A few years ago, you would never have thought that a drive through Wynwood would be one of the most art rich neighborhoods in the United States. Wynwood has blossomed from a desolate warehouse district into a thriving arts area. The 2000’s saw big changes for this area right below the Design District and above Downtown. Some visionary forces saw the potential for Wynwood to become a hub for creativity, a home for up and coming artists, established names, and a hip haven for creativity of all kinds.
Tony Goldman, who passed away in 2012 and is much-missed friend to the city, saw the potential in the dilapidated Deco buildings of South Beach and revitalized them in the mid 80s. It gave South Beach the boost it needed to become the cultural hotspot it is today. He saw the same potential in Wynwood around 2009. This champion of the area was landlord to galleries, big institutions that moved their headquarters to the area, famed Wynwood Walls and two restaurants. His confidence in Wynwood lead to the renaissance of the area where today more than 70 galleries are flourishing and a monthly Art Walk draws thousands.
Wynwood’s art galleries are a huge reason the neighborhood is an art area with staying power, but it’s the street art that has everyone talking about Wynwood. The art here isn’t your average graffiti. Artists, some who specialize in street art, who usually work in more traditional formats, are commissioned to create public works of art on walls all over Wynwood. It’s everywhere; you can see it from I-95, any street in the neighborhood and even from an aerial view. In Wynwood, just about every inch of wall space is covered in colorful murals of all kinds. Expect to see animals made-up of thousands of lines, large-scale portraits, giant cartoon-style scenes, hyper-realistic paintings and much, much more.
The epicenter of Wynwood’s street art scene is the Wynwood Walls. It’s a Goldman development of 40 mural exhibits by internationally renowned artists on walls and doors. The walls include murals by Invader, Kenny Scharf, Shephard Fairey, Ryan McGinness, Jim Drain, Retna and dozens more.
Just as street artists have flocked to Wynwood so have more traditional institutions with a concrete set of walls. Bakehouse Art Complex, a non-profit dedicated to attracting emerging and mid-career artists in South Florida, was one early defector to the area. The group started in the 1980s in Coconut Grove but relocated to an old bakery company’s headquarters in 1986. This was before the area was anything like it is today. The Bakehouse is a facility of working studios and exhibition galleries that are open to the public.
Galleries in Wynwood feature art of all kinds from all over the world, with each gallery having its own focus and personality. Zadok Gallery features contemporary and modern art, mostly originating in China.
Notably, The Robert Fontaine Gallery represents both museum-quality and cutting edge pop and contemporary art from the 1960s to the present day. Gallery Director Robert Fontaine is compelled by work that is completely original without a reference to the past. With this, the gallery provides a platform for conceptual installation, urban interventionist street art, and digital media, alongside pieces by the masters of American Pop Art.
Other galleries to visit include Fredric Snitzer Gallery, Pan-American Art Projects, Gallery Diet, Butter Gallery, Gregg Sheinbaum and David Castillo.
On the second Saturday of every month the streets of Wynwood flood with people young and old. The crowd includes longtime art enthusiasts, newcomers to the scene, families and students for Wynwood Art Walk. What began as a way to expose the neighborhood to a new audience has become a giant community event every month. The event attracts both out of town visitors and locals from a wide range of Miami areas. Galleries stay open late, restaurants are packed, artists paint live on the streets and a food truck court takes over a parking lot with dozens of vehicles. If you’re looking for a large dose of the Wynwood scene all at once, brave the crowds and enjoy an Art Walk on a second Saturday.
Art In All Mediums: From Cinema to Radio and Cycling
It’s not all about art with paint in Wynwood. You’ll find art of all kinds here. O Cinema is a non-profit independent cinema screening cutting-edge films. You’ll see high quality films that you won’t be able to find anywhere else in this cozy theater.
Other cultural institutions include Wynwood Radio, University of Wynwood, Edge Theater and Critical Mass, a huge monthly biking group.
In Wynwood, private art collectors put their collections on display for the public to learn from. These not-so-private collections are housed in beautiful spaces for any art lover to enjoy. This unique way of sharing art is known as the “Miami Model” by many art insiders.
The Margulies Collection at The WAREhOUSE is a 45,000 square foot converted warehouse. Much like the rest of Wynwood’s hidden gems, inside is an extensive collection of contemporary and vintage photography, video, sculpture and installation from Martin Z. Margulies’ private stash. Rubell Family Collection and Contemporary Arts Foundation is in a building that was once used for housing the Drug Enforcement Administration’s confiscated goods. The collection includes pieces by Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, Damien Hirst, Andy Warhol and others. Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation, or CIFO, supports emerging and mid-career contemporary multi-disciplinary artists from Latin America with grants and exhibitions in their space.
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