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“The neighborhood had a graffiti vocabulary already,” said Marlo Courtney, now senior managing director at Goldman Properties. “We just took it to the next level.”
And then some. Goldman and crew invited boldface names like Shepard Fairey of Obama “Hope” poster fame and Kenny Scharf, one of the bad boys of the ’80s New York scene, to create murals, eventually widening the net to draw in notable artists from as far away as Brazil and Ukraine. The project has expanded to include paintings on many of the area’s large metal doors. Every second Saturday, hundreds congregate in Wynwood for a daylong festival of outdoor music, food, parties galore, and oh yeah, art viewing.
During Art Basel Miami Beach weekend (Dec. 5-8 this year), several thousand more, including celebrities and artists from all over, will descend on the city. While the event’s nexus remains the Miami Convention Center, those looking for an edgier environment will be in Wynwood.
While the Goldman company’s development efforts are unabashedly commercial — they also own the two busiest restaurants in the area and are developing residential property. including artists’ lofts — they are drawing tourists and businesses to a downtrodden neighborhood and all the art they commission can be seen for free.
Danilo Gonzalez, a painter who runs the nearby gallery the Art Place Wynwood, on 2nd Avenue, just opened the Wynwood Cafe, also in the gallery, that sells sandwiches as cheap as $3.
“I don’t want to price people who live here out of the neighborhood,” he said.
Outside, 25-year-old artist Skött Marsi was painting a mural of Marilyn Monroe on the side of the gallery. He recently relocated to Wynwood from New York City.
“I want to be part of a scene that is still starting to happen,” he said.
Kristin Tillotson • 612-673-7046