Student and the city – The Miami art scene

By Suzannah Ball, Arts Editor

Travelling through America this summer gave me the opportunity to explore the world of street art, which, in recent years, has become a distinct form of art culture. In Miami, Wynwood Walls has become a wildly popular spot for tourists, giving people a chance to explore the more industrial side of the area.

Wynwood was initially an industrial, urban neighbourhood which had fallen onto hard times. Crime had become a major problem, while the failure of manufacturing businesses led to abandoned warehouses which, in turn, caused pedestrian activity to become non-existent. Luckily, family businessman Joey Goldman saw Wynwood as his next project. The Goldman family decided to develop Wynwood into a revolutionary town centre by highlighting its authenticity and providing a place for people of all walks of life to congregate and be inspired by diversity. The early 2000’s caused one of the largest art movements in history as Wynwood caused street art became a genre of art respected by all, rather than being considered an act of graffiti. Wynwood has since become a focal point for what is happening in the world of street art.

This year I was lucky enough to witness a group exhibition which presented the artists who have contributed to Wynwood Wall’s past and present. It presented the art of over 30 artists from 16 countries. All the art was assembled into one room which you entered at the beginning of the centre – the room was bright and colourful with a huge range of styles and obvious differences in culture. Looking around the room it was clear to see that the exhibition attracted a huge range of people; I was accompanied by an Australian, South African and Scotsman, as well as being English myself.

Some of the art ranged from $30,000 to $30 dollars (you could buy small examples of art within the gift shop), while the actual attraction was free. However, as you explored beyond the official Walls you found yourself still surrounded by the art of Miami. Five blocks down, the sides of walls were still decorated with beautiful, original pieces of art. It was obvious that Wynwood Walls isn’t just an official gallery of art, but a demonstration of the art of Miami and the people who live there, regardless of their position in life.

Street art can be found throughout the world, with capital cities such as New York and London showcasing a huge range of talent. The website Global Street Art was set up in 2012 in an attempt to conserve the acts of expression which can only be temporality found on our walls. The founders believe the way our public space is painted reflects on how we, as humans, interact with each other and should be protected at all cost. They are a distinct echo of human nature.

Since the curation of Wynwood Walls took place they have shown over 70 artists representing over 20 countries, covering over 85,000 square feet.

Suzannah Ball

Image courtesy Wynwood Walls

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