There are also chances to interact with artists at the Bakehouse Art Complex in Wynwood, with 60 studios. Second-Friday visitors are treated to an exhibit in the gallery and are encouraged to meander the halls of the former bakery to chat with artists. The 25-year-old BAC, which supports emerging and mid-career artists, separated from the Wynwood art walk several years ago to create its own following.
Artist Daniel Fila, better known as “krave,” makes a point of being in his studio on walk evenings. The street artist’s 100-foot-long mural, The Sunbather, installed last winter on a Biscayne Boulevard building between 36th and 37th streets, is a conversation kick-starter.
“Consistency is key,’’ Fila says. “People know how to find me because I’m consistently in my studio at the Bakehouse. On some of the least expected nights, cool things happen.”
ArtCenter South Florida’s Studio Crawl offers a similar setup on the first Saturday of the month in a far different location, a bustling corner of Lincoln Road. The 28-year-old center exposes some of Miami’s best contemporary work to thousands of passersby in the touristy zone of South Beach.
Another long-standing art walk occurs on the first Friday of the month in Coral Gables. Virginia Miller, the venerable gallerist who has headed the Coral Gables Gallery Association for nearly 20 years, says Gables Gallery Night carved its niche in the 1990s by providing a gateway to Cuban and Latin American art.
Today there are two dozen venues for people to explore. The association provides a continuous minibus shuttle among the galleries from 6 to 10 p.m., and last year the city began running two trolleys to the galleries and the Coral Gables Museum as well as other stops.
In Little Havana, Viernes Culturales or Cultural Fridays includes an art fair, a free, historian-led tour of the district, salsa dancing, musical acts, shopping, domino competitions and Latin food. More than 4,000 people attend each month.
To capitalize on the passion for the neighborhood, Pati Vargas, executive director of Viernes Culturales, is introducing a monthly Little Havana Art Walk on Oct. 12 featuring 25-plus galleries concentrated in the Futurama Building and nearby blocks. Many of the works here are by contemporary Cuban-American artists, though you’ll also find some by masters such as Wifredo Lam.
A different idea
Brickell doesn’t have many galleries, so the founders of the Brickell Art Walk took a different approach, arranging for local artists to bring their work to the district’s restaurants and other venues on the last Tuesday of the month, a traditionally slow night for business.
“Brickell is known for its restaurants and party atmosphere. We wanted to turn down the level of intensity and make it more cultural,” says Felipe Garcia, the event’s executive director. “The idea is to help the artists sell their work and to support Mary Brickell Village by injecting some art into the heart of where a lot of young professionals live.”
With just two art walks under their belts, Garcia and his partner are pleased with the turnout, which he reports was 2,000 on opening night in late June.
“There are so many people who live in this area and all they have to do is press ‘L’ in their elevators,” he says. “It’s that easy for them to come and see a lot of amazing art by local artists.”