In the bowels of Craigslist, buried in the catacombs of 'Community' is an ad with a plaintive plea. "WE NEED A MURAL!" its title reads in all caps. "SHOW US WHAT YOU CAN DO!" It's a pithy post, no longer than one sentence, with a photo of a long, single-story warehouse. From its base to its asbestos shingled roof, the building is coated in the same drab grey hue. One half of its awning (also grey) reads, "Warehouse Project;" the other half, "Men's Corner." It definitely needs a makeover.
"It's pretty ugly," says artist and gallery owner Danilo Gonzalez, who commissioned the ad. The building, a former apparel storage facility, had been abandoned for over five years when Gonzalez signed the lease back in 2012. The surrounding neighborhood was a ghost town and the only nearby business was the Light Box at Goldman Warehouse. But Gonzalez had a hunch that things would change. Development in Wynwood, he believed, was to going move west, towards the freeway, not east towards Miami Avenue. "People thought I was crazy."
Today, Gonzalez's 27th Street art mecca, the Wynwood Warehouse Project, is a testimony to his perspicacity. "There was nothing happening here three or five years ago," he said. "Now, everybody is moving this way exactly as I predicted." But with change, comes progress, and with progress, people. The Wynwood of today is certainly not the Wynwood of a few years ago. What was once a haven for grit and creativity is now a hotbed of glitz and gourmands. Wynwood Arts District, you say? Wrong, sweetie. It's Wynwood Café District.More »