Get Out and Explore Miami’s Art & Culture this Summer

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By: John Copeland

With so much of Miami ready to explore, these tips below will help you make the most of it, with health and safety, as well as pleasure, in mind. As you use this guide to plan your visit, make sure to check the venues' websites for hours and opening protocols, as many are implementing measures to ensure a responsible and safe experience for everyone. Miami is shining!

The Bass
Take an outdoor art walking tour

Visit Miami Beach for A Public Art Walking Tour

Miami Beach is world-renowned for its beautiful beaches and exciting nightlife, but equally renowned as home to one of the most important contemporary art fairs in the world Art Basel Miami Beach. This annual art-lover’s extravaganza has given rise to a movement placing cultural arts at the center of life, year-round, in this sun-drenched paradise.

As a part of this, the Miami Beach Cultural Affairs Department oversees a robust public art program, numerous festivals and events, and resources to support incredible live theater, art museums, dance performances, and concerts. Part of this program includes awe-inspiring public art displays tucked around Miami Beach that will bring out your inner art aficionado.

Start your art walk at South Pointe Park’s obstinate lighthouse, 2011, by Tobias Rehberger. This 55-foot-tall colorful beacon welcomes travelers by sea with an innovative and playful spirit. Sharing this whimsy is the recently installed Bent Pool, 2019, by Elmgreen & Dragset, at Pride Park adjacent to the Miami Beach Convention Center, which invites us to reimagine the ordinary and see the world from a different point of view. A highlight to any Collins Park visit is Miami Mountain, 2016, by Ugo Rondinone. Commissioned by The Bass Museum of Contemporary Art, these 5 massive boulders stack precariously to spark the imagination of park-goers headed to the museum.

After you have experienced The Bass, take a stroll down famous Lincoln Road, a walking thoroughfare of shops, cafes, restaurants, and galleries. Redesigned in the 1960s by famed architect Morris Lapidus, this pedestrian district showcases wonderful sculptural elements and eclectic charm. Toward the west end of Lincoln Road, between Alton Road and Lenox Avenue, you’ll find a child-friendly project by artist Dan Graham. Morris’, 2010, pays homage to Lapidus in this ‘fun-house’ sculpture inviting all to explore.

Wynwood Walls
Explore the Wynwood Arts District

Walk the Wynwood Arts District, A Pop and Street Art Mecca 

With the emergence of street art to the global stage, there is one place in Miami where this art form is celebrated, revered, and preserved as a platform to transform a neighborhood. Begin your journey at one of Miami’s newest institutions, the Museum of Graffiti in Wynwood, where you can learn the history of street art and understand the roots of this controversial, yet beautiful art form.

From the museum, head out into the streets to find hidden treasures adorning the walls (and floors, and basically every previously empty space available to paint over) by masters of the craft as you explore unique artisan shops and galleries run by many of the talented artists drawn to this creative neighborhood. Highlights include a fresh pint from Veza Sur Brewing Co., whose Latin-American roots inspire seasonal lagers, IPAs, and sours. Don’t miss out on the free tours of the brewery operations by these knowledgeable Miami natives.

For your sweet tooth, don’t miss The Salty Donut where the pastry chefs blend flavors of the tropics with the comfort of doughy goodness – but arrive early, as they frequently sell-out! Check out their Instagram feed for the latest artistic creations.

Close out your adventure at Wynwood Walls, located in the heart of the district. Featuring nearly 2-dozen curated exterior masterpieces and 3 interior art galleries, this is the space where the vision for the arts district was formed. The Walls serve as the heart of the Wynwood Arts District, conceived by developer Tony Goldman and his family, as a place where innovation, creativity, and commerce would thrive in an accessible urban oasis. A tribute mural of Goldman, by American contemporary street artist, Shepard Fairey, greets visitors from around the world as they enter.

Take a Tour of Miami’s Public Art Experiences

Miami-Dade County is home to one of the largest collections of public art in the nation. Through the Art in Public Places program, visitors can take in more than 700 works in this “county-wide museum.” On their website is a view of the artworks on a map to help you tour the collection.

A highlight in downtown Miami is Red M, 1996, by Behar, Roberto & Rosario Marquardt which was commissioned as part of Miami’s centennial celebration. According to the artists, this 45-foot tall work is layered with multiple meanings, “the secret of which remains an open Mystery.”

One of the latest public art installations can be found at the Sandrell Rivers Theater at the Audrey M. Edmonson Transit Village.I See Myself in You…, 2019, is a collaboration between Nekisha Burrett & Hank Willis Thomas. Featuring neon, aluminum, and stainless steel, this large-scale exterior sculpture is a monumental source of pride to the emerging 7th Avenue corridor.

Just a few miles south, explore the roundabout at Segovia and Biltmore Way in Coral Gables where you will find Passion/Passiflora Incarnation, 2016, by Alice Aycock springing out as a centerpiece inviting passersby to slow down and take in the beauty of this fanciful melding of colors and materials. The City of Coral Gables offers an interactive Art in Public Places website that features a terrific map that offers a treasure hunt of exploration.

Tour historic sites like Fairchild Tropical Botanic Gardens

Enjoy Art in Miami’s Historic Sites and Gardens

The magic of Miami’s paradise has captured the hearts of generations dating back long before the turn of the last century, many of which showcased their feelings in the beautiful gardens and epic historic homes and other buildings which can still be experienced today.

Vizcaya Museum & Gardens offers hours of historic exploration in this time capsule-with-garden estate, filled with art and antiquities amassed from James Deering’s world travels. Likewise, a few miles south, the Deering Estate, home of James’ half-brother, Charles Deering, includes impeccably preserved bayfront mansions that took full advantage of the beautiful natural environment. While much of Charles Deering’s art collection resides at the Art Institute of Chicago, several important pieces can be found on loan to the Deering Estate.

Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden is another jewel in Miami’s historical garden majesty, with acres of botanical wonder that provide a welcome commune of beauty and science. The Fairchild arts and sculpture garden has celebrated well known international artists from Chihuly to Kusama to Botero, within the exquisitely detailed natural setting.

Greater Miami and the Beaches is a place that shines with art night and day– our neighborhoods, museums,and public spaces are filled with inspiration and beauty that draws culture seekers from around the world.We hope that you will visit us soon to explore, discover,and enjoy!

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