Street art – fan or foe? You might become a fan after walking Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood – a museum of streets.
Graffiti Art at the Wynwood Walls in Miami
The Wynwood Walls are commissioned art works decorating one of the warehouse districts in Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood. These large windowless warehouses have created a canvas for over 50 artists representing 16 countries and have covered over 80,000 square feet of walls.
I have never been a fan of graffiti art as this freedom of expression impinges on another persons right to their hard earned property. Did you know that many cities have ordinances that require removal of graffiti tagging at the owner’s expense or the owner can be fined?
As someone who has had their property destroyed by others recklessly, when I do see graffiti, the destruction of that person’s property is the first thing that I think of, and I can rarely see the beauty or meaning in the art, as wonderful as it may be.
Many cities though, like Toronto and Miami, have embraced this new art form and commissioned art murals are allowed and encouraged in certain neighborhoods.
And so I was willing to take the trip to go explore this museum of streets in the commissioned area in Wynwood.
Wynwood was long referred to as “Little San Juan”, and commonly known as “El Barrio” as many Puerto Ricans began immigrating to this Miami neighborhood in the 1950s.
As Miami continued to expand, several development projects brought investment and attention to the neighborhood in the early 2000’s. The neighborhood was truly transformed when the Wynwood Walls was conceived by Tony Goldman in 2009. Goldman was looking to develop the area’s pedestrian potential and transformed the warehouse district by creating a museum of streets with commissioned graffiti art. He smartly was presenting graffiti art to a perhaps non-approving public in a way that was more direct as opposed to peripherally.
Enjoy the photo tour!
“Some people are enraged, and some people are applauding. If there were a mission statement for graffiti, that would be it. ” – Barry McGee
“If you disagree with something, it’s easier to say ‘you suck’ than to figure out and explain exactly what you disagree with. You’re also safe that way from refutation. In this respect trolling is a lot like graffiti. Graffiti happens at the intersection of ambition and incompetence: people want to make their mark on the world, but have no other way to do it than literally making a mark on the world.” -Paul Graham
“Art is an evolutionary act. The shape of art and its role in society is constantly changing. At no point is art static. There are no rules.” – Raymond Salvatore Harmon
“My students tag tables, walls, and chairs because their greatest fear is that no one will ever remember them. They do not believe they can give impassioned speeches, rally people in protest, paint masterpieces. They think they will die, small and forgotten, and it dictates their every action.” – Thomm Quackenbush
“After pop art, graffiti is probably the biggest art movement in recent history to have such an impact on culture.” -Jeffrey Deitch
“All graffiti is low-level dissent, but stencils have an extra history. They’ve been used to start revolutions and to stop wars.” – Banksy
“I don’t know why people are so keen to put the details of their private life in public; they forget that invisibility is a superpower.” – Banksy
Summing it up
For me, this commissioned and thoughtful presentation made me give graffiti art a second look. One where I opened my eyes to the messages on these blank warehouse canvases where artists were freely expressing themselves. My mind was not distracted by the cost, destruction, and owner’s disapproval.
I wanted to see the art in this presentation.
When the property owners and artists work together, the results can be a vibrant backdrop reflecting the spirit of that community. Bravo – Wynwood Walls!
Street art – fan or foe?
2750 NW 3rd Avenue, Suite 21, Miami, FL, 33127
(Inside the black & white building)
Industrial-European style bistro.
Great for a coffee and bistro after wandering the murals outside.
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