The Wynwood XP
Wynwood: A Brief History
Nestled in the heart of Miami, Florida, the Wynwood neighborhood has been gaining worldwide attention for its dramatic development from a cocoon of old warehouses to a colorful butterfly of unique art galleries, shops, and bars. Wynwood wasn’t always the trendy neighborhood it is today, however.
After World War II, commercialization and urban flight took a huge toll on this small, once new suburban neighborhood. Families that lived there for generations moved away, leaving run down homes available at an affordable rate for immigrants and lower class families. By the 1970s, the neighborhood was even considered a “springboard” for new immigrants to have a chance to improve their economic standing so they could leave the deprecating neighborhood as quickly as possible.
Who could blame them?
During the late 1970s the neighborhood has a 55% unemployment rate and was overrun by drug traffickers. Small business owners closed up shop and moved their storefronts elsewhere, along with their families, with a lost hope for their once safe neighborhood and a new hope for a better life. Their empty warehouses left behind were home to chemistry labs and other illegal activities. Those who couldn’t leave either hid from the criminals, or joined them in a desperate attempt to survive. The rising criminality and decrease in economic stability left many small businesses owners bankrupt, which trickled down the chain into a rising unemployment rate. Families started leaving, with no work and a hope for a better life.
Nobody wanted to live in a neighborhood full of crime and no jobs. It seemed as though hope was lost for this one humble neighborhood.
This video reveals how Wynwood looked before it became an artistic hub.
Wynwood: Its Street Art Transformation
Fast forward to the late 80s, when the South Florida Art Center discovered one of the old warehouses in Wynwood. The center was being run out of their current neighborhood due to rising rent costs, so they set out on a journey to find a new facility to continue doing business.
That new facility?
An old bakery warehouse nestled in Wynwood. The center bought the building and renovated it with the hopes it would become Florida’s largest collaborative artists’ workspace.
They called it the Bakehouse when they opened their doors in 1987, and it still operates under that name today with artists from all over Florida coming to create beautiful art.
Though the Bakehouse was the first step towards creating a better Wynwood, it wasn’t the only factor that played a role in its massive transformation. In the mid 2000s, Goldman Properties—who had a knack for finding artsy neighborhoods—bought a handful of warehouse properties in Wynwood. His passion for art is what inspired the infamous Wynwood Walls—a dreamy open air gallery covered in unique paintings by various artists from around the world.
That passion sparked an entire movement throughout Wynwood to create a living, breathing canvas for people around the globe. Slowly, the crime and unemployment rates dropped as trendy restaurants, art galleries, stores, and breweries moved into the neighborhood—each storefront bringing its own unique story and creativity to this blossoming neighborhood. With each new piece of art, event, or storefront comes more people and more opportunity for this rising star of a neighborhood.
Art brings life, and Wynwood is just the first of many examples to come.
Artists saw all of the blank warehouse walls as blank canvases and thus, the colorful transformation of an old neighborhood into a world famous art district began.
Creating a New Canvas
So, why are we telling you this transformative, somewhat fairy tale of a story?
Because we are a team of great urban artists who believe in the power of art.
Art brings life, and Wynwood is a living, breathing, bustling example of the dramatic turnaround a neighborhood can have with just a little creativity splashed onto its walls. Our team of artists work together to brainstorm ways to transform and revitalize neighborhoods around the country. There’s no massive condos being built, no major architectural changes, making it a more affordable option for communities to have a chance to seek out growth within their loving neighborhoods.
Wynwood’s art worked. It kicked out the crime, brought new businesses and jobs, as well as lit a fire throughout the community to never stop creating.
We can make this happening in your City.
Check out our gallery.
Browse through samples of our amazing urban artists work made in Wynwood and around the world.