Today, the Wynwood neighborhood of Miami is noted for its arts scene that attracts the young and trendy eateries, breweries and shops. Although gentrification is taking hold in Wynwood, it has not always been an area for setting cultural trends. It dates back to 1917 when Josiah Chaillee and Hugh Anderson, business partners, purchased farmland and subdivided it for sale as an area that they spelled Wyndwood,
Today, what is officially called the Wynwood Art District includes Midtown Miami, which includes the communities of Edgewater and Wynwood. It’s bounded by North 29th Street on the south and Interstate 95 on the north and west. Biscayne Bay is the eastern boundary.
Midtown Miami consciously tries to look like the SOHO district in New York. Overall, the Wynwood Art District has over 75 museums, galleries and places to display art. In many people’s minds, Wynwood is now the first place they think of when they think about art spaces in Miami.
Throughout its early years, most of Wynwood’s residents were working class people. In the 1920s, the neighborhood was a thriving business area particularly for the garment industry. Wynwood continued to have significant producers of clothing until the 1980s when retailers moved in. Property values went up and garment manufacturers left.
In the 1980s another big change came to the area that set it on its current path. The South Florida Art Center, a nonprofit, purchased a former bakery and opened the Bakehouse, a large working space for artists. Many properties now serving as spaces for art were formerly factories and warehouses.
A couple of decades after the Bakehouse was founded, Goldman Properties began investing in the neighborhood. In late 2009, Tony Goldman, the head of the company, started an open air gallery for muralists to display their work. Named Wynwood Walls, it remains popular today. And the Second Saturday Walk is a well-attended celebration of urban street art that takes place every second Saturday.
The Miami City Council allows the Wynwood Arts District Association, an association of commercial property owners, to raise money for improvements such as lighting, security and traffic (vehicular, pedestrian and bicycle ). The association has its eyes on keeping Wynwood growing as an area for culture.