If you are the slightest bit interested in street art then Wynwood is probably high on your list of places to go. The district is a constantly changing landscape of street paintings, murals and graffiti by local and internationally renowned street artists and crews. Even if you don’t know much about the street art movement and can’t tell your Shepard Fairey from your Banksy or Aub’s Crew, Wynwood is well worth a visit. It is visually exciting and the sheer number of works is impressive. The area lies just north of downtown Miami and is roughly contained within NE 36 Street to the north, NW 20th Street to the south and NE 1 Street to the east. A good place to start exploring is around NW 2nd Ave and NW 23st, gradually work your way out around the neighbouring streets and then circle back so you end up at the Wynwood Walls for the grand finale.
These days the area has a plethora of galleries specialising in modern and contemporary art too and an ever changing scene of cafes, bars and restaurants, with new venues popping up all the time. But it wasn’t always this way for just over a decade ago Wynwood was synonymous with poverty, empty warehouses and crime. The regeneration of the area, which started in the 2000’s, was given an enormous boost by the developer Tony Goldman, whose name is associated with the successful revitalization of a number of US inner city areas such as New York’s SoHo neighbourhood. Goldman bought up land in the neighbourhood and invested in a vision to create an art mecca out of the graffiti and street murals that dominated the area. He invited and sponsored renowned and emerging street artists to come and decorate the walls of the neighbourhood. This acted as a catalyst for more works and the neighbouring streets saw an incredible increase in murals, paintings and graffiti. This continues today and the art on view creates an ever changing visual landscape of colour and form.
One of Goldman’s first projects was the Wynwood Walls. He worked with Jeffrey Deitch to co-curate works from key street artists from around the world on a six building complex and unlike the rest of the neighbourhood, the Wynwood Walls is commissioned, spotlighted, and protected by security guards. The works on display change each year and since its inception, the Wynwood Walls program has seen over 50 artists representing 16 countries and has covered over 80,000 square feet of walls. The Wynwood Walls are located at 2520 NW 2nd Avenue and if you are exploring the area’s art we recommend you keep this for your last stop.
If you are in Miami on the second Saturday of the month check out the “ArtWalk” in Wynwood. This takes place throughout the streets of Wynwood, but is centred around NW 2nd Ave NW 23st. From around 6pm onwards the art galleries and studios open their doors to the public for viewing. There are food trucks, stalls and pop-up bars giving the neighbourhood a festival like atmosphere as people flock to the area to socialize, check-out new street art, browse the galleries and enjoy the neighbourhoods bars and restaurants.
Whether you are just admiring the art or seeking some serious pieces to buy, it’s thirsty work and Wynwood has an ever growing selection of cool bars and restaurants. If it’s a caffeine fix you need then check out Panther coffee. For pizza and Italian style cooking head to Joey’s. Joey’s is an institution in Wynwood as it was the first restaurant to open when the regeneration of the area took hold over a decade ago. For live music try Bardot and for a real mix try Wood Tavern where hipsters, art-walk crawlers and collectors all mingle.
Below are links to some of the places we enjoyed whilst wandering around Wynwood. If you have some suggestions or know of the latest Wynwood hidden gem then please feel free to add them via the comments section below.
If you are looking for a specific artist then this map will help you to find their latest works: http://www.wynwoodmap.com/
For all art related goings on in Miami http://artofmiami.com/ is probably the best site around.
Panther coffee: 2390 NW 2nd Ave, Miami, FL 33127 http://www.panthercoffee.com/
Joey’s: 2506 NW 2nd Avenue, Miami. http://www.joeyswynwood.com/
Bardot: 3456 N Miami Avenue, Miami http://www.bardotmiami.com/
Wood Tavern: 2531 NW 2nd Avenue, Miami http://woodtavernmiami.com/