Best Cultural Events Hitting Up Miami This Year

art of black

Art of Black


Art Basel


Haitian dancers

miccosukee jewelry

Miccosukee jewelry

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By: Jessica Modkins

Miami’s multicultural communities offer an array of diverse events, festivals, concerts and art exhibits. Miami always has something fun to do that celebrates our unique cultural fabric. Whether it's an outdoor festival or conference, each has an annual place on our calendar. Mark your calendar for these exciting activities.

Art of Black Miami is a staple cultural celebration that showcases the African diaspora by richly encapsulating its history through visual arts. The Art of Black Miami began in 2013 and takes place in heritage neighborhoods throughout South Florida. This event encompasses all aspects of art including paintings, sculptures, art exhibitions, art talks and performances. You can venture through our city to communities like Historic Overtown, Little Haiti, Coconut Grove and Little Havana. Each historic neighborhood has a unique schedule of things to do to excite the art aficionado. The Art of Black Miami goes on all year-long and culminates in December during Art Basel Week.

Coconut Grove Arts Festival is one of the premier arts festival in Miami and is recognized nationally. It has graced the community of Coconut Grove since its inception in 1963, attracts some 120,000 guests and showcases over 380 artists. Attendees can view mixed media, paintings, photography, watercolor, jewelry, sculptures, wood and much more. The three-day festival hits the Grove every February for Presidents’ Day weekend. It is literally one-mile full of vendors, food, fun and of course art. It runs along McFarlane Road in the City of Miami and is framed with waterfront views that are laced with art.

Sounds of Little Haiti is a yearlong musical celebration honoring the Haitian diaspora. Every third Friday night get set to immerse yourself in a culturally authentic, free outdoor concert at the Little Haiti Cultural Complex. Vendors onsite offer handmade arts, crafts, goods, cuisine, spices and more. The array of colorful art murals surround the festive night scheduled with live entertainment from Haitian bands and DJs playing Kompa and Zouk. International performing artist Wyclef John surprised the audience for Haitian Heritage Month in May, so you never know who will be performing. Join in the fun!

Taking place in historic Little Havana, Calle Ocho Festival is a full throttle daylong event. Sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Little Havana’s Carnaval Miami, the Calle Ocho Festival is both the largest Hispanic festival in the nation as well as the largest street festival in Miami. This festival takes place as its name suggests - on SW 8th Street between SW 8th Avenue and SW 27th Avenue. Along a 20-block stretch festivalgoers can enjoy the authentic food, crafts, culture, art, music, fashion and 12 stages of performers. Proceeds from this Miami favorite go towards youth programming.

The American Black Film Festival (ABFF) is the premier film festival showcasing the diverse, rich culture of Black filmmakers. The festival debuted in 1997 in Acapulco, Mexico and in 2002, founder Jeff Friday brought the festival to Miami Beach. Festival attendees can count on it as their annual Miami Summer Film Festival. ABFF is the largest Black gathering of TV and film-makers as well as film enthusiasts in the country. The festival features shorts, indie film screenings, master classes, full-length features, panel discussions, talent discovery programs and documentaries from emerging artists to seasoned filmmakers. With more than 10,000 guests in attendance and over 1,000 films, ABFF is sure not to disappoint. Check it out every summer in June.

The Haitian Compas Festival is a two-day festival that began in 1998. It is noted as one of the top ten outdoor festivals in the United States and is a staple in the Haitian community. Festival founders Rodney Noel and Jean -Michel Cerenord bring the best of Haitian music to Miami. The Haitian Compas Festival draws around 15,000 guests who not only enjoy Kompa but other genres as well. Billed as Haiti's one festival that promotes the true heritage of the country with food vendors serving the finest griyo, The Haitian Compas Festival is one not to miss. This festival takes place in Downtown Miami in May.

Art Basel Miami Beach attracts more than 700,000 guests to witness the world's top art galleries. Miami Beach is home to more than 250 galleries from around the globe that showcase the highest quality paintings, installations, photographs, films, sculptures from emerging artists and masters alike. The collection is like no other for collectors, curators and art enthusiasts. Art Basel takes place annually in December.

Starting in 1974, the Miccosukee Indian Arts Festival has been a staple in Miami celebrating the traditions of the Tribe’s culture. Expect to see alligator wrestling, where a tribal member single-handedly takes on a gator. It's an age-old tradition past down from generation to generation. Also on hand will be Pow-Pow style dance, the beloved Native American Hoop-dance style, live painting exhibitions, shopping, food and more. Save the date to visit the Miccosukee Indian Village this December.

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