Wynwood Walls - Celebrating Miami’s Art- Susan M. Gale

Unlike New York’s known thriving art scene, Miami has hidden cultural areas that the media has not discovered. I wanted to get a glimpse of Miami’s art scene and learn the voices of local artists.

The best way to find non-touristic places that hold local history is by conversing with the city residents that have lived in Miami for years. On a Monday afternoon, I found myself doing so. A few friends and I headed towards a local Miami restaurant In an Uber during an unexpected spontaneous vacation. Our friendly driver, Jerry, was a resident of Miami for over thirty years. Jerry was knowledgeable about local entertainment. We conversed about our origin location; he stated he would love to one day live in New York City again, claiming that the Tri-State area is an “awful-great” place to be, emphasizing his interest in New York’s abundance of artistic culture. He recommended we check out his favorite site in Miami, Wynwood Walls, which are enriched with Miami’s art and culture. My curiosity led me to an educational adventure of discovering an “artist’s oasis” in the middle of Miami.

A Collaborative Canvas Celebrating Miami’s Art

The Wynwood Walls is wealthy in culture. There is over 50 blocks of stores and painted side buildings. Walls display famous graffiti artist exhibitions for anyone to see. A block of giant painted canvases on the side of brick buildings. A visually fascinating experience with meaningful art expressing society’s political and economic issues. Aside from local artists, they reserve six brick walls for a popular hosted artist. The ticketed event, Wynwood Art Walk, replaces exhibitions every second Saturday of the month following a nearby art festival, Art Basel, in Miami. Wynwood celebrates the new collections with live performances and artistic entertainment.

Many gather on the block to enjoy the countless stores and restaurants centered on Miamis culture. And hookah bars and gift shops visitors enjoy when admiring the art.

Wynwood Art Walk displays many famous artists like popular New York graffiti artist Andrea Von Bujdoss, who is known as the queen of graffiti. She is recognized for dominating a male-run field with her brightly colored landscapes. Likewise, El Seed, a middle eastern artist, making progressive art to express society’s political and social issues.

El Seed aspires to create graphic calligraphy to promote “peace, unity and to underline the commonalities of human existence.” (elseed-art.com), focusing on poverty in the middle eastern countries. El-Seed refers to himself as a “calligraffiti,” expressing that his art doesn’t need explanation and stands for a purpose.

A Historical Beginning

Wynwood Walls was a safety net for immigrants in the early 1900s. The town was a part of North Miami that had lax laws regarding alcohol consumption. Thus lenient laws made Wynwood Walls the spot for raucous and mischief. The city had affordable houses that helped immigrant families economically stable themselves, referring to the town as a “springboard community.”

The affordable real estate led to cheap industrial costs, making Wynwood Walls the third biggest garment industry capital in the United States. Other companies invested in the cheap land, turning the town into a warehouse avenue, providing many immigrant families jobs.

Eventually, the town production companies shut down, leaving Wynwood Walls struggling economically. Many of the original residents moved away as travel became more commercialized.

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