Public art to hunt down in Brickell and Downtown

Maybe you need a break from looking at art that’s confined to the walls of a gallery or museum. Not to take away anything from our incredible art venues, where world-class exhibitions are the norm. But it’s easy to spot cool art installations while strolling through our city streets. Next time you’re in Downtown or maybe strolling along Brickell Avenue, take a closer look at the public art on display. It might surprise you. Many of the pieces are part of Miami-Dade County’s Art in Public Places Program.

Downtown Miami

Dropped Bowl with Scattered Slices and Peels

Where: Stephen P. Clark Government Center, 111 NW 1st St.  

This one is iconic and definitely hard to miss plus, we’re in the Sunshine State so oranges are fitting. Made up of 17 total pieces, the sculpture represents a shattered bowl whose contents of orange slices and peels have scattered about the ground. The bright colors make the cast concrete, steel plate and reinforced cast resin pieces stand out. The piece was created by artists Claes Oldenberg and Coosje Van Bruggen. Oldenberg is known for his sculptures throughout Europe and the United States including the Batcolumn structure at Chicago’s Harold Washington Social Security Center. 

Slide Mantra

Where: 301 N. Biscayne Blvd. 

You’ve seen it every time you visit Bayfront Park, whether for a concert or a morning yoga session. It’s one of Downtown Miami’s most recognizable public art pieces created by Japanese sculptor Isamu Noguchi. But did you know that it’s a slide? That’s right, but this is not your typical park slide. Slide Mantra is a 29-ton sculpture carved from Carrara marble and you can get up close and touch this sculpture. That’s the only way you’ll see that the 10-foot-tall piece includes steps up the back and a spiral descent. 

Sculptures at Miami Dade College Wolfson Campus

Where: 300 NE 2nd Ave.

There might be plenty of cooking, studying, animating and more going on at the ever-expanding Miami Dade College Wolfson Campus in Downtown but there’s also plenty of art to be seen. There are eight sculptures in total including “The X” by Ronald Bladen who created the 23-foot aluminum structure in the shape of the letter and “Lazers Maze” a series of interlocking tubes set on edges and made of enameled aluminum.  

American Airlines Arena

Where: Inside the arena at the West Plaza entrance in the Lobby Atrium. 601 Biscayne Blvd. 

Next time you attend a concert, Miami Heat game or other special event at the AAA don’t be so quick to rush to the seats. Look up instead and marvel at the metal elements and suspension wires that are “Double Vision,” an installation created by artists Ralph Helmick and Stuart Schechter.  

Metromover and Metrorail Stations

You wouldn’t think there would be public art at any of these, they’re used for transportation to work, school, meetings and events around town, but take a closer look. At the Brickell Metromover station the platform ceiling features hand formed painted ceramic tiles by artist Connie Lloveras (pictured above).

At the Eighth Street Metromover Station you’ll see La Palma by Carlos Alves.

At the Omni/Freedom Tower Metromover Station you can take a load off and sit on Buster Simpson’s platform benches made of polished terrazzo and debris from Hurricane Andrew.

Then there’s the iconic “M” standing 40 feet high made of concrete block, concrete, stucco and painted red, created by Roberto Behar and Rosario Marquardt, at the Riverwalk station.

And it’s all about jeweled colors and striking mosaic and metal in the installation at the Tenth Street Promenade Station, again by Carlos Alves.


Icon Brickell/Viceroy Miami

Where: 485 Brickell Ave. 

These are by far the most creative columns to hold up a building. Estimated to have cost $5 million dollars, they support the swanky Viceroy Hotel/Icon Brickell and were created by designer Phillipe Starck to resemble the Moai Statues of Easter Island in Chile. It’s almost impossible not to stare in awe at their massive size as they tower over you, seven imposing figures. 

Brickell Avenue

The condominiums along Brickell Avenue oftentimes look like artwork themselves and with the price tag that comes with them – Venus Williams has a place in one of them and Pharrell Williams used to – it’s no wonder. There are however, several sculptures along the street that you should check out. They are part of an effort to bring public art to the swanky street. All are on the east side of the street and heading north after the 1814 Brickell Avenue Park. They include two colorful fiberglass pieces by artist Christian Bernard, the 14-foot-tall multicolored vertical piece “Sentinel” and the chunkier red piece titled “Delores” which stands at seven feet. “Urban Tree” by Italian-born artist Rosaria Pugliese (pictured) is an abstract tree made of aluminum with a double coating of industrial paint.  

Brickell Avenue Bridge Statue

Where: Brickell Avenue Bridge

Been stuck waiting at the Brickell Avenue bridge much? Then chances are you’ve been at a standstill right next to the sculpture by the late Cuban-born master sculptor Mario Carbonell. The prestigious Carbonell Awards for excellence in theater are named after him. The imposing 17-foot bronze statue of a Tequesta Indian Warrior aiming his arrow at the sky with mother and child at his feet, standing atop a column, was strategically placed at the bridge near the protected Miami Circle.  

Photos from