Explore Art & Culture In The Miami Design District


Love is the Answer in the Miami Design District

Le Corbusier

Le Corbusier in the Miami Design District

Miami Design District Elastika

The Elastika installation in the Moore Building

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By: Josie Gulliksen

The Miami Design District is more than just high-end shopping…come for the art!

Nestled within three blocks of the Miami Design District are some of the most elite names in the fashion world. You’ll be surrounded by haute couture from such designers as Dior, Louboutin, Yves Saint Laurent, Tom Ford, Givenchy, Burberry, Harry Winston, Louis Vuitton, Cartier and Armani — and for the discriminating watch lover, Omega and Rolex. Sometimes, Christian Louboutin’s window displays resemble public art, they’re so elaborate.

Museum Garage in the Miami Design District
Museum Garage in the Miami Design District

In addition to designer fashion, the Miami Design District has experienced a burgeoning art scene that has grown over the years to include galleries, museums, parking garages that double as public art, monthly music programs and family art days.

Institute of Contemporary Art
Institute of Contemporary Art

Museums and Galleries

The Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), Miami, is the neighborhood’s premier museum, showcasing contemporary art by local, emerging and under-recognized artists. Whether you’re an art connoisseur or just a mild enthusiast, ICA’s ever-evolving rotating exhibitions by such renowned artists as Purvis Young, are worth seeing. Step out into the Sculpture Garden to encounter contemporary works in a variety of mediums including stainless steel, aluminum and even found objects.

Locust Projects, one of the Design District’s most established art spaces, was founded in 1998 as an alternative art space. Through commissioned exhibitions and projects, artist residencies and public programs, Locust Projects present new art and ideas in their incubator space. As Miami’s longest running nonprofit alternative art space, they are the art pioneers in the neighborhood.

Another mainstay in Miami’s Design District, founded in 2005 by Oliver Sanchez, is Swampspace. This gallery presents visual and performance art, showcasing everything from student work at New World School of the Arts and Design Architecture Senior High (DASH), to the work of well-known Miami artists like, Bhakti Baxter, and Miami-raised, New York based artist, Daniel Arsham. Swampspace is the place to go when you’re seeking an unconventional art experience that’s not the gallery norm.

Fly’s Eye Dome
Fly’s Eye Dome

Art Tours

The best way to enjoy the many public art works around the Miami Design District is to take a free guided tour. They take place twice a month, on the first Saturday at 3 p.m. and on the third Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. For an hour and a half, an art critic/journalist/educator leads you through the neighborhood, showcasing public artworks and architectural highlights. The Fly’s Eye Dome by architect and inventor Buckminster Fuller and French artist Xavier Veilhan’s larger-than-life fiberglass sculpture of architect Le Corbusier located in Palm Court are regular stops on the tour, as are the various parking garages covered in murals. An open-air space on the corner of NE 40th Street and 1st Avenue has featured a red solo cup sculpture and other whimsical public art pieces.

The public art landscape in the Miami Design District is an ever-changing façade and these public art tours are the perfect way to discover what’s new in the neighborhood.

Art Installations

“Elastika,” created by famed architect, Zaha Hadid, is a site-specific installation in the historic 1921 Moore Building. Instilling a tension between the four-story building’s layered mezzanines, this installation looks like stretched chewing gum suspended in mid-air.

Tucked in between the Design District’s luxury boutiques, you’ll find various art installations by some of the world’s most creative minds. Konstantin Grcic, a German designer, created “Netscape,” a 24-seat “net” of hammock-like swings hanging from a modular 6-point, star-shaped frame, made out of steel, fiberglass and polypropylene. Originally created for a past Design Miami fair, this interactive piece now resides on the waterfront terrace of the Perez Art Museum Miami (PAMM).

Performance Series

Monthly live music at Palm Court is a part of the art scene in the Design District. Each Friday night in the fall months through December, musical artists take the stage, sometimes with the backing of the Miami Symphony Orchestra, whose Maestro, Eduardo Marturet, produces the program along with Emilio Estefan. Performers have included queen of disco, Gloria Gaynor, Hispanic artist, Johnny Ventura, and reggae band, The Wailers, featuring the remaining members of Bob Marley & The Wailers.

Gallery in the Miami Design District
Gallery in the Miami Design District

Family Day

A great way to bring the entire family together to experience art in the Design District is at the monthly Family Day. Every third Thursday of the month in the Palm Court ‘s third floor, ICA Miami hosts a variety of interactive art activities. The monthly theme changes according to the season so expect Mother’s Day focused activities in May, Father’s Day in June and holiday ones from October through December. Past themes have included short films for kids and art making sessions themed around ICA’s current exhibits.

There is always something happening in Miami’s Design District—be sure to check out its comprehensive calendar of events. You will undoubtedly find things that spark your interest!

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