There are many ways to experience Miami's Art Basel week. You can go for the fairs, shows, galleries, parties or endless amounts of other events. On the top of my list was the public art. I went with two of my fellow Sold magazine cohorts, John Domine and Kalin Hart. Together, we had four days to explore all we could of Miami's street art scene and I think we did a pretty good job. Here are some highlights from our trip.
Basel House / Mural Fest - Old RC Cola Plant - 550 NW 24th St, Miami, FL 33127 https://baselhouse.com/
First up was The Mural Fest where live painting and live music met! This year was the fifth edition of Basel House, but Wynwood’s first official Mural Festival at the Old RC Cola Plant. There were art installations, DJs, mural tours, vendors, and food trucks. Also, a part of this festival were panel discussions, networking sessions, and workshops.
Jose Diego Middle School - 3100 NW 5 Ave, Miami, FL 33127 Eneida Hartner Elementary School - 401 NW 29th St, Miami, FL 33127
Art also pops up in various schools throughout Wynwood, inspiring the next generation. Imagine getting to go to school and seeing an Obey mural or being lucky enough to walk past a huge D*Face wall every day. Helping with the beautification of these schools and fostering relationships between art and the community is The Raw Project: Re-imagining Arts Worldwide. (http://www.therawproject.org/). They wanted to find out why public schools in such an up-and-coming neighborhood didn’t teach art? The reason is due to budgetary cuts, these schools didn't have any art or music programs. RAW started in 2014 and together with creative forces and artists like Case Maclaim, Mr. June, Kevin Ledo, Paola Delfin, Pixel Pancho, etc., they helped revitalize institutions like these, along with breathing new life into the students and the community.
The Wynwood Walls - 2520 NW 2nd Ave, Miami, FL bet. NW 25th St and NW 26th St http://www.thewynwoodwalls.com/
Starting in 2009, as just six warehouses and a parking lot, now the center of Art Basel's street art scene, The Wynwood Walls is brought to you by Goldman Properties, also curator of the Houston Bowery Wall here in NYC. The late Tony Goldman wanted to take this district filled with large windowless buildings and turn them into larger-than-life canvases. His vision was to make this the "Go-To" place for the greatest street art in the world. Jeffrey Deitch, co-curated the first year along with Tony Goldman and it was a huge success. The Wynwood Walls strives to showcase old school graffiti and new street art from American and international artists. Throughout the past eight years, they have represented over 50 artists from some 16+ countries bringing fresh art to the community each time. “Wynwood Walls project...encourages a culture of participation, the idea that art is for everyone. It’s not just for the elite.” - Shepard Fairey from the short form docu-series, “Here Comes the Neighborhood.”
The Wynwood Walls may be the epicenter, but the surrounding area of this Miami neighborhood is known as a massive, international, outdoor museum. You will find art all over, but the most concentrated streets fall between NW 23rd to NW 29th St. and all along NW 2nd Ave. You will also find some gems on the NE side as well. There was a really fun, eclectic parking lot located at 41 NE 25th St and a huge display of walls near the train tracks around 53 NE 24th Street. There is no shortage of art. Look to your left, right, up, down, art is all around! It was a bit overwhelming! You have to take a moment and soak it all in. It’s a very special place to be where art truly is for everyone!
Tips: Map out the walls you want to see and take a car if you can. Go out early, there’s less people on the streets, no cars blocking the murals, and the lighting is great for all you fellow photographers out there. Be prepared for all weather contingencies, take breaks in between; there is A LOT to see. It’s good to take a breather, recharge, process photos, grab a bite, etc. All in all, it was a Wyn-Wyn! I can’t wait for next year!