Down at Wynwood District in Miami, there is an Art Walk every Second Saturday. However, it is not just a place for art enthusiasts. This article provides a guide on all things related to the Art Walk of Wynwood.
It’s easy for you to be wary when you pass by the ramshackle warehouses, and shadows of figures passing by the doorways, especially at night. It makes you question yourself if you are actually at the right place, one of Miami’s most artistic districts. But once you make it to the corner of the street, you will start to hear distinct chatters, and the growing sound of music filling your ears. A sense of energetic and exciting vibe starts to creep onto you.
You would definitely know you are at the right place when you are greeted with the bright colors and vivid lights gracing the walls of the first doorway – yes, you are at the Wynwood Art Walk.
The History of Wynwood
Back then, Wynwood was nowhere near its artistic presence today. Before it became the well know artistic innovation that it is known for today, it was a district mostly of apparel warehouses which was right beside a train yard, which is now turned into the huge Mid-Town Complex. The area was abandoned when they stopped using the railway due to the construction of the complex, and Wynwood used to be a very dangerous and dark place at night, and an empty, boring land during the day.
The rebirth of the art scene began throughout Miami, and it did not actually start at Wynwood Walk, but at the main areas of Miami Beach where most artists were. However, due to the skyrocketed prices of properties around Miami Beach, artists moved to a much cheaper district, North Miami Avenue and 40th Street, and hence, the birth of Miami’s Design District. However, due to the increasing popularity of the area, the real estate market prices soared once again, forcing these artists to move to the much cheaper warehouse area – which is now known as Wynwood Art Walk.
The Origins of Wynwood Art Walk
Wynwood wasn’t immediately popular back then. It is all thanks to the investor of Wynwood, David Lombardi of Lombardi Properties who decided to throw an art party at the Wynwood properties that he owns to promote arts, with an agenda of growing the value of his properties. The party was called Roving Fridays, and these parties are the main inspiration for the now-popular Wynwood Art Walks.
The Roving Fridays walk was popular hip throughout the years, but it soon faded slowly. However, more and more art galleries moved into Wynwood, and they then started to organize their own walks. The initial plan was to do the walks on every first Saturday of the month, however, they soon joined forces with Design District, and hence, the Second Saturdays Walk began.
However, back then the Wynwood walk was not quite popular as the area could be dangerous when night falls. It is dark, and there are no police patrols around, which makes the area popular with night scoundrels. It was quite worrying and scary to join in these walks, and there was not much joining it.
Wynwood Walk is now filled with countless art galleries that come and go. Most of the galleries do not make it long and often close down soon after it opens. However, there are some that are able to survive by presenting interesting art in their galleries. The Wynwood Walk art district is now flocked by hundreds of art enthusiasts who come to watch various artworks, as well as those who just come to enjoy complimentary alcohol.
There are so many different varieties of arts and styles that bring life to Wynwood. It is hard for one to specifically recommend which gallery to visit as the beauty of art is subjective, and it depends on the individual eye. The two galleries that had withstood the test of time in Wynwood are Damien B Art Center and Bernice Steinbaum, being the oldest two.
Other two popular galleries that had enticed art enthusiasts are Kevin Bruk and Frederic Snitzer. Although it had gone through tough times, the Harold Golen Gallery provides enthusiasts with the best pop art. Two up-and-coming galleries that are bringing in arts from the North which enhances the popularity of the district are MAC Art Group and Pan American Art Projects.
The Hardcore Art Contemporary Space as well as the Artformz Alternatives bring in thought-provoking artistic value with their gallery range. There are plenty of other galleries that contribute to the art scene in their own, unique ways. Edge Zones on the other hand provide the unusual as it serves both as a lounger and an art gallery. It also provides opportunities for new and up-and-coming artists to display their artwork, making it a good reason to take a peek.
If you join the Art Walk, you would notice that there would be free drinks, alcohol, and munchies for your comfort provided by most galleries. If you plan to join the walk for the free food, be sure to be early as the crowd is huge nowadays, and it finishes off fast. Join the energetic crowd in the walk and enjoy the art.
As mentioned earlier in the history of Wynwood, the Design District was established first than the Wynwood District. It is less grungy and edgy compared to Wynwood as it is heavily renovated and looks classy. Unlike back then, the Design District is now filled with Interior design establishments, although there are some that promote art, like for example the Art Fusion Galleries, which had been in business for a long time.
While they provide good art, they also offer a variety of good bottles of wine, as well as entertaining guests with live music. A new establishment and up-and-coming is the AE District, which displays amazing works of art in its huge open space, and comes along with live music entertainment.
Although new to the Design District, Wolfgang Roth serves up among the best high-end fine art. The crowd there is much quieter, as all seem to enjoy the classy arts. Most of the design houses in the Design District welcome walkers of the Wynwood Art Walk. The other two worth mentioning are the Luminaire Lab and the CityLoftArt gallery as well as the newly established Spinello Gallery and Locust Projects.
Although a non-profit gallery, Locusts Project is definitely popular with its futuristic artworks, and it was initially from Wynwood. Spinello on the other hand, even though pricey, is often visited by art enthusiasts to purchase their wondrous art. Just like Locusts Project, Spinello is from Wynwood as well. The Cabana Cachaca is also a popular spot during the walk as it provides the best complimentary alcohol. Although not included in the route, you might want to stop by to check out the arts of O.H.W.O.W. (Our House West Of Wynwood) and the newly established Stash Gallery.
Back then in the days, the art walks did not take long, merely a couple of hours or three. Today, the art walk starts as early as 6 in the evening and could last all the way until midnight. In fact, you may actually need more time in order to truly enjoy all of the galleries during the tour. Unless you are able to grab some snacks during the walk despite the horde of hungry crowds, you are bound to get hungry during these walks.
When your tummy starts to roar from hunger, you would realize that it is hard to get your hands on food at Wynwood district. Since Wynwood is mostly a place of art, and it is still growing in popularity, there are not many eateries, except for a few restaurants that had taken a leap. Walk around 36th Street and you will stumble upon Lost and Found Saloon, a place that serves fresh treats at affordable prices. Neighboring shops at 36th street are Bernice Steinbaum and Damien B, while a few walk away at 32nd street is the Bakehouse Art Complex, which usually hosts cookouts during the walks.
If you are looking for a fine dining experience while enjoying the arts of Wynwood, you could stop by Joey’s I made a bold decision to move into the district. Joey’s cook’s great food from their menu, and they have commendable service. However, if you feel hungry, but you find it hard to get away from the intriguing artworks, you could stop by the Fifi Gallery as they have their own small café. This place is highly recommended as the food are home cooked by its owners and close friends, and it has a fun atmosphere to it.
The Design District on the other hand has much more choices for you to choose from. Perhaps one of the best places to eat is Brosia. Besides their beautifully designed outdoor lounge area, they also provide live music entertainment during the walk. If you are willing to spend more and absolutely stunning and mouth-watering food, head over to Michael’s Genuine. Known for its quality and exquisite cuisine, it is one of the most popular places in the Design District to eat. Besides Michael’s Genuine, the other two eateries offering fine dining options are Grass and Pacific Time.
If you are a party animal, and if you still have energy left in your tank after the art walk, there are places for you to party after hours when the walk is over. Although these parties are not officially for the walk, a party is still a party. An interesting place to go to is a new club called the Awarehouse. As it is still new, this place is not overcrowded, but still a good potential with its huge space which comes with an art gallery and performance space.
For now, they provide solid entertainment with good live music acts, complimentary alcohol, and even a smoke-free zone. Another new place is the Wynwood Social Club. Visitors are often baffled as they themselves are not sure if it is a club or a gig club as they do provide lime and semi-live music performances but in a very laidback and chilled ambiance. The entrance fee is $10, and visitors need to bring their own drinks. The best choice in the district would be the Electric Pickle, as it is the closest to the nightclub compared to the other joints.
From the owner of the Back Door Bamby, White Room, Poplife, and PS14, Carmel Ophir presents to the people of Wynwood, The Vagabond. Located in the South area of Wynwood District, The Vagabond provides the ultimate nightclub experience without the hassle of Miami beach. Nearby to the Vagabond and other groups of Carmel Ophir clubs is the Karu&Y, a club with an interesting garden design.
Wynwood is definitely progressing and becoming a popular destination in Miami. Being an artistic innovation, you should most definitely check out the Art Walks every Second Saturday.
Hotels near Wynwood District in Miami:
Mandarin Oriental Miami
500 Brickell Key Drive / USD 199
270 Biscayne Blvd. Way / USD 239
Get a quick view of the hotels available and prices at the Wynwood District
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