Downtown Miami’s creative community comes alive this weekend as the third annual “Dwntwn Art Days” returns. The three-day celebration, organized in collaboration with the Miami Downtown Development Authority (Miami DDA) and the vibrant cultural spaces in the neighborhood, features dozens of events with more than 100 arts and cultural institutions, independent galleries, and artists from Friday, Sept. 19 through Sunday, Sept. 21.
New exhibitions, art tours, open studios, panel discussions, outdoor performances, film screenings, and family-friendly happenings fill the calendar on the festival’s website (dwntwnartdays.com) or its new mobile app (eventmobi.com/artdays) that allows attendees to create a profile, view all programming, interact with other users, and customize itineraries.
Though the digital route is recommended based on the sheer volume of events, in-person introductory workshops and materials are available at the Miami Center for Architecture & Design (MCAD), 100 NE 1st Ave., which is the informational hub and general starting point for Art Days. The historic space was built in 1912 for the city’s first federal government building and is now home to the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Miami chapter as well as the area’s official Visitors’ Center. The structure alone, with its unmistakable Beaux-Arts Italianate design, is worth the visit, but organizers say MCAD will also offer charging stations for attendees to stay connected on their smartphones as they explore.
In the past two years, Art Days has grown from 50 events in two days to 130 events in three days to more than 170 events over the course of this weekend. All bike, walk, and run tours sold out in 2013 (most are free), prompting the DDA to expand the number of excursions to accommodate more people.
For a fresh look at Miami talent, the Fringe project offers five public artworks or “site activations/performances” that were selected out of 43 international proposals by a jury of experts with the guidance of two-time Fringe curator Amanda Sanfilippo and funding through Miami Dade County’s Art in Public Places (AiPP).
“Our projects have historically been permanent,” said Brandi Reddick of AiPP’s support for these ambitious and fleeting commissions. “Participation in Fringe enables us to break out of this old paradigm and align the program with Miami’s evolving contemporary art scene.”
Fringe will breathe life into a one-mile radius of downtown’s concrete jungle during Art Days through the contributions of local artists Jenny Brillhart, Nicholas Lobo, Emmett Moore, Domingo Castillo, and Moira Holohan. The public art commissions will remain on display for an extra week through Sept. 28.
“Because these projects are temporary and site-determined, they are alive and integrated into the real world. We use the city as a platform to actualize timely concerns and ideas through engagement with the site and its wider context,” said Sanfilippo, who’s known for commissioning world-class contemporary artists to create socially poignant experiences.
As part of Fringe on Instagram, a pair of Miami artists are set to share photographs of the historic Alfred I. Dupont building, street views, and other downtown Miami landmarks surrounding MCAD for an instant historical archive using the hashtag #DDAFF2014. Kevin Arrow and Baron Sherer will use methods common to archivists and historians to honor the city’s civic history and change. They encourage the public to contribute to their live documentation throughout the festival.
The closest parking garage near the hub at MCAD is the College Station Garage (Garage 3) at 190 NE 3rd St., where a special flat rate of $3 is available. Once on foot, Art Days attendees will have access to free open-air rides courtesy of Freebee, Miami’s fleet of 100 percent electric vehicles.
Diverse events to consider as you map out your Art Days experience:
Adrienne Arsht Center, 1300 Biscayne Blvd.: “I Love Lucy Look-A-Like Contest,” Friday, Sept. 19 from 6 – 9 p.m.
Freedom Tower, 600 Biscayne Blvd.: “Exile Experience,” Friday, Sept. 19 from 6 – 9 p.m.
Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM), 1103 Biscayne Blvd.: “Artist Talk with Beatriz Milhazes and Chief Curator Tobias Ostrander,” Friday, Sept. 19th from 2 – 3 p.m.
Primary Projects, 151 NE 7th St.: “Illuminations” by Magnus Sodamin, Saturday, Sept. 20 from 8 p.m. – midnight
The Artisan Lounge, 500 NE 1st Ave.: “Community Mural,” Sept. 19 from 4 – 8 p.m.; Sept. 20th from noon – 4 p.m.; Sept. 21st from 2 – 6 p.m.
Miami Children’s Museum, 980 Macarthur Cswy: “Miami Children’s Museum Arts Days Extravaganza,” Sept. 19 – 21 from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Bayfront Park, 301 Biscayne Blvd.: “Giants in the City,” Sept. 19 – 21 from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Olympia Theater at Gusman Center, 174 E. Flagler St.: “Balcony to Basement Tour of the Historic Olympia Theater,” Sept. 19 – 21, Times Vary
Knight Arts Plaza in Museum Park, 1103 Biscayne Blvd.: Patricia & Philip Frost Museum of Science’s “Frost Science Maker Space,” Sept. 19 – 21 from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Downtown Art House, 100 NE 11th St.: “City Magic Bazaar,” Sept. 20 – 21 from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Miami-Dade Cultural Center Plaza, 101 W. Flagler St.: “History on Wheels,” Sept. 20 – 21 at 4 p.m.
HISTORYMiami, 101 W. Flagler St.: “Family Art Activity,” Sept. 21 2 – 4 p.m.