Wynwood adds 20 new murals, more space for Art Week showings
Wynwood is expecting its largest crowd ever for the Miami Art Week after expansion in the district has exponentially put them on the map.
The eclectic district popularized for its artistic murals and unique scene is preparing for Miami Art Week from Nov. 29 to Dec. 5, with activations from North Miami Avenue to Sixth Avenue – about 20 new murals, painted by about 15 American and international artists, including Ron English, AVAF, Case MaClaim, Elle, Queen Andrea, Magnus Sodamin and FINOK.
“This year is probably going to be the largest year on record,” said Manny Gonzalez, executive director of the Wynwood Business Improvement District (BID). “Typically, we used to celebrate the Art Basel week closing Second Avenue because the businesses were concentrated along there, but now we have North Miami Avenue with the Oasis, that is now one of the center pieces of Wynwood. So this year, instead of having the focus on Second Avenue, we’re going to have activations from North Miami Avenue all the way to Sixth Avenue.”
Wynwood has partnered with urban revitalization company Mana Common to produce a Miami Mural Festival, with 500,000 square feet of wall art between Wynwood’s heart and the Downtown Miami’s Flagler District, according to a press release by Mana Common.
“[Murals in Wynwood] have never been part of Art Basel celebrations or activations because they were not in the premises,” said Mr. Gonzalez. “Everything is going to be activated for the first time in history here in Wynwood.”
That includes a WeTrek phone application that the Wynwood district has been working to activate for mural sighting. WeTrek, available at iTunes or Google Play Store, will present tour guides and information on the murals when a picture is taken on the app with the use of built-in GPS technology.
“This app is going to allow folks that are coming to Wynwood to actually get the stories behind the murals that are painted on the walls,” Mr. Gonzalez said. “So if you’re walking and you see a beautiful mural, you can take a picture of it – because more often than not, you don’t know who the artists of those murals are – and this app will make it feel more like a free museum.”
The application’s Wynwood feature will be released before Art Week and is currently being developed.
Before the pandemic, Wynwood would usually get 80,000 to 100,000 visitors a day, he said. In 2019, Wynwood received around 350,000 visitors during Art Basel/Miami Art Week. “This could get exponentially larger this year, because this is literally the first time Art Basel comes back in two years.”
In terms of safety, the Wynwood BID is working with the City of Miami police department to activate an Art Week force, Mr. Gonzalez said, bringing in about 100 officers to be in Wynwood nighttimes throughout this period. Barricades will also be placed around the streets, “just to give folks more space to walk through the sidewalks.”
“This is an exciting time, because we consider ourselves the non-exclusive Art Week celebration,” he said. “If you’re lucky enough to be in an Art Basel event, good for you, but for all of those other folks that just want to come out and enjoy that vibe and the weather, and the feeling, it’s Wynwood that always captures the crowds in a daily basis.”
The colorful 50-block district that has more than 200 street murals began producing them during the introduction of its Art Walk every second Saturday of the month and was popularized by the installation of Art Basel in Miami Beach in 2002.
“We have the largest mural collection in the United States,” said Mr. Gonzalez. “And we will have a plethora of activations, all the different businesses will do some sort of special activations just for the Basel events. So we’re expecting a massive influx of folks.”
The Museum of Graffiti at 299 NW 25th St. will host French graffiti and tattoo artist FUZI Dec. 1, with a collection of new canvas works called Defaced, “bold and humorous paintings depicting his raucous cartoon world that has gone mad,” according to a Wynwood BID press release. He will also present a “fully painted immersive room” called Ignorantism, where “criminals, vandals, luxury cars, beaches and animals come to life on the walls and tell the story of excess in Miami,” according to the press release.
Spectrum Miami and Red Dot Miami will make a comeback at the Mana Wynwood Convention Center at 2217 NW Fifth Ave., Dec. 1-5, with 100,000 square feet of artistic exhibition in its premises, “two fairs under one roof,” produced by Redwood Media Group and showcasing national and international galleries and artists.
Spectrum Miami will also host, from Dec. 1-5, galleries by Chicago-based Pigment International and Colorado-based Golden Galleries. These exhibitions will highlight contemporary Black Fine Art, including works by Richard Mayhew Charly Palmer, Kerry James Marshall, Najee Dorsey, Dana Todd Pope, Kevin Nance-West, Heather Polk and Thomas E. Lockhart III, according to a press release. On Dec. 4, artist, sculptor and poet Gerald Griffin will discuss the creating of his recent work during the Pigment Salon Talk at 2 p.m., which includes sculptures of former President Barack Obama and Vice President Kamala Harris.
Basel House at 2250 NW Fifth Ave. will host its seventh annual Mural Festival, a free event featuring live painting of murals, art installations, a BMC ramp park, live music at night and food and drink options, Dec. 2-5, starting at 4 p.m.
Sentral Wynwood will unveil a roof mural by Joe Geis that can be seen from the sixth floor pool deck. Its “inspired by Miami in motion, capturing the city’s energy, colors, and overall movement from the waves, palm trees, wind, boats, and people through bold colors and expressive brush strokes,” according to a spokesperson.
“In total, this is the week that Wynwood counts on the most on an annual basis,” said Mr. Gonzalez. “This is like our new year’s. Art Basel put us on the map, because people needed to go somewhere and when they saw the art… But this year is going to be like never before.”