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Posts Tagged ‘Wynwood Walls’

Wynwood Paradise

I first started going to Wynwood back in 2006, when I was involved in participating in a couple of committees at MOCA, The Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami, which had a second exhibition space , “Moca at the Goldman Warehouse ”  (  now the space for The Miami Light Project ) for a few years. No one around me would dare driving West of Biscayne Boulevard, North of Downtown Miami.

Then, some of the storage and distribution warehouses turned into art galleries and the Second Saturdays Wynwood Artwalks promoted the area, first to the local artists and their friends as well as to art lovers, then to the food trucks and to families looking for something cool to do one evening a month. After seven years, the area has become much more popular, a sort of Shoreditch ( London ) or MeatPacking District ( New York ) in the making, welcoming working spaces for start-ups, thick beard tech guys walking around, cafes, restaurants and shops such as Ducati and soon to open Nespresso Cafe. Bringing more life and shops to Wynwood is great except that as new brands are coming in and rents/sales prices are soaring, a new type of animal wants a piece of the cake and be part of this area:condominiums. It is undeniable that besides Cynergi Lofts, there is a total lack of residential options in the neighborhood. This is about to change with a few mixed-used buildings ( residential buildings featuring office or retail spaces on the first floor ) in the pipeline and the ongoing  rezoning of most of the area to allow for more retail spaces, parking and a higher housing density.

Is Wynwood going to lose its soul while buildings are arriving and some art galleries are not renewing their leases, being somehow pushed out by landlords asking for much higher rents  ?

Warehouse are teared down to build residential buildings

Warehouses are teared down to build mixed-use buildings

250 Wynwood and Wynwood Central are two of the residential buildings which are going to break down in the upcoming weeks. Bradley Carlson and David Polinsky, the developers behind 250 Wynwood, which first renderings for the architecture of the proposed building were recently published in The Miami Herald , will be building a boutique building at 250 NW 24 street. They claim to be concerned about keeping the character of Wynwood  alive by incorporating graffiti style artwork inside and outside the building via a partnership with gallerist Anthony Spinello and by offering an edgy architectural style. Central Wynwood will combine 69 rental residences, as well as retail and commercial spaces. However, New York developer David Edelstein is looking to get approval for the construction of a 264 unit condominium… In the meantime, quite a few investors and buyers in need of large warehouse and showroom spaces as well as artist studios and art galleries are moving out of Wynwood, where prices per square foot to lease or purchase are now more accessible.

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Wynwood Graffiti buildingTony Goldman, the visionary man who transformed Soho in New York, the Art Deco area in Miami Beach and the Wynwood industrial hub into a contemporary art district and bohemian social neighborhood, passed away in September. He left a strong legacy of entrepreneurship and creative endeavours which are now followed by his children and his working team through Goldman Properties; Jessica Goldman Srebnick and Joey Goldman. I heard Tony Goldman was planning on transforming NW 5th avenue into a sort of high-end Fifth Avenue. The current wholesale stores would have to shut down or relocate further West. For now, new additions have appeared in the Wynwood Arts District and new projects are in the pipeline. The Wynwood Walls have expanded, including new mural paintings from Shepard Fairey and Kenny Scharf.

Current NW 5th avenue in Wynwood

Current NW 5th avenue in Wynwood

Goldman Properties will be building the first residential property in the area called The Wynwood House as well as The Green Space, a sf 10,000 warehouse conversion utilizing natural elements and green features. A Montessori School has opened on 23rd St and NE 2 avenue, close to the trendy children’s store Genius Jones. Also, a new cool barbecue eatery, Pride and Joy, has appeared on 28th street and North Miami Avenue and, believe it or not, a local beer factory may choose Wynwood for its headquarters.

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Art Miami tent

Happy Art-Baseling ! I love this time of the year, when South Florida weather becomes cooler and the small Art Basel Miami Beach flags are spread out around Miami streets, announcing the upcoming week of art fairs, art related events, special exhibits, public art installations and parties. This is such an exciting time and despite the heavy traffic during the first few days of December, Miami gets filled with thousands of art gallery owners and art collectors flying in from all over the world. You can easily tell who is visiting; they just look different. Of course, it is impossible to do it all in just a few days, there is just too much to do and see. I will not be able to describe half of what will be happening this year but let’s try to focus on a few art fairs and events not to be missed. The main fair, Art Basel Miami Beach, will take place as always at the Miami Beach Convention Center ( December 6-10 ), the second major fair; Art Miami ( Dec 5-9 ) will take place in a tent in Midtown and is adding a sister fair this year, Context Art Miami. This new fair will take place in a neighboring tent and will showcase galleries representing emerging and mid-career artists. The Overture art fair will also be hosted in a tent in Midtown, presenting 100 works of art from Warhol. It has been a few years now that most of the fairs take place between South Beach ( Art Basel Miami Beach, Design Miami…) and Midtown ( Art Miami, Context, Scope, Red Dot etc…) with the exception of a few great ones located in North of Downtown Miami ( Pulse ) and on 67th and Collins ( Nada ). In addition to its 257 art galleries from all over the world, Art Basel Miami Beach will keep on offering public events and art installations such as Art Video, presenting videos created by artists and projected from dawn to dusk on the New World Center SoundScape ( large outdoor screen on 17th and Collins ) and Art Public, featuring art installations in Collins Park. For further information about the galleries and multitude of events organized by Art Basel Miami Beach, check out the public program featured on their website or download their very cool new smartphone app.

Pop-Up Piano Miami will present eight pianos painted by various artists and placed in outdoor spots in Wynwood, Midtown and the Design District. The UR1 Music & Art Festival will take place in Bayfront Park in Downtown Miami, on December 8th and 9th, offering musical performances of singers such as Kanye West as well as art installations. Another new addition to this year’s performances is the 90-foot-long alligator head that will be floating around Biscayne Bay waters…interesting ! Of course, each local gallery and museum has prepared specific exhibits and their must-be-seen-at VIP opening parties. Local art collectors are opening their exhibition spaces to the public. As always, art and extravaganza will be everywhere in Miami during the first few days of December ( December 1-10 ).

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This exciting time of the year in South Florida is back again. From November 29th to December 4th, 2011, South Florida is celebrating the 10th anniversary of  Art Basel Miami Beach ( the Art Basel Miami Beach fair actually takes place between December 1st and December 4th with Vernissage on November 30th ). The contemporary art fair is coming back with its week of traffic jams and hunting for places to park, its thousands of art dealers and visitors flying in South Florida from around the world, the Art Basel Miami Beach fair taking place at the rejuvenated Miami Beach Convention Center, its dozen satellite fairs,  gallery, private collection and museum exhibitions, local artist studio tours,  public art projects and its must-be-seen-at private parties. This is the time when we may get nervous about the heavy traffic in Miami Beach, in the Miami Design District, Midtown and Wynwood areas but this week also crystallizes our pride to be in Miami, witnessing how its art scene has reached an international recognition.

Photo of the Wynwood Walls from Shinsekai blog

Once again the art fair, which is considered the most prestigious art show in the Americas, will be presenting more than 260 leading galleries from North America, Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa and showcasing works by more than 2,000 artists of the 20th and 21st centuries.

Since Miami Beach hosted its first Art Basel Miami Beach fair, the sister fair to the highly respected Art Basel contemporary art fair taking place every year in June in Basel, Switzerland, ten years ago, Miami’s cultural community has highly expanded. From the explosion of South Florida artists being recognized on the national and international levels, the growing number of art galleries located in Wynwood, the development of street art ( including the Wynwood Walls, offering 50 or more wall paintings in Wynwood ), the new facility of the New World Center designed by Franck Ghery, the new Arsht Performing Art Center near Downtown Miami, the new Aventura Arts and Cultural Center, the new South Dade Cultural Center, the current construction of the new Miami Art Museum designed by Swiss architects Herzog and De Meuronart is everywhere now and everybody wants to be a part of it.

For its 10th year celebration, Art Basel Miami Beach is launching two new partnerships : the first  is organized with the Miami Beach-based Bass Museum of Art. Public art,  installations and performances will take place on Collins Park, next to the museum. Art Public Opening Night on Wednesday November 30th will feature special performances by Theaster Gates and the Black Monks of Mississippi, Sanford Biggers and Moon Medicine and the Alalaô collective presenting Ronald Duarte. The second partnerhip is coordinated with the New World Center, as videos will be projected on the sf 7,000 projection wall of the Soundscape wall and park. Art Video will feature film and video works by today’s most exciting international artists, presented by the galleries of Art Basel Miami Beach and organized in association with London’s Artprojx.

It will surely be a challenge to be able to see it all, as usual, since the Art Basel Miami Beach fair is just one of the highlights of this first week of December. Most exhibits and events take place in South Beach and in the Design District/Midtown/Wynwood areas, except for the Nada art fair, showcased at the Deauville Beach Resort on Collins Avenue and 64th street. South Beach gathers Art Basel Miami Beach at the Miami Beach Convention Center, Design Miami and a few fairs including the second edition of Arts For A Better World which moved from Wynwood to the Surfcomber Hotel.  The Design District/Midtown/Wynwood areas host a few fairs including  Art Miami and Scope, Miami collectors exhibition spaces, the Wynwood art galleries and the Wynwood Walls. Further South, heading towards Downtown, another fair and additional cultural hot spots are the Cifo exhibition space, Pulse art fair and the Arsht Center for the Performing Arts.

Also, as a yearly ritual, every South Florida museum and cultural institution organizes public and/or private events during this socially and culturally invigorating first week of December, such as the  famous elite event MAM “Crash the ball” event gathering leading art patrons and organized at the Fountainebleau hotel on Saturday December 3rd, 2011.

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