While our mayor continues his war on graffiti here in Toronto, Miami has taken the opposite approach and is embracing, and even encouraging visual artists to liven up the city streets and alleys. Graffiti was once considered a sign of urban decay, mostly seen in areas less privileged. Now, not only is it an accepted art form, but it’s also the subject of a new tour in one of Miami’s trendiest neighborhoods, Wynwood.
Legal outdoor murals by graffiti artists cover the walls near art galleries and restaurants, which can be viewed on a Vespa over a two-hour guided tour of the area. Roam Rides begins with a 15-minute ride from Miami Beach over the Venetian Causeway to the Wynwood Arts District, and ends with lunch at a local restaurant. In between, guides point out work by different local artists, while explaining the evolution of graffiti from when artists painted vacant buildings as a way to gain street credibility among their peers.
Once considered a rough neighborhood, Wynwood has become a destination for artists from all over the world, and a hub of activity each year during the Art Basel Miami Beach Art Fair. The neighbourhood is also now home to one of the world’s largest installations of murals by multiple graffiti artists. Today, building owners give permission to artists to spray paint their designs, and these legal pieces share the walls of dozens of neighborhood art galleries and chic restaurants. Major paint companies are even helping graffiti artists make the transition to a legitimate art form by donating spray paint.
Perhaps there’s hope that other cities, including Toronto, will one day recognize the grass-roots level contributions of its citizens, offering an artistic outlet by working with as opposed to against.
Roam specializes in Vespa scooter rentals and Art Tours. There are three tours to choose from –
Wynwood Street Art Tour: Led by a local graffiti artist, this tour takes our riders across the Venetian Causeway and up through Wynwood Arts District. Many stops along the way focus on both local and internationally known artists who have created some stunning work on both public and private properties. An in-depth and fascinating exploration of the artists and crews, and the rules by which they respect tags, bombs, throw-ups and pieces, this tour is unlike anything you’ve seen in Miami before.
The Gallery Tour: Led by a local artist, this tour features select galleries in Wynwood that showcase the diversity and depth of the exploding art scene in Miami. From more traditional galleries featuring well-known artists to galleries that focus on artists from a particular cultural backgroud to avant garde galleries promoting emerging artists, our tour gives riders a great cross-section of what is going on in the Wynwood Arts District. This tour is customizable, depending on your area of interest.
The Collections Tour: Led by a local artist, this tour features an in-depth visit to one of the major Collection houses in Wynwood – the Rubell Collection, the Margulies Collection, or the De La Cruz Collection. These spaces house huge collections of paintings, sculptures, photos, video, and installations. More like museums than galleries, these locations offer a tour of the collection led by a docent.
For more info or to make a booking, visit: www.roamrides.com or call 888-760-7626.
For more info on Wynwood, visit – www.wynwoodmiami.com