Wynwood Walls in Miami

wynwood1

Wynwood is a neighborhood in Miami whose warehouses now contain a mixture of industry, wholesale distributors, galleries and artist studios. It’s also home to one of the largest collections of street art in the world. Above is part of a mural by the legendary Ron English [confusingly, there’s a Cincinnati-based artist also named Ron English, who sometimes sells his wares on the streets of Over-the-Rhine].

This first batch of images is from the outdoor park-type space called Wynwood Walls, owned and developed by Tony Goldman, a pivotal figure in the gentrification of SoHo and Miami Beach, and obviously doing the same in Wynwood until his death in Sep 2012. The idea for the murals actually seems to have originated with Primary Flight [as I discovered thanks to Vandalog]. In any case, the curated collection grows every year, and I’m only sharing a few favorites here.

Shepard Fairey‘s work is visually seductive but always basically the same [this is a tribute to Goldman]:

wynwood2

The Date Farmers:

wynwood3

Los Angeles-based RETNA on the left, with a bit of the mural by HOW and NOSM on the right:

wynwood4

Stelios FaitakisAllegory of Florida:

wynwood5

wynwood6

Ryan McGinness:

wynwood7

São Paulo-based artist Nunca created his first US mural here:

wynwood8

More creativity from Brazil in the work of the awesome Os Gemeos:

wynwood9

Wall Street Labyrinth by Liqen:

wynwood11

Athens-based b.:

wynwood12

The adjacent Wynwood Doors is focused on portraiture. Here’s Neuzz:

wynwood10

Vhils [his work can also be seen in downtown Cincinnati]:

wynwood13

It seems that street artists congregate in Wynwood every year during Art Basel, and evidence of their visits can be seen throughout the neighborhood. I’m not sure if these murals originated through Primary Flight or Tony Goldman’s efforts:

wynwood14

wynwood15

wynwood16

Razzle dazzle [see more along similar lines here, here and here]:

wynwood17

This is a unique and fascinating place, definitely a must-see in Miami. The presence of the art makes the neighborhood more pedestrian-friendly than it otherwise would be. Further, it gathers some of the biggest players from all over the world into a kind of outdoor museum exhibition. But is it public art if much of it is locked away on private property? Is it street art if it’s curated? Is it graffiti if it’s legal?

Street art has its fans [I’m among them], but it’s commonly seen as a sign of a depressed area, a broken window, if you will. In the case of Wynwood, it’s actually been key to neighborhood revitalization. It’s art in the service of increasing property values and, if you follow Goldman’s strategy to its logical conclusion, the murals would eventually have a hand in pricing many creative businesses and residents out of the neighborhood.

Over the past few years, there’s been an increased focus on the arts as an economic engine. In Cincinnati, ArtsWave and the Topos Partnership released a report about the arts’ “ripple effect,” and the ArtsWave program theory states that “Sales transactions [and] Real estate asset values increase in cultural clusters.” You can see that in Wynwood as you wander past the galleries, trendy boutiques and restaurants in an area that was once a working-class Puerto Rican enclave.

All this reminds me of Detroit’s Heidelberg Project by Tyree Guyton, which is another controversial neighborhood installation and major tourist attraction, similarly using art as a catalyst, though from the ground up and from within the community. The two are not at all the same, but the strategy and methods are similar and, if you’re interested in one, you should definitely check out the other.

8 thoughts on “Wynwood Walls in Miami

  1. Pingback: Elsewhere | Visualingual

  2. Pingback: Open Walls Baltimore | Visualingual

  3. Pingback: SubSurface 2013 in Indianapolis | Visualingual

  4. Pingback: The Bushwick Collective in NYC | Visualingual

  5. Pingback: Looking Back: Best VL Posts of 2013 | Visualingual

  6. Pingback: Colorado Crush in Denver | Visualingual

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s