Only a well-heeled visionary could get excited by a mostly abandoned industrial district hemmed in by freeways. Since 2005 in the Miami Wynwood District, the Goldman family have used mural painting to revitalize windowless warehouses, coaxed international artists with the lure of vast walls as their canvas, and offered backing to provide an audience. A community has been brought back to life through art and accolades have been rolling in. Vogue magazine calls it one of the coolest neighborhoods in the world. It’s become a destination highlight for the city. Easy to find and navigate my family caught our first glimpse from a freeway overpass not far from the airport.
Originally the 20 block project was a pretty rough area. It’s still a touch dangerous after dark, although if you know the right people, late night, underground parties will open their doors to you. The Wynwood Building houses studio and event space, an art school, and cafe.
As happens world over when neighborhoods gentrify, the original residents are often left wanting. Rents are sky-rocketing for once cheap studio space and there’s a huge variation in housing. Drug dealers still prowl the outskirts but are taking their business further out. Nightclubs are proliferating as the under 27 year old crowd moves in to party.
On the afternoon I visited, it was steamy and traffic was light. I walked the circumference of the district, taking in the mural painting, watching others take pictures and marveling at the bright mix.
Finally, I stepped into the core, the Wynwood Walls project, the heart of the transformation. The Wynwood Doors art space with its garage door canvases, opened to one side.
A loose network of lawns and walkways led between two story walls which hemmed the space. In one gallery the Peter Tunney project featured his paintings that are echoed on walls in the area.
After leaving the district, the world seemed pale and wanting. I hope the momentum keeps building and more visitors witness the transformative power of mural painting at the Wynwood Walls.
More info about the walls and artists, events and installations on the official site.
Wynwood Kitchen and Bar:
Inside Wynwood Walls, at Wynwood Kitchen, Chef Miguel Aguilar has carved a menu of Latin-influenced global cuisine.
2550 2nd Avenue, Miami, FL 33127, firstname.lastname@example.org
Opened in 2008 by Joey Goldman, one of the principals in the company that developed the area, Joeys is a modern Italian cafe with menu full of traditional flavors by Chef Evo Mazzon. Food and Wine magazine calls the pizza exceptional. The interior also echoes traditional elegance with marble tables over a polished concrete floor. The garden and terrace feature bistro lighting.
2506 NW 2nd Avenue, Wynwood, Florida 33127, email@example.com
Don’t miss: Discover more about mural painting at Monthly art walks on the second Saturday of the month.
Take a tour of the area with Wynwood Art Walk Tours on Fridays and Saturdays.
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