HistoryMiami Museum launched its exhibition, “Avenues of Expression: Street Traditions in Miami,” with the support of the National Endowment for the Arts. This one-of-a-kind exhibition opened to a crowd of 500 guests during a reception the evening of Friday, Mar. 16.
Through artifacts, video interviews, interactive displays and recreated environments, the exhibition inspires visitors to get street smart and discover the world around them. The ten-month exhibition is open to the public now through Sunday, Jan. 13, 2019.
The launch party began with cocktails by Tito’s Handmade Vodka, “Miami Style” bites and entertainment from DJ Le Spam as 25 tall bikes circled the event. The tall bikes are one of the many features of the actual exhibit showcasing slices of character seen on the streets of Miami.
A 20 person Junkanoo band flooded the plaza, energizing the crowd and playing their instruments as hundreds of onlookers snapped photos, streamed live on Facebook and Instagram and danced to the Bahamian beats.
The Bahamas Junkanoo Revue of Miami’s colorful costumes are on display at the entry way of the exhibition which highlights other Miami art and traditions, including a cafecito machine, murals by some of the city’s most well-known street artists, muffler art and clothing worn by well-known drag queen Tiffany Fantasia, as well as visuals of vehicle customization, parades, religious practices and items focusing on political and social issues affecting South Florida and more.
Throughout the exhibition, visitors are invited to pick up a phone and listen to stories told from the people highlighted in the exhibition.
For example, Fantasia speaks of a confrontation with a preacher on the streets of Miami during a Gay Pride Parade while street muralist Serge Toussaint explains how his family finally supported his craft as an artist only after he appeared on CNN painting a mural.
“Miami is the ultimate melting pot and the street traditions seen throughout the exhibition show we are unique and have flavor like no other city. From items that surround a home showcasing religious beliefs to 30-foot high murals on the side of a building to focusing on a legendary Coconut Grove ‘”Icees” vendor in one of the original food trucks in the nation, we have a collection that can only be seen across the streets of South Florida,” said Jorge Zamanillo, executive director of HistoryMiami Museum. “It’s all the slices of Miami in one location like never seen before.”
This exciting new exhibition allows visitors to discover the street traditions hiding in plain sight on Miami’s avenues, where the vibrant, raw pulse that fuels this city is felt the most and where Miami’s diverse communities converge and interact. It also highlights the people who bring creativity and meaning to these practices, all of which help to give Miami its unique mix of characteristics and identities.
Avenues of Expression is open through Jan. 13 at HistoryMiami, 101 W. Flagler St., phone 305-375-1942, or visit historymiami.org.
Admission is $10, or $8 for students and seniors, $5 for children ages 6 to 12, and free to museum members and kids under 6.