By: Kara Franker
Miami’s vibrant arts and culture scene continues to evolve at a rapid pace.
What started as a handful of artistic spaces only a decade ago has exploded into more than 30 thriving arts and culture organizations and more than 60 artist studios in Downtown Miami alone. And the community momentum shows no signs of slowing down.
Art is everywhere in Miami—from the walls that line the Miami Riverwalk to impressive historical sculptures standing in Bayfront Park. Downtown Miami is home to a wide range of art in unexpected places, including pedestrian walkways, inside hotels and even showcased in several Metrorail and Metromover Stations.
Let’s take a closer look at the dynamic offerings Downtown Miami has in the form of unique art and cultural experiences.
Situated directly on Biscayne Bay and housed in a state-of-the-art campus designed by world-renowned architects Herzog & de Meuron, Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) features 200,000 sprawling square feet of artistic wonder. It’s a playground for adults and kids alike. Think experiential art, up-close-and-personal exhibits, forays into film and education, and a shaded outdoor veranda with hanging gardens and panoramic water views. PAMM is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and is open late on Thursdays, until 9 p.m.
Joining PAMM in what’s known as Museum Park, the Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science is scheduled to open in the summer of 2016 in its new home in Downtown. Expect interactive exhibits and exciting learning adventures as the museum showcases basic concepts in science and technology. The current location in Coconut Grove is open Monday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Located nearby, the Miami Children’s Museum is situated on Watson Island, just off of the MacArthur Causeway, leading out to Miami Beach. A perfect way to spend the day and entertain the kids, the facility includes 14 galleries, classrooms, an auditorium and permanent exhibits like a cruise ship, giant sandcastle, 900-gallon marine tank, music studio and more. The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Situated in the heart of Downtown, HistoryMiami is located on historic Flagler Street and preserves exhibitions showcasing Miami’s rich history. For a unique and educational take on Miami’s past, book one of the many city tour options (walk, bike, boat or coach) and learn from a distinguished historical scholar. Additionally, HistoryMiami is a Smithsonian Institution Affiliate. Hours are Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on weekends from 12 noon to 5 p.m. Closed on Mondays.
Nestled inside the historic Freedom Tower in Downtown, the MDC Museum of Art + Design showcases visual art and design. Attend one of the many year round events, including lectures, symposiums and art exhibitions. Group tours are available during gallery hours (Wednesday through Sunday from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.).
Private & Non-Profit Art Collections
For a look at stunning art collections maintained by private and non-profit organizations, visit:
• The Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation (CIFA) at 1018 N. Miami Avenue
• Aluna Art Foundation at 172 W. Flagler Street
• The Artisan Lounge at 500 N.E. 1st Avenue
• Miami Center for Architecture & Design (MCAD) at 100 N.E. 1st Avenue
• National YoungArts Foundation at 2100 Biscayne Boulevard
• BasFisher Invitational at DWNTWN Art House at 100 N.E. 11th Street
• Artopia Art Center at 1723 N.E. 2nd Avenue
• Avant Gallery at 270 Biscayne Boulevard Way
• CU-1 Gallery at 117 N.E. 1st Avenue
• Lou La Vie Gallery at 1444 Biscayne Boulevard
• Nina Torres Fine Art at 1800 N. Bayshore Drive
• Primary Projects at 151 N.E. 7th Street
Dress up for an afternoon at the theater, ballet, opera or take in a live music show. The Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts is a state-of-the-art performing arts center located in the heart of Downtown. The center is comprised of the 2,400-seat Ziff Ballet Opera House, an intimate Carnival Studio Theater, 2,200-seat Knight Concert Hall and spacious Thompson Plaza designed for outdoor performances. The Adrienne Arsht Center hosts greats like the Cleveland Orchestra, Miami City Ballet, the Florida Grand Opera and New World Symphony.
Nearby, the Olympia Theater at Gusman Center offers a majestic escape into a historic venue featuring ornate decor and gold balconies. It’s the crown jewel of the South Florida art and entertainment facilities. Dating back to 1926, the theater has hosted such greats as the Vaudeville stars, Elvis Presley and Etta James.
The modern day Mecca for major entertainment events is AmericanAirlines Arena, located on the edge of Biscayne Bay. Not only is the arena home to the Miami HEAT NBA basketball team, it also hosts some of the biggest musical headliners in the world—from Gloria Estefan to Juan Gabriel and Miley Cyrus to Madonna.
Every year in September, Downtown Miami hosts more than 50 events for DWNTWN Art Days. Expect exhibitions, art tours, artists open studios, arts conferences, film screenings and “surprise interactions with public projects,” The weekend brings together neighbors, local art enthusiasts and tourists in conversation to celebrate the thriving arts scene in the area. Enjoy special programming for kids, happy hour exhibitions, experiences in the arts and after-parties. Many of the arts and culture institutions open their doors and coordinate programming under one umbrella.
To view the ever-growing calendar of arts and culture events in Downtown Miami, please visit dwntwnarts.com.
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