Art & Culture on Miami Beach

By: Jennifer Agress

Looking for a taste of arts and culture in Miami Beach? Check out these museums, art events, concerts and more.

As proven by its robust Art Deco history and brightly-colored architecture, Miami Beach is central hub of arts and culture in South Florida. Home to the world-famous Art Basel Miami Beach, and with a landscape pretty much guaranteed to inspire creativity, this iconic destination boasts everything from a professional orchestra and art-inspired hotels, to Art Deco haunts, historic museums, popular art events, resident artists and more. And to make sure you see all it has to offer, we’ve rounded up some of Miami Beach’s top arts and culture “must-dos,” listed below:

Art Basel Miami Beach

When December comes around, all of Miami turns its attention to Art Basel Miami Beach. Taking place in the Miami Beach Convention Center, this core exhibit brings together top galleries from North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia and Africa, spanning styles from modern and contemporary art, to traditional paintings, sculptures, installations, photographs, films and more. But it doesn’t stop there. Unarguably one of Miami’s top annual events, this art-centric week has gone beyond the boundaries of Basel – becoming a city-wide festival of satellite art exhibits, celebrity parties, restaurant events, art auctions and fashion shows that A-listers from across the globe rush to take part in.

New World Symphony

First launched nearly 30 years ago, the New World Symphony (NWS) – dubbed “America’s Orchestral Academy” – is a graduate orchestral program that prepares musicians from distinguished music programs for future leadership in professional orchestras and ensembles. Co-founded by Artistic Director Michael Tilson Thomas and Lin and Ted Arison, and still led by Michael Tilson Thomas today, NWS is made up of 87 fellowship musicians. This program gives these musicians in-depth exposure to traditional and modern repertoire, and lets them work with some of the top artists and conductors from around the world. In addition to its sold-out concerts, New World Symphony even offers virtual learning experiences and community engagement projects, emphasizing the power of education for musicians of all ages.

Faena Art District

Perched between 32nd and 36th Street, on Collins Avenue, the Faena Hotel Miami Beach has become recognized for its over-the-top artistic flair. A hotel at its core, this lavish spot is also home to the non-profit institution Faena Art, which is found in all Faena hotels and residences across the globe. More of a complex than a hotel, this multi-building center includes the extravagant hotel, as well as a restaurant, spa, and art installations and wall murals everywhere you turn. It’s home to Faena Forum, a public 50-thousand square foot performance space, that serves as a destination of its own; a fusion of art, recreation, nature, sustainable architecture and technology.

Art & Culture Museums

If museums pique your interest, look no further than Miami Beach. The Wolfsonian – FIU, which is located right in the heart of South Beach’s Art Deco District, boasts a museum, library and research center that looks into the power of art, and how it impacts the modern world today. Home to 120,000 items on display, all of which date from 1885 to 1945, this complex has an impressive collection of American and European decorative and fine arts, as well as fascinating exhibitions filled with everything from propaganda posters to modern design elements. For a taste of culture, check out another one of FIU’s artistic partnerships – the Jewish Museum of Florida – and its most prominent exhibition: MOSAIC: Jewish Life in Florida, 1763-Present. This core exhibition houses a collection of photography and artifacts tells the story of the Jewish experience in Florida, and how they still influence the cultural dynamics of the U.S. today.

Additionally, the Bass Museum of Art has been located in Miami Beach since it was first founded in 1963. It houses Renaissance and Baroque works belonging to art collectors John and Johanna Bass, as well as the Lindemann Family Creativity Center – a special wing that hosts the IDEA@thebass program, a schedule of art classes and workshops. Since its inception, the museum has doubled in size – growing from its original 15,000 square feet to 35,000 square feet – and is currently closed for additional renovations until Fall 2016.

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