What to see / Art & Culture, Neighborhoods

Wynwood Street Art in Miami

Wynwood slide2

Until a few years ago, what is known today as the Wynwood Art District was an area mainly inhabited by Puerto Ricans, and so it has been called Little San Juan or El Barrio. It was once an industrial area full of warehouses (especially textiles and shoes), and not well regarded.

In the mid-2000s, a group known as Primary Flight decided to create an “open air museum” in this area, inviting street artists from all over the world to decorate the walls of the warehouses with their works. That same year, Tony Goldman, a real estate developer with a large area in the district and a passion for art, decided to establish the art space now known as the Wynwood Walls: he provided a complex of buildings with high walls and no windows, opened the Wynwood Kitchen & Bar, and continued by opening a new space for less monumental graffiti, the Wynwood Doors.

Today Wynwood is the largest street artist’s museum in the world. Exploration of the museum is an experience not to be missed. There you will find: huge murals (never the same), more than 70 galleries of all kinds, interspersed with shops, bars, and restaurants. On some occasions there are pop-up galleries and shops, temporary spaces showing lesser-known artists or artifacts of all kinds.

A diverse group of people hang out in the area: art students and a few tourists during the week. Meanwhile, during the evenings and weekends the neighborhood comes alive (the galleries open late every second Saturday of the month, and host vernissage and cocktail parties). During the week of Art Basel Miami (one of the most important art fairs in the world) the Wynwood gives way to madness.

We’ve been there several times, and we can tell you that even though the busiest nights will draw in more eccentric characters and wonders, the best time to seriously view the galleries is a quiet day. If you wish, you can join a guided tour of the neighborhood which are organized once a month (always on Saturday) starting at 18.30. However, we encourage you to wander around by yourself, leaving the main path behind in order to explore the hidden studios and exhibitions, have a coffee at Panther Coffee, or grab a beer at the Wood.

Like all successful initiatives, this neighborhood has recently attracted the attention of real estate agents: rents have increased greatly, some of the less prestigious galleries have given way to more profitable enterprises. Many artists have moved their studios to more affordable areas. It is said that Wynwood has begun to lose its centrality in the art world to Miami. So, if you want to visit this open air museum, do it as soon as possible.

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