Wynwood Art Walk: Out of Control or Just a Damn Good Time?
Tensions are rising in Wynwood regarding the future development of the neighborhood. Leaders in the area have been wringing their hands over it for years, and last week, a public forum on Wynwood's future devolved into a big kerfuffle. Business owners, a large majority of whom operate art galleries, think property owners aren't doing enough regarding vandalism, security, rent increases, and the party atmosphere in the street. Property owners, from the gist of last week's meeting, feel they've created a one-of-a-kind public art space that is absolutely teeming with energy -- and think some of the gallerists are ungrateful art snobs.
Justin Namon Crowds in Wynwood Saturday night.
Much of the debate has centered on Wynwood's Second Saturday Art Walks, which draw thousands to the neighborhood each month. Besides selling art, one of the major purposes of Second Saturday has always been to get people out, so they can come back again. However, in the last few years, Second Saturdays have morphed into a wild block party more about entertainment and less about art.
But is that necessarily a bad thing? We went to last weekend's Art Walk to see for ourselves.
Raymond Gentile, one of last weekend's art walkers, is an attorney who lives in Broward. He likes what the district is becoming.
"More entertainment the better. If art galleries aren't making money, or can't afford the rent, then the ones that are making money should remain and the others should go. Besides, the art and energy exist in the street. I didn't come down for the galleries."
Many art galleries now lock their doors by 9 p.m., and some even earlier. They're not interested in thousands of philistines, stumbling around, many drunkenly, not buying anything.