific work. Another notable achievement of the Collection is the scholarship and travel program for young visual artists. The de la Cruz Collection is open Tuesdays to Sundays and the collection, programs, lectures and libraries are free.
Locust Projects started out as a seedling non-profit art project by three Miami friends and artists and has developed into a nationally recognized space “dedicated to providing contemporary visual artists the freedom to experiment with new ideas without the pressure of gallery sales or limitations of conventional exhibition spaces.” Their new space in the Design District has shows of their much buzzed-about exhibitions.
Other notable cultural institutions include Swampspace and Primary Projects.
The Design District’s flagship music venue is The Stage. The Stage, an indoor and outdoor space, is more than a music venue, although they excel at choosing the best live music in town, they also show screenings of films, hold art events and produce unique events that blend all forms of art and culture. At The Stage you’ll find everything you can expect from a great bar, but done better; there’s karaoke on Tuesdays with a live band backing you up, there’s club style bottle service and there’s live music just about every night of the week. The Stage has three full bars, easy parking and always high-quality live music.
The vision of DASH, Design and Architecture Senior High, is to “educate talented students to become confident and innovative thinkers through interdisciplinary challenges in the visual arts in preparation for college and a career in the design world.” This esteemed program in the heart of the Design District was named one of the best high schools in the country by U.S. News in 2012. The school focuses on architecture, interior design, industrial design, visual communications, fashion design and entertainment technology.
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