For a long time, "art" in Miami meant whatever graffiti they hadn't had the chance to scrub off I-95 freeway signs... and possibly a Britto toothbrush. But thanks to some forward-thinking folks -- and our wildly eclectic community -- Miami has become a world-class art destination in less time than it takes a Miami contractor to paint your kitchen. And that art scene isn't just relegated to Wynwood or PAMM either; there are locations all over Dade County that boast amazing works of art you'd never expect to see there. From an apartment complex in Opa-locka to a SoFL Seafood Shack to the Women's Detention Center, here are 20 places around Miami to see some unexpected great art.
20 Places in Miami You Never Knew Had Great Art
If you'd like to look at street art and not concern yourself with paying for parking, head to this soccer park in Little Haiti that's got murals even bigger than Wynwood's. Here, Pinnacle Housing has teamed with residents and artists from Haiti and Miami to create a true cultural urban gallery. Also, a portion of the walls is slated for local graffiti artists who will now have a legal place to display their art.
Those lucky few who bother to ride the Metrorail are actually treated to some impressive art at every station -- and several stations along the Metromover as well. But the most impressive is the fountain outside the Vizcaya station titled "Delights and Terrors from the Sea." It incorporates mermaids and mermen from Alexander Stirling Calder's "Great Stone Barge," which Deering commissioned for Villa Vizcaya. Noted sculptor Mark Jeffries re-cast them from molds, creating the fountain that now greets passengers on their way to the Metrorail.
Though the hundreds-of-dollars an hour you're paying Miami superlawyer Alan Kluger might be better spent talking about, oh, I don't know, your case? If you're intrigued by the venerable gallery of Latin Contemporary Art that make up his 27th floor offices at the Miami Tower, he will happily tell you the backstory of every piece. He also donates the space for charity fundraisers and often sticks around as a docent of sorts to explain the collection.
Here, instead of drab industrial walls you'll see 20 original works from contemporary artists like this one titled "The Lair" from Jill Cannady. Enjoy them before complaining about your neighbor's all night salsa dancing party.
Though MIA's got art in pretty much every concourse, the Carybé Murals in concourse H are the jewel of the collection. These iconic murals were once housed at JFK airport, but when American Airlines planned to demolish its terminal there, the airline worked with Odebrecht -- a Brazilian company with ties to Carybé -- to restore and display them at MIA. The murals, Settlement of the West and Rejoicing and Festivals of the Americas represent both the pioneer spirit and multiculturalism of our city.
The hotel itself is almost a work of art, highlighted by the Morris Lapidus-designed chateau building. But did you know the light exhibit behind the check in desk is actually James Turrell’s original work? And those chandeliers? Original works from Ai Wei Wei, and much less at risk of being smashed by disgruntled local artists than any of his stuff at PAMM.
You might recognize this mural from CNBC's The Profit, which featured Grafton Industries. The store commissioned local artist Andrew Reid for the mural for the show, and Reid created this piece to tell the story of a multi-generational business that was, for its founder, the ethos of the American Dream.
The oldest Catholic church in Miami underwent a $220,000 restoration in 2012, not only fixing the cracks in its historic facade, but also touching up the murals, stained glass, frescos, and ceilings that make this space as much an art museum as a place of worship.
OK, so, yes, it's The W. And you'd obviously expect to find something better than a $20 print of seashells. But you probably wouldn't expect a collection valued at over $40 million with works from the likes of Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Tom Sachs.
Not that we're encouraging any of you ladies to jump up on stage at E11even and scream, "I don't care. Call the cops!" But if you DO find yourself a guest of the County, that bone-chilling air conditioning will feel a little less cold when you're looking at a tile mural called "You Make Me So Happy," complete with depictions of women complimenting each other on their hair. Full disclosure: jail life may not imitate jail art.
The $53 million that were spent transforming this distressed property into a super-modern affordable housing apartment complex included a considerable investment by Pinnacle Housing Group in artwork. Art-in-affordable-housing is a trademark of Pinnacle, who're also responsible for the giant Britto lady hanging off the high-rise you see on I-95, and Peter Tunny's RESPECT mural.
Visitors to this South Beach restaurant often comment as much about the artwork that's on the walls as they do about the food on their plates. Two of the more notable pieces are "Tel Aviv Man XVI” by Jaume Plensa, sculpted by carved metal letters to resemble the silhouette of a human-like figure. And a painting of a Spanish bullfighter, entitled “Matador” by Miguel Macaya.
This restored Biscayne Blvd motel's not only one of the best new restaurants of last winter, it's also home to an ever-evolving curated art collection, including a graffiti mural by local artist Trek6 that sits behind the bar. It also boasts a wall of portraits from Guillermo de Yavorsky titled "Contemporary Miami Vagabonds" right next to the kitchen.
Nothing freshens up the fragrant amora of a city dump in Florida better than some nice tulips. Unfortunately for your nose, this tulip happens to be of the metal variety and smells like aluminum. But lucky for your eyes, it's a vibrant, 7ft sculpture from Karel Appel that'll at least give you something nice to look at while you dispose of... well, we're not going to ask because we really don't want to know.
And you thought going in to petition for a stop sign in front of your street was going to be a dull trip to an airport-area government office. Not in Miami! Your trip to traffic control includes a pretty respectable art collection, such as a plexiglass structure called "Aeriel" and this painting from Naum Gutman called "Tiberias Esplanade."
Jamie DeRosa's new seafood emporium fills the in-restaurant art void that was left when Tongue and Cheek closed. And they accomplish this with a giant custom octopus mural by Claudio Picasso on the back wall, and an original photograph from renowned photographer Amber Arbucci's "The Girl at Jellyfish Lake" collection.
The zoo is full off all sorts of animal-related artwork, from Savannah sculptures called "Animal Train" to a full-sized replica of a Monolophosaurus. The most serene is Carlos Betancourt's "Still Zoo," an installation piece near the entrance to the Amazon and Beyond Pavilion. It consists of 25 sculptures depicting native Amazonian animals, like birds, snakes, and turtles.
The upstairs lounge at Katsuya -- at the SLS -- not only has one of Miami's best happy hours, but every couple of months the swanky sushi joint transforms the hideaway with an installation from local Miami artists, including Tatiana Suarez, Jose Mertz, and Jona Cerwinske.
This new-ish bar and bottle shop is run by a couple of former gallery owners from NYC, who in addition to slinging craft beer also have quarterly exhibitions from local and national artists. The above work is from the current collection, “Mutations and Mutilations” from Seth Scanlin.
The gates to the women's park were sculpted by Cuban-born artist Lydia Rubio. Who on Miami-Dade County's public art website describes the gates very poetically: "Throughout history, women have been represented as symbols of fantasy and virtue, bearers of the cosmic forces. The sculptural fences and artworks for The Women’s Park are structured as a linear narrative, running West to East of the Flagler Street park boundary. My intention is to use this fence to generate questions about women, their symbols, and provoke thought to both young and old visitors.”
1. Little Haiti Soccer ParkNE 2nd Ave, Miami
2. Vizcaya Station3201 SW First Ave, Miami
3. Kluger Kaplan Silverman Katzen & Levine P.L201 S Biscayne Blvd #2700, Miami
4. Villa Aurora Administrative Offices1398 SW 1st St, Miami
5. Miami International Airport2100 NW 42nd Ave, Miami
6. Fontainebleau Miami Beach4441 Collins Avenues, Miami Beach
7. Grafton Furniture3401 NW 71st St, Miami
8. Gesu Catholic Church118 NE 2nd St, Miami
9. W South Beach2201 Collins Ave, Miami Beach
10. Women's Detention Center1401 NW 7th Ave, Miami
11. Boxedler2825 NW 2nd Ave, Miami
12. Kings Terrace12555 NW 27th Ave, Miami
13. Klima210 23rd St, Miami Beach
14. Vagabond Kitchen & Bar7301 Biscayne Blvd, Miami
15. West Dade Solid Transfer Station8000 SW 107th Ave, Miami
16. Miami ARTCC7500 NW 58th St, Miami
17. Izzy's Fish and Oyster423 Washington Ave, Miami
18. Zoo Miami12400 SW 152nd St, Miami
19. Dragon Lounge - SLS1701 Collins Ave, Miami Beach
20. Women's Park10251 W Flagler St, Miami
Check out the massive murals and graffiti at this lively local park and soccer field. A local organization, Pinnacle Housing, runs the space and invites artists to make the walls their canvas.
This metro station is full of great art, from a gothic fountain to a mobile by Alexander Calder.
The office of this Miami law firm features some seriously great wall art, including a venerable, extensive collection on Latin American contemporary paintings.
The administrative offices of this low income housing complex features 20 works by local and international contemporary artists.
Miami International Airport's South Terminal H includes brilliant murals by the Brazilian artist Carybé. These massive murals illustrate the multiculturalism of the Americas and Miami's diverse city life.
This sprawling resort features more than 1,500 guestrooms, a 40,000sqft spa, 12 restaurants, four nightlife venues, and 10 pools. Basically, you'll never have to leave once you get here.
This furniture store in Westgate commissioned a local artist, Andrew Reid, to paint a mural on its storefront of the story of Grafton Industries and illustrate its multi-generational history.
This historic Roman Catholic church in Downtown Miami features awe-inspiring sculptures and friezes, plus some truly amazing frescos and stained glass windows.
This beachfront hotel strikes a balance between proximity to Miami nightlife and peaceful relaxation. With a total of 408 guest rooms and bungalows, there's BOUND to be an accommodation that works for you.
Hopefully you won't end up here, but if you do, this jail near Downtown features jazzy and colorful murals throughout.
Boxelder is a craft beer shop and bar in the Wynwood Arts District. Not only does Boxelder feature some great domestic and imported brews, but it also serves as a gallery space. Started by two former gallerists, the shop hosts exhibitions of local contemporary art that rotate about every three months.
King's Terrace is an affordable housing complex in Westview, owned and operated by the Pinnacle Housing group who have installed a wide variety of public art on the site.
This Spanish spot has an expansive outdoor space is a serene backdrop where you can try stuff like the veal-stuffed paccheri with porto and Parmesan, or just enjoy a plate of 5 Jotas Iberian ham.
Harkening back to the glamour of the early 50s, Vagabond Kitchen & Bar is all houndstooth and primary colors. While preserving the retro feel, they have managed to keep the romance of pulling into a diner in your DeSoto Firesweep alive while keeping its globally-inspired menu fresh and modern. Dedicated to organic veggies and fine dining, Chef Roberto Dubois whips up creations like salmon carpaccio, tuna pizza (fresh tuna, jalapeño, aioli, tomato, and onion), and cucumber gazpacho.
If you never thought a municipal waste dump could be beautiful, think again. A bright, beautiful sculpture of an overflowing bouquet marks the entrance of the Miami's West Dade Solid Transfer Station.
An air traffic control center might be the last place you'd expect to see a first class art collection, but the work on view at the Traffic Control Center in Virginia Gardens will change your mind.
Izzy's serves some of the best seafood in Miami. Jamie DeRosa opened this spot, and we'll forgive him the Boston-centric menu names, since he's bringing in the best oysters from all over America and coming up with the great societal advancement that is lobster bacon poutine. And the walls have some pretty amazing art, too!
This sizable zoo is full of animal related works of art. There are over 20 life-size sculptures here depict members of the animal kingdom.
This semi-secret spot, located in the swanky SLS hotel, is a great place to grab a nitecap or a sushi roll. One floor above the downstairs sushi restaurant, Katsuya, Dragon Lounge offers private dining. From classic cocktails to experimental mixed drinks, the menu offers lots of options. The restaurant also features murals by local Miami artists.
This public park in Flager features work by Cuban-born artist Lydia Rubio. Rubio designed the minimalist, geometric gates that welcome you into the park, which according to her represent women as "symbols of fantasy and virtue."