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Miami, Florida-Wynwood Walls

Art Basel Miami has been on my radar for some time now. I have a standing invite from a gallery but have not made the leap of faith do to the fear of bankruptcy (I purchase a lot of art).

Thanks to an amazing roundtrip price of $129 from JFK to Miami Edyta and I headed down to Miami Beach for 2 days.  The goal was to hit up Wynwood Walls and check out the new Martin Whatson on the Eneida M. Hartner Elementary  School for The Raw Project and some of the older pieces by Shepard Fairey & Cleon Peterson, How & Nosm, David Choe, Maya Hayuk, Pixel Pancho, 2010, and Logan Hicks.

When we got there I was blown away by the sheer number of people visiting the area on a Tuesday in January.  This brings me to a thought I have been having for a while now. Why aren’t more cities looking to spawn a micro economy through art by creating their own version of an art festival like Wynwood Walls, Pow Wow (held in multiple cities) or the annual Montreal Mural Festival?   Municipalities need to be creative in this current and ever evolving tourism marketplace. Putting up a skyscraper or getting a professional sports team just isn’t enough any more.

To truly make an economic impact with tourism a city must look outside the box to cultural events and festivals;  Bonnaroo, Coachella, VELD, Wynwood Walls, Pow Wow Hawaii, Art Basel Miami, etc to bring in year round tourism.  In the 90’s Miami was known as the most dangerous place in the world to rent a car if you were a tourist. Read this article for proof:  http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1991-10-04/news/9103300773_1_tourists-rental-car-greater-miami-chamber

Now look at the art/cultural capital of the world Miami has become.

Miami has not cornered the market on art districts.  Shoreditch  in London,  Hoiser Lane in Melbourne, Australia, the area of Skostredet and King Oscars Gate in Bergen, Norway, Bushwick in Brooklyn all have found a way to integrate artwork into a neighborhood in order to help it thrive.  If cities are looking to attract a specific economic crowd while beautifying the city then street art is a great way to do it.

Following the “who really knows what art is” ban on all “graffiti” art” edict by former Toronto Mayor Rob Ford new mayor John Torre has been allowing commissioned artists to come in and beautify certain areas of Toronto. There are now two pieces by Shepard Fairy, a wonderful piece by Maya Hayuk and a Hebru Brantley mural on Ossington.

Here are some of the great shots we took while at Wynwood Walls.

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Pixel Pancho-Wynwood Walls
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Findac-Wynwood Walls
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1010-Wynwood Walls
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Martin Whatson-Eneida M. Hartner Elementary School
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How&Nosm-Wynwood Walls
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David Choe-Wynwood Walls
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Maya Hayuk-Wynwood Walls
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Cleon Peterson & Shepard Fairey-Wynwood Walls
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Logan Hicks-Wynwood Walls

SLEEP: 

The Pelican Hotel                                                                                                              826 Ocean Dr                                                                                                                  Miami Beach, FL 33139                                                                                            Phone: (305) 673-3373

Every room is different, they offer FREE Breakfast, a Happy Hour and are located in the heart of the Ocean Drive party scene.  Hotels.com had the cheapest rates and during Art Basel Miami this place is expensive ($399) and booked up. My recommendation is to book way in advance.

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EATS:

11 Washington Avenue
Miami Beach, FL 33139
Phone: (305) 673-0365
A Miami local tradition. The wait times are long, but we popped in on a Monday Night around 7 PM and were seated within 15 minutes of arriving. We had the medium order of Stone Crab, a large hashed browns (our server up-sized us for FREE), grilled tomatoes with spinach stuffing and melted cheese and a slice of Key Lime pie. Fantastic meal! You need to eat here.
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Little Havana: A great place to visit and eat.  We enjoyed Cuban Sandwiches, mojitos, pastries and cigars. These are the off the beaten path our walking tour guide recommended.
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You can see the “NT” of El Pub Restaurant behind the “Chickens” welcoming you to Little Havana
Cuban Food:
3555 SW 8th Street
Little Havana
Tel 305-444-0240
The Cuban sandwich and Cafe con Leche.

Cuban sandwich
Cafe con Leche and bread
1548 SW 8th St
Tel 305-642-9942
We jumped on a couple of stools at the counter and quickly ordered two sandwiches: El Pub Special, a Cubano  and two beers.  Really inexpensive good food.
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Cigars:

1336 SW 8th St.
Little Havana
Tel 305-643-4005
Buy a couple or create your own private label batch. These cigars can be shipped anywhere.  My Churchill costs $7.50 and smoked for 2 hours.
Pastries:  
1356 SW 8th St
Little Havana
Tel 305- 856-8141
*The guava pastry is cheap and yummy.
Music/Bar:
1513 SW 8th Street
Little Havana
Tel 305-643-7820
The Ball and Chain is a Little Havana staple that has had a bevy of stars play on its legendary Pineapple Stage:  Lena Horne, Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole and Louie Armstrong are few who have played at this historic venue.  Hit it up the Ball & Chain during happy hour for 2 for 1 drinks that will knock your socks off.
*Sit on the back patio to smoke the cigar you just purchased at La Tradicion Cubana Cigars while staring at the famous Pineapple Stage and let your mind wander back in time as you sip on your Mojito while puffing your cigar.
Drinks Wynwood Walls:
565 NW 24th Street
Tel 305-643-7820
Drop in for a nice craft beer after exploring art all afternoon.

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