South Beach and more in particular Lincoln Road Mall has fallen victim as one of the latest casualties of gentrification. Speak to any South Beach old timer with even a spark of imagination and you will quickly pick up on a tone of hostility towards being displaced by the runway models and wealthy Europeans that followed them to take over a road that no longer resembles the creative art avenue it once was.
Their is an amazing transformation going on in a town called Wynwood off the beach and on the other side of the bridge, thanks to the vision of Wynwwod Art District’s founder Tony Goldman.
Wynwood is home to over 70 art galleries, museums, bars, restaurants, and the world’s largest collection of street art. The walls themselves are breathtaking and add a refreshingly new and raw depth to the Miami art scene. It’s like walking through a majical fantasy village or walking through a well curated museum, and a must see if you are a fan of street art.
“Art Walk”, occurs every second Saturday of every month between the hours of 6pm to 10pm and extending throughout the night. The night features Art Gallery openings, food trucks, and a great celebration of the Miami Art scene, as thousands of people take to the streets.
I loved taking in Second Saturday at Wynwood, and found myself constantly shooting pictures with my Nikon, and realizing that these great pieces of self expression would not be there forever. I felt guilty in a way for selfishly securing their timelessness and stealing an element of raw and in the moment care free spirit of freedom that the work embodies. Nonetheless, these are works that should be seen and appreciated in person.
As gentrification moved the art scene to Wynwood, just one evening there and I could see the writing on the wall, that it won’t be long before this new generation of young artists and entrepreneurs have to find a new home themselves, just as the artists of South Beach before them.
Wynwood is also referred to as “Little San Juan”, and commonly known as “El Barrio” as many Puerto Ricansbegan immigrating to this Miami neighborhood from the island and northeastern cities in the 1950s. Puerto Rican-owned restaurants, shops, markets and other businesses align the streets of Wynwood. Recently, however, the neighborhood has seen a push towards gentrification with increased investments and developments. The Midtown Miami development built in the mid-2000s, brought renewed attention to the area, and previously abandoned warehouses have begun to be occupied by artists, restaurants, cafés, and lounges. Art and fashion are major elements of Wynwood, as Wynwood has a large fashion and textiles industry, primarily along NW 5th Avenue, in the Wynwood Fashion District.
It is roughly bounded by North 36th Street (north), North 20th Street (south), I-95 (west) and Northeast First Avenue (east).