Miami was once a city best known for its beaches, but over the past couple of decades a sophisticated arts and design scene has transformed the cultural landscape, causing a quiet revolution on the other side of the causeway.
While the beautiful people bronzed on South Beach, a Design District of galleries, architecture showrooms, interior design stores and creative agencies was forged out of an area north of Midtown that had fallen into urban decay. At the same time, the derelict warehouses of once-industrial Wynwood to the south were being reborn as blank canvases.
Unsurprisingly, the renaissance fueled a vibrant creative arts community that’s luring locals and tourists in bigger numbers than ever. A thriving restaurant, bar and food truck scene only adds to the buzz.
One of the most popular attractions is Wynwood Walls, a permanent outdoor exhibition of murals featuring some of the world’s most famous streets artists. Wynwood also hosts a monthly Art Walk Block Party, where each venue offers entertainment and refreshments and opens their doors until late.
A winter of art
Miami’s best known art events – Art Miami and Art Basel Miami Beach are held every year in early December with hundreds of galleries from around the world taking part. The main exhibition spaces are mostly aimed at dealers and collectors, but art fans and tourists can visit on public days or take a guided tour with a professional curator. Other satellite events are held in art galleries throughout Wynwood and the Design District, and at some of Miami’s major cultural venues like the Pérez Art Museum Miami, the Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami and the Gusman Theater.
December is also the best time of year to experience free public art, with fantastic exhibitions throughout the beaches and parks of the South Beach neighbourhood and in Bayfront Park in downtown Miami. Nearly all galleries and art-related venues in the area host some kind of special event or show during this period, making the most of the influx of extra art-loving visitors.
Some of the additional events in 2018 include the Miami Street Photography Festival, devoted to the best of contemporary documentary photography; the Miami River Art Fair in downtown Brickell, and the artist-run Satellite Art Show, which was created as a means for young dealers, venues and non-profits to get their work seen during Miami Art Week. Other major events running alongside Art Miami and Art Basel include the annual Design Miami forum, which showcases collectible furniture, lighting and decorative objects; the INK Miami Art Fair at the Dorchester Hotel, and the Art Africa Miami Art Fair, a vibrant event highlighting the cultural heritage and blossoming creative scene in the historic Overtown district.
Most satellite and other events take place during Miami Art Week, 4–9 December. Virgin Atlantic operates a daily direct flight to Miami from London Heathrow.