WYNWOOD WALLS

 

Until a few years ago, what is known today as the Wynwood Art District was an area mainly inhabited by Puerto Ricans, and so it has been called Little San Juan or El Barrio. It was once an industrial area full of warehouses (especially textiles and shoes), and not well regarded.

In the mid-2000s, a group known as Primary Flight decided to create an “open air museum” in this area, inviting street artists from all over the world to decorate the walls of the warehouses with their works. That same year, Tony Goldman, a real estate developer with a large area in the district and a passion for art, decided to establish the art space now known as the Wynwood Walls: he provided a complex of buildings with high walls and no windows, opened the Wynwood Kitchen & Bar, and continued by opening a new space for less monumental graffiti, the Wynwood Doors.

Today Wynwood is the largest street artist’s museum in the world. Exploration of the museum is an experience not to be missed. There you will find: huge murals (never the same), more than 70 galleries of all kinds, interspersed with shops, bars, and restaurants. On some occasions there are pop-up galleries and shops, temporary spaces showing lesser-known artists or artifacts of all kinds.

A diverse group of people hang out in the area: art students and a few tourists during the week. Meanwhile, during the evenings and weekends the neighborhood comes alive (the galleries open late every second Saturday of the month, and host vernissage and cocktail parties. During the week of Art Basel Miami (one of the most important art fairs in the world) Wynwood gives way to madness.

If you wish, you can take a guided tour of the neighborhood which are organized once a month (always on Saturday) starting at 18.30. However, I encourage you to wander around by yourself, leaving the main path behind in order to explore the hidden studios and exhibitions, have a coffee at Panther Coffee, or grab a beer at Wood Tavern.

 



 

Fino a qualche anno fa, quello conosciuto oggi come il Wynwood Art District era un quartiere abitato prevalentemente da portoricani e, per questo motivo, chiamato Little San Juan o El Barrio: la zona era un’area industriale piena di magazzini (soprattutto tessili e di scarpe), non proprio raccomandabile.

A metà degli anni 2000 l’associazione Primary Flight decise di creare in quest’area un “open air museum”, invitando artisti di strada provenienti da tutto il mondo a decorare i muri delle warehouse con le loro opere. Nello stesso anno Tony Goldman, immobiliarista con la passione per l’arte e proprietario di una vasta zona nel distretto, decide di realizzare lo spazio oggi conosciuto come i Wynwood Walls: mette a disposizione un complesso di edifici con muri altissimi e senza finestre, apre il Wynwood Kitchen&Bar, prosegue inaugurando un nuovo spazio per graffiti meno imponenti, le Wynwood Doors.

Oggi Wynwood è il più grande “street artist museum” del mondo. E passeggiarci è un’esperienza da non perdere: murales enormi (mai gli stessi), oltre 70 gallerie di ogni genere, intervallate da negozi, bar e ristoranti. In alcune occasioni ci sono delle pop up galleries o pop up shop: gallerie e negozi a tempo determinato, che propongono artisti meno noti o oggettistica di vari genere.

La gente che frequenta la zona è variegata: molti studenti d’arte e pochi turisti durante la settimana, ma nelle serate e nei week end il quartiere si anima (tutti i secondi sabato del mese le gallerie tengono aperto fino a tardi, organizzando vernissage e piccoli aperitivi); durante la settimana di Art Basel Miami (una delle fiere d’arte più importanti del mondo) è una vera e propria follia.

Volendo, si può partecipare a una visita guidata del quartiere, organizzata una volta al mese (sempre di sabato) che parte verso le 18,30. Io però consiglio di gironzolare in autonomia, lasciando la strada principale per scoprire gli studios e le mostre più nascoste, prendere un caffè al Panther Coffèe o una birra al Wood.

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http://www.thewynwoodwalls.com

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