DWNTWN Art Days is finally upon us. For the next three days, Downtown Miami gets a chance to show off its artistic assets, taking a slice of the spotlight from their happening neighbors in Wynwood.
The weekend-long celebration of exhibited and public art starting Friday features over 150 events for us to take in. Many of the events ask visitors to flex their creative muscles and get involved, while others invite you to simply enjoy the talent of the dozens of artists participating.
To help guide you in this epic adventure, we've compiled ten of the coolest art events.
Shangri-La by Loren Santiesteban
Visual artist Loren Santiesteban will transform the Museum Park Metro Mover Station into a yarn-spun forest, flowing on and over the entrance. The colorful, woven designs will potentially hit the sides of the floor, and plant-like objects will be connected to the roof and sides of the entrance. Santiesteban, a New Jersey native and Miami resident, is inspired by the interaction of human beings and nature. Check out her work this weekend from midnight Friday to midnight Sunday at the Metro Mover Station (1191 Biscayne Blvd.).
"Agalma" by Autumn Casey
Take a stroll through 2013 Mastermind Honorable Mention Autumn Casey's youth with her debut solo exhibition, "Agalma," at Primary Projects. The collection is made up the artist's past experiences, with relics from her childhood forming the foundation of many of its pieces. Ghost Ride My Mind piles a pink plastic Barbie corvette atop a vintage Life magazine. A video work juxtaposes film of Casey playing her childhood piano with shots of her father smashing the instrument to bits -- a work inspired, the artist says, by the pressure to play that ultimately spoiled the hobby for her. View Casey's work at Primary Projects Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.
Beatriz Milhazes at PAMM
Art Days coincides with the opening weekend of Beatriz Milhazes: Jardim Botânico at PAMM, the first major U.S. retrospective of the work of the Brazilian artist. The exhibition will feature Milhazes' large-scale abstract paintings inspired by Brazilian and European modernism, Baroque forms, popular culture and the decorations of Carnival. Get lost in the colorful, geometric works all weekend for free with museum admission ($12 adults; $8 children ages 7-18; kids under 6, free). Public tours led by PAMM docents for Art Days from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday through Sunday.
Giants in the City
This one is too fun to pass up. Featured at last year's Art Days, Giants in the City is a monumental inflatable exhibition compiled by work from 17 different artists. The huge, squishy artworks comment on the permanence of traditional monuments, and capture the wonder that occurs between art and the viewer. Take a walk through this art you can actually touch Friday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Bayfront Park.
A reference to what is imagined and the production of share images, "Fleeting Imaginaries" is part of the 12th Cycle of the Grants & Commissions Program Exhibition. This year's exhibition features work by emerging artists Pablo Accinelli (Argentina); Nayarí Castillo (Venezuela); Marcellvs L. (Brazil); Carlos Martiel (Cuba); Mateo Pizarro (Colombia), and Adrian Regnier (Mexico), and mid-career artists Claudia Joskowicz (Bolivia) and Rosângela Rennó (Brazil). View the collection of works at CIFO Art Space from noon to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.
"All About Warhol"
Andy Warhol fans can take a long look at the artist through the eyes of others with "All About Warhol," a collaboration between photographers Christopher Makos and Paul Solberg as seen in their celebrity portraits of Warhol, along with Ai Weiwei, Tom Ford, Debbie Harry, Lou Reed, Georgia O'Keefe, and others. Presented by Snap! Miami, the exhibit also features select photographs of Warhol from William John Kennedy: The Warhol Museum Edition.
The first floor of the CU-1 Gallery will showcase "Warhol," the mezzanine will include works by artists represented by Snap! including Richard Tuschman, Tom Chambers, Wendy Sacks, Patricia Van de Camp, Heather Evans Smith, Thomas Dodd, Jason Mitchell, and Luis Lazo/L'atelier Alejandro Lazo. Friday evening kicks off the exhibit's opening night, with cocktails by the Courtesy Bar, soft drinks by ONLI Beverages, and food by Juice Lab from 7 to 10 p.m. RSVP at eventbrite.com. Art Days visitors can check out the exhibit on Saturday and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m.
This is a biggie. A series of site-specific installations for Art Days curated by Amanda Sanfilippo, Fringe is comprised of six projects that have been selected from a call to artists that received 43 national proposals. These public artworks or "site activations" will all be located within a one-mile radius. The artists featured are Jenny Brillhart, Nicolas Lobo, Emmett Moore, Domingo Castillo, Moira Holohan, and Kevin Arrow & Barron Sherer, whose works will be displayed throughout the weekend at Miami-Dade College, MCAD, International Mall, and on the ramp leading to Cultural Plaza and History Miami.
Magnus Sodamin: Illuminations
Ever stare at a painting and want to just fall in? Artist Magnus Sodamin has created the opportunity with Illuminations, a painted performance space of day-glow colors and blending patterns meant to dance within. The project will be recorded live and projected onto a building facade in downtown Miami, where spectators outside the gallery space will also be able to experience it. Get lost in the motions Saturday at 8 p.m. at Primary Projects.
Shifting Nature: The Lighting Room
Cuban-born, Miami-based artist Juan Carlos Zaldivar will present the latest installment of his transmedia story called Shifting Nature, for which he has produced sound, video, and sculptural work through the Bernice Steinbaum Gallery, The Miami Light Project, Sandra Montenegro Contemporary, and others. When fully completed Shifting Nature will be a web platform featuring two short films "Shift" (2013) and "Alterations" (currently in post-production) and will include documentation of a series of art projects produced over the last four years. His installation for Bas Fisher Invitational will be site specific, with an opening reception Friday from 6 to 9 p.m. and Art Days display Saturday and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m.
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Video, sound, and light shows are all well and good, but Turn-Based Press is here for the print lovers lingering in this tech age. Comic Art Workshop: Draw and Print! will be a five-hour-long story building and screenprinting workshop lead by Tom Hart, founder and executive director of the Sequential Artists Workshop, a free-standing school for comic art in Gainesville, Fla., and Kathleen Hudspeth, founder and co-director of Turn-Based Press. The workshop will be held at Turn-Based Press (100 NE 11th St.) Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Cost is $50 with register at turnbasedpress.com and includes all materials, refreshments, and your artwork to take home at the end. Space is limited to 14 lucky participants.
The printing company's second event, "Tell It To My Face," will feature works from SAW as well as works by local artists, and will be an exhibition of works on paper, prints, and artists' books focusing on narrative content and storytelling. "Tell It To My Face" opens Saturday, with a reception from 7 to 11 p.m. It will also be on view for Art Days on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Now, our list of ten is only a starting point. There's plenty more interactive and eye-boggling activities to explore this weekend, from bike rides, to architectural theater tours, to flea markets. Visit dwntwnarts.com to view the full schedule.