Visual art

Art walks in Miami-Dade satisfy the post-Art Basel need to engage with artists

Got the post-Art Basel blues?

The international December event saturated city blocks in Miami Beach, Wynwood and surrounding areas with enough installations to satisfy the most devoted of art lovers for at least … a couple weeks.

Now, it’s a new year and time to satiate those artistic impulses. Given South Florida’s favorable weather at this time of year, art walks are plentiful. Wynwood, Miami Beach, Coral Gables, Coconut Grove, Little Havana and The Falls area are among the neighborhoods that host free art walks every month. These events afford people the chance to peruse galleries and studios that open into the evening to showcase scultpures, paintings, drawings, photography, mixed media and more.

The appeal is clear. “I love the people watching of the Wynwood Art Walks. You get a diverse cross-section of folks who love art, and some who think they are part of the show,” says Margot Winick, a Belle Meade resident who attends the art walks in Wynwood on the second Saturdays of every month.

“I try to drag my friends from the suburbs who never go out and complain about not knowing what to do in Miami,” she said. “I also like to take out-of-towners.”

Winick, an assistant vice president of communications for the University of Miami, also likes how the art walks transform the neighborhoods themselves. “The fact that artists have been allowed to adorn the walls of most industrial buildings and warehouses feels so fresh to me. It’s something special that Miami has to offer. For a Miami event, I like that you can really see a lot of art in a concentrated area on foot, and the price is right. I also like that spontaneous parties seem to erupt on the streets. Some galleries have DJs playing music those nights, and I’ve even seen spontaneous break dancing in the street.”

The venues also benefit from the exposure, sometimes drawing hundreds of people through their doors, says Anais Alvarez, administrative assistant at Art Center/South Florida on Lincoln Road Mall. The center hosts an art walk on the first Saturday of every month. “You get to see the art and we’re constantly changing our exhibitions and windows so people get to exchange with the artists.”

Art Center executive director Maria Del Calle said her venue hosts about 40 artists who have studios inside the center. The art walk engagement with the artists allows guests “to be a part of the process,” she said.

Here’s a look at several ongoing art walks in Miami-Dade. Most art walks begin at 7 p.m. until 10 p.m. Many offer complimentary wine and nibbles.

Bird Road Art Walk

Between Southwest 40th Street and Southwest 48th Street, Miami. Third Saturdays.

Talk about being creative. The warehouse district tucked off of bustling Bird Road in Southwest Miami-Dade lacks galleries but the industrial spaces have been converted into thriving art studios. The emphasis is on Latin American artists and guests have access into the creative process. This one was voted the Best Art Walk by Miami New Times in 2011.

Coconut Grove Art Stroll

Promenade of the Shoppes at Mayfair, 3401 Main Hwy. First Saturdays.

The Grove Stroll cobbles some 40 local and international artists who showcase amid the sound of live music and the aroma of food wafting out the doors of neighborhood restaurants. Paintings, photos, mixed-media and crafts are for sale.

Coral Gables Gallery Night

ArtSpace Virginia Miller Fine Art, 169 Madeira Ave., and along Ponce de Leon Boulevard, Aragon and Miracle Mile. First Fridays, 6 to 10 p.m.

The venerable Virginia Miller gallery, along with Coral Gables’ Office of Economic Sustainability and the Coral Gables Gallery Association team to bring this sprawling stroll to the City Beautiful. Start at the gallery and work your way to Books & Books on Aragon as the bookstore and the friendly atmosphere of its patio cafe often get into the act with exhibitions and jazz performances.

Among the galleries you can check out: Coral Gables Museum, Jorge M. Sori Fine Art, Societa Dante Aligheiri and The Americas Collection.

Design District Art Walk

Along Northeast 38th, 39th and 40th Streets between North Miami Avenue and Northeast Second Avenue in Miami. Second Saturdays.

The hot streets of Miami hop with action from galleries such as Adamar Fine Arts, Arevalo Gallery, Maman Fine Art, Markowicz Fine Art and Sponder Gallery. Held the same night at the popular, nearby Wynwood Art Walk, this somewhat quieter stroll is a nice option to take in an array of sculptures, paintings and mixed media pieces.

The Falls Arts District Walk

Southwest 129th Street to Southwest 134th Street (off 87th Avenue) in the warehouse district. Third Fridays.

The Falls is an art installation unto itself, but the popular shopping mall, with its movie theaters, Apple Store and Fresh Market, isn’t the only happening destination for folks in Kendall, Pinecrest, Palmetto Bay, Cutler Bay and other South Miami-Dade communities. The nearby Falls Arts District (FAD) has become a magnet for art lovers. Meet local artists and grab a bite at the food trucks that congregate for the monthly walk.

Lincoln Road Art Walk

Art Center/South Florida, 800 Lincoln Road and along the mall and the Bass Museum of Art. First Saturdays.

Art Center/South Florida’s resident artists are your entrée. Pop into their studios for wine and munchies, check out the main exhibit in the hall and then head down the mall where you’ll find the Romero Britto Gallery and others. The Bass Museum of Art, 2100 Collins Ave., also checks in with exhibits and opportunities to mingle with the artists.

Viernes Culturales in Little Havana

Southwest Eighth Street between Southwest 12th Avenue and Southwest 18th Avenue. Last Fridays.

Calle Ocho is ground zero for Cuban art and culture in this art walk that carries an abundance of nostalgic works that evoke the Cuban homeland. The strolling and learning can be complimented with dinner at one of the Latin restaurants that populate the area.

Wynwood Art Walk

36th Street South to 20th Street between Northwest Second Avenue and Northwest Sixth Avenue. Second Saturdays.

Arguably, the hottest of the hot, the monthly Wynwood walks fill the revived neighborhood with cars galore as residents from all over converge before 60 galleries. Leave the high heels at home — this isn’t Basel, baby — and slip on the comfy shoes because you’ll be walking from the Bakehouse Art Complex to Pan American Art Projects, from Praxis Fine Arts to the Wynwood Walls. And more.

Social butterflies will be in their environment amid all the art, food, music and like-minded connoisseurs of culture.

“Art is a way to transcend the mundane,” says Wynwood Art Walk fan Winick. “I go because I not only love to see the creativity that the galleries (and the Walls themselves — another highlight of Wynwood art watching) bring forth, but I also enjoy the people watching. Also, let’s face it, the price is right. Free.”

Miami Herald news partner CBS 4 contributed to this story. Follow @HowardCohen on Twitter.

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