There may be a limit to your love, but love it or hate it, graffiti has made its mark, especially in Miami; especially in Wynwood.
This month, Wynwood’s gentrified/ post-hood influence crossed over Northwest 29th Street into the real, last vestiges of stillauthentic, local, home-to-real-people and taggers Wynwood, with a project both ambitious and inspirational. It is, for many who love it, the toast of the town.
People make a number of assumptions about street art like they do about young people, police, religion, race, gender, intelligence, politics, music — I guess people make a lot of assumptions. My wife doesn’t care for graffiti; I appreciate a lot of it
Young people love its skeletons, monsters and gruesomeness. Or maybe I’m jumping to conclusions. One thing for certain, the business of street art has become lucrative.
No, the artists aren’t getting rich, but Wynwood between 20th and 29th Streets has been transformed by it. There are tourists from every part of the world sitting at Panther. There are guided tours, busloads of gawkers and single-speed bike riders in and out of there all the time now. Look hard enough and you might even see tourists visiting from Pinecrest, Palmetto Bay or (gasp!) Fort Lauderdale; it has become that popular.
Restaurants, breweries, shops, developers and sundry hipsters are on every corner. Zak the Baker is holding down a seriously austere and beautiful spot across from the Miami Light Project and filling the neighborhood with beautiful people, beautiful music and seriously beautiful loaves of organic sourdough.
In some ways, the bait has been paint and the lure graffiti. One ambitious undertaking has taken place in the shadows of the Bakehouse Art Complex at Jose de Diego Middle School and unpacking who is responsible for it takes a lot of detective work. I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the original wall on the west side of the complex; it remains the iconic, local inspiration. R.A.W., Re-Imagining the Arts in Wynwood, was the brainchild of ?
Well, a bunch of people seem to be taking responsibility for the idea and project. The Wynwood Arts District Association hosts the Facebook page.
WynwoodMap.com’s Robert De Los Rios and Christopher Montano are both partners and curators. Jose de Diego staff and administration has played a major inspirational role. U-Doodle is involved. So are South Florida Ford, Global Shapers, the Light Project, the Bakehouse and even me – I donated through CrowdRise.
The bottom line? Jose de Diego and schools in the most powerful country in the history of the world need money to fund their Art program. Maybe if we lower taxes a bit more, our public schools will have even less money and will be able to cut other unnecessary programs like sports, English and mathematics. But I digress.
This is an experiment, of course, but having visited Jose de Diego just before Art Basel, I imagine a slew of tourists will flock to the school on Saturdays and Sundays to see some of these massive murals. I can’t drop all the painters’ names on you, but those who are in the know do know who they are, and those who did this should be proud.
Carl Rachelson is a teacher at Palmer Trinity School and a regular contributor to the Pinecrest Tribune. He may be contacted by addressing email to firstname.lastname@example.org.