The Passion of The Wynwood Art District, Miami FL
Yesterday was my birthday and he and I decided to have dinner at our favorite French restaurant in Miami only to find out it was closed on Tuesdays. So we headed to Wynwood, an district between NW 1st Ave and I95 and NW 20th and 36th Street. A friend had told me about the painted walls and galleries near the Design District where I had once considered opening a studio. I knew of the artist activity there even then, which is now about 10 years ago, but didn’t realize how far it had advanced.
It is growing and developing every day as artists set up studios and galleries and restaurants attract visitors.The shear complexity and variety of art is invigorating and the huge brightly painted scenes on the sides of buildings attack your senses simulating every part of your being. My feelings were dancing around in amazement as I found the work, sometimes confused and comical and others romantic and sensual. As I viewed each painting depicting its story in bright colors, I felt myself trying to absorb the intensity of the work. As we roamed the streets talking to artists and locals excited to tell us their life experiences we knew that we this district would be a continuing part of our visits to Miami.
The area is not all fully developed, in fact parts of Wynwood are still somewhat depressed, typical of most areas that artists are attracted to. The incompleteness and struggling sections blends in as artists move into these districts because they to are struggling to find ways to do their art and live inexpensively. This melding is what makes this neighborhood interesting. And where artists thrive, so does everyone else, a phenomenon that is both wonderful and at the same time is what causes them to move on eventually. For now this growing neighborhood is bound to be an attraction for a long time to come.
We found some of the friendliest people in the cafes, bakeries, coffee houses and shops where mingling is part of the lifestyle here. I talked to an artist who was painting the side of a building and he told me that painting is all he wants to do in life. Working on the side to pay the bills and earning small amounts of money painting whole sides of buildings is his life. He loves it, lives it and wouldn’t want to be doing anything else. This is the passion of Wynwood.
The owners of these buildings collaborate with the artists about the theme of the work and are happy to promote the artist to whoever comes by. The second Saturday of the month is “Art and Gallery Walk” when all the galleries and shops are open and live music welcomes thousands of art lovers.
Art Basel stimulated this neighborhood to give itself over to the art world and the neighborhood responded and is reaping its benefits growing into an attraction of its own. Some of the photographs I took roaming the district will give you a small impression of the scope of the work. It is now up to you to discover it as I did.