Wynwood's Thriving Arts
& Culture Scene

By Shayne Benowitz | Dec 12, 2017

Explore street art and culture in the Wynwood Arts District.

Street art is mercurial by nature and the murals of Miami’s Wynwood Arts District, just north of downtown, are in a state of constant, paint-splattered flux.

The late Tony Goldman, visionary developer and founder of Goldman Properties, first set his sights on the neighborhood in 2004 when he saw an opportunity for this former dilapidated warehouse district to become a canvas for world class street art. His magnum opus, the Wynwood Walls, opened in 2009 as an outdoor museum dedicated to street art. Today, Wynwood Walls and the streets surrounding it are an ever-changing tapestry of murals by renowned local, national and international street artists.

Wynwood Walls

Wynwood Walls occupies an entire city block on NW 2nd Avenue between 25th and 26th Streets and includes a garden, indoor gallery and studio space, as well as the adjacent Wynwood Kitchen & Bar.

The program changes every December in time for Art Basel Miami Beach with a new theme and a fresh coat of paint. While some murals have been there from the beginning, the museum is constantly showcasing new works. Before a mural is replaced, Goldman Properties takes care to document it through photography, video and artist interviews.

“We want to always give people a reason to come back and explore,” says Jessica Goldman, CEO of Goldman Properties and Tony’s daughter. “We want to give opportunities to as many wonderful artists as we can, so we change.”

Their roster of artists includes some of the most famous and highly acclaimed muralists working today, as well as cutting edge, emerging talent. Below is a sampling of some of the 40 artists whose work currently is or has been on display at Wynwood Walls.

Shepard Fairey

Los Angeles-based artist Shepard Fairey is most well known for his Obey campaign and the Obama Hope poster. He’s also one of Wynwood Wall’s earliest collaborators, creating not only a permanent outdoor mural, but also the logo and interiors for Wynwood Kitchen & Bar. His mural is a collage of pop culture and social justice figures from Martin Luther King Jr. to David Bowie and Basquiat. It also features a portrait of Wynwood Walls founder Tony Goldman prominently.

Kenny Scharf

A New York street artist during the Golden Age of the 1970s and 80s, Kenny Scharf is known for his spontaneous, spray paint cartoon-like characters. His mural has been a mainstay at Wynwood Walls from its inception.

RETNA

RETNA is an LA-based artist, known for his distinctive lettering in an alphabet of his own invention based on both Chicano graffiti and the calligraphy traditions of ancient civilizations. He’s painted walls in Miami since 2006 and joined Wynwood Walls in 2011 with a mural of white lettering on a red background.

Maya Hayuk

Brooklyn-based artist Maya Hayuk has created one of the most photographed murals at Wynwood Walls with her pastel colored, geometric forms that create overlapping diamond shapes. She draws inspiration from everything including views of outer space to nail art and ancient Sanskrit mandalas.

Inti

Chilean artist, Inti’s mural was added to Wynwood Walls in 2015. Drawing upon Incan traditions, folklore and culture, his mural’s subjects are two larger-than-life children with both celestial and agrarian symbols and motifs inspired by child labor photography of the early 1900s.

The London Police

The London Police are a British art collective based in Amsterdam who bring a sense of playfulness to their work, often utilizing a group of characters known as the LADs, depicted through simple line drawings with round heads and happy faces. They contributed a mural to Wynwood Walls in 2015 in sky blue featuring the LADs in a factory-like setting. Their work can also be found on the streets of Wynwood.

Local & International Artists in the Neighborhood

The murals throughout the Wynwood neighborhood are just as compelling as those found inside Wynwood Walls and there’s hardly a square-inch of concrete not covered in paint. This is where you’ll find Miami’s local street artists alongside work by visiting international artists.

Magnus Sodamin

Miami artist Magnus Sodamin, represented by downtown gallery Primary Projects, exhibited an installation at Wynwood Walls during Art Basel 2015 and his work covers the walls of the nearby Wynwood Block. Painted in vertical streaks in every color of the rainbow, his work is punctuated by flowers inspired by mornings fishing on Biscayne Bay and the ethereal nature of sunrise and sunset.

Paola Delfin

Paola Delfin is a Mexican street artist who creates large-scale portraits of the female form in a variety of styles from realistic to abstract. She contributed a monochromatic mural of a female bust during Art Basel 2015.

MSG Crew

The MSG Crew is a local art collective whose signature tag is a cartoon-like Florida orange with a big, toothy smile. Heavily influenced by the interventionist graffiti, their tags are throughout the city. In Wynwood at the old RC Cola Factory in Wynwood, they’ve painted an enormous wall in a Star Wars dreamscape.

Jessy Nite

Jessy Nite is one of Miami’s rising stars of the art world. Her style and subject matter is brazen and provocative with a true sense of place in Miami culture. She has a number of murals up around Wynwood, including the entire exterior of Redbull’s Wynwood office painted in a geometric, grayscale retinal pattern.

David Walker

London-born, Berlin-based artist David Walker creates multi-layered, hyper-real portraits in a kaleidoscope of colors using spray paint without the aid of stencils, brushes or projectors. Represented locally by the Robert Fontaine Gallery, he’s had a mural in Wynwood for at least four years.

Jose de Diego Middle School Project

In an effort to connect Wynwood’s artistic renaissance to the local community, a grassroots organization called RAW (Reimagining Art in Wynwood) engaged with Jose de Diego Middle School, whose arts funding had recently been cut, to bring acclaimed international street artists to the campus. Many of the artists listed above, including Magnus Sodamin, Paola Delfin and David Walker, donated their time and talents to work with students, paint murals and beautify the school campus.

Art Walk

The Wynwood Art Walk is held on the second Saturday of every month when galleries stay open late celebrating exhibition openings and the neighborhood takes on a festive atmosphere. Expect food trucks lining the street, live music and live art shows. It's the perfect night to discover Wynwood's arts and cultural scene.

Art In All Mediums

You’ll find a wide variety of artistic mediums in Wynwood, from cinema to the literary arts. O Cinema is a non-profit independent cinema screening cutting-edge films in a cozy theater. Other cultural institutions include Wynwood Radio, University of Wynwood, Edge Theater and Critical Mass, a huge monthly biking group.

Private Collections

Wynwood is also home to some of the world's most impressive private art collections, which are open to the public. The Margulies Collection at The WAREhOUSE is home to an extensive collection of contemporary art in a all mediums including photography, video, sculpture and installation from Martin Z. Margulies' private collection.

The Rubell Family Collection is situated inside a building that was once used to store the Drug Enforcement Administration’s confiscated goods. Their collection includes pieces by iconic artists like Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, Damien Hirst, Andy Warhol, as well as an impressive roster of international emerging artists.

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