Miami's Extraordinary Wynwood Arts District

A few miles north of downtown Miami, Wynwood is one of the largest open-air street art installations in the world. Here's a brief summary and photo tour of the district's rapid transformation.

Originally called Wyndwood, the neighborhood was platted by Josiah Chaille and Hugh Anderson in 1917 and developed as a working-class community during the 1920s. Adjacent to the Florida East Coast Railway, the area began to develop into a industrial and garment district by the end of the booming 1920s. Early 20th century companies with operations in the area included the American Bakeries Company (Merita Bread) and a Coca-Cola bottling plant. By 1980, it was said to be the third largest fashion district in the country with 225 clothing retailers and manufacturers.

Wynwood’s conversion into an arts epicenter dates back to 1987, when a group of artist seeking spaces with lower rents, converted the former American Bakeries Company into a large working artist’s space called the Bakehouse. In 2003, the Wynwood Art District Association was founded by art dealers, artists and curators. In 2006, Goldman Properties, a firm related to the revival of South Beach and NYC’s SoHo, began acquiring several buildings in Wynwood’s warehouse district. Goldman’s vision was for the district to become a canvas for urban street art. Since the 2009 opening of Wynwood Walls, an outdoor gallery of murals, the neighborhood has become just that. Now home to over 70 galleries, museums and collections, Wynwood is one of the largest open-air street art installations in the world.