If you can finagle a day off so soon after Labor Day, it's worth it for DWNTWN Art Days. The festivities kick off Friday, bringing a three-day schedule of more than 70 events to downtown Miami’s museums, studios, theaters, streets, and waterfront. With exhibitions, live performances, outsize installations, social-issues forums, tours, and crafts, the Miami Downtown Development Authority's fifth-annual arts weekend probably has more going on than you have time to spare. To make the most of it, check out this rundown of some of the most exciting events and venues.
Courtesy of Miami Downtown Development Authority
10. The Hub
At the Miami Center for Architecture & Design, you’ll find Art Days staff, drawing classes, free T-shirt designing, and the exhibit “After the Millennium: Contemporary Architecture in Ethiopia.” It’s a good place to plan your day and get started with some activities.
100 NE First Ave., 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Free.
Photo by Justin Namon/ra-haus
9. ArtsLaunch2016 at the Arsht Center
The Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts is a great choice if you don’t want to hike around downtown this Saturday. The center is hosting everything from an art talk (ArtsTalk2026) to walking tours of the facility to a farmers’ market, a comic book fest, and a Pokémon cosplay contest. It’s also a chance to buy tickets for shows and plays without handling fees at the box office. Visit the Arsht Center’s ArtsLaunch page (which also mentions complimentary parking) for the full schedule.
1300 Biscayne Blvd., various times from 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday. Free.
Courtesy of Alan Gutierrez and Fringe Projects
8. Fringe Projects
Hope for weather better than the deluge Alan Gutierrez will brave Friday evening. His act outside the Miami Center for Architecture & Design (MCAD) — complete with an artificial rainstorm — is among the public performances Fringe Projects will stage around downtown. The best way to find them is to catch one of the tours led by curator Amanda Sanfilippo and Thom Wheeler Castillo, but if you’re looking on your own, the easiest to spot will probably be the giant LED letters on the face of the InterContinental Miami hotel: “small IS beautiful,” by Siebren Versteeg. On Sunday afternoon, the Miami Rail will host Sanfilippo and Fringe artists at MCAD to discuss the projects.
Tours begin at MCAD, 100 NE First Ave., at 6:30 p.m. Friday (till 7:30) and 2:45 p.m. Sunday (till 4:15). The Miami Rail discussion takes place at MCAD at 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Visit Fringe Projects for information about receptions Thursday and Saturday. All free.
Courtesy of Centro Cultural Español Miami
7. CCE Miami
The folks at Centro Cultural Español will be busy putting on performances Friday morning through Sunday night. Stop by for a variety of events, including a collection of works by 28 prominent illustrators, curated by journalist Mario Suárez; a musical homage for the 400th anniversary of the death of famed author Miguel de Cervantes and the 100th of composer Enrique Granados, performed by Duo Belcorde; a musical puppet show for kids; and microtheater performances for 15-person audiences in shipping containers. Visit CCE Miami’s website for the full program.
1490 Biscayne Blvd. Free except microtheater (and microkids — that’s microtheater for kids), which costs $5 per person per show; kids younger than 2 get in free.
6. Art Walk and Gallery Night
If you prefer a mobile experience, head to SE First Street to seek out work from 11 featured artists set up for viewing and sale in downtown stores. There will also be a vintage sale and artisanal food to enjoy with the artisanal art.
Multiple locations along SE First Street and SE/NE Second Avenue; check the map for addresses. 3 to 8 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. Free.
Ana Leiva Photography
5. Drift Card Decorating at Miami Science Barge
For some science with your art, head to the water and make art out of drift cards to be dropped into Biscayne Bay. For scientists, the cards will shed light on how debris moves through the bay. For you, it’s an opportunity to have your work discovered (lying on the shore somewhere). The barge, a marine laboratory and field-trip destination, is docked at 1075 Biscayne Blvd. near the Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science, which is cohosting the event.
Noon to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Free/$5 suggested admission for adults.
Courtesy of the Olympia Theater
4. Micro/Macro Cinema at the Olympia Theater
The beautifully restored Olympia Theater is a fitting venue for Obsolete Media Miami’s screenings, which feature “repurposed commercial cinema” on 16mm film. OMM is turning the Olympia’s spotlight on experimental artists such as Martin Arnold, Peter Tscherkassky, and the late Joseph Cornell, Standish Lawder, and Chick Strand; their focuses include found footage, collages, and compilations to bring new life to old video. You can also catch a tour of the 1926 vintage theater.
174 E Flagler St., 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. Friday, 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Free. Saturday’s tour finishes with a happy hour.
Photo by Alexa Burneikis
3. MDC Live Arts Lab launch
The performing artists of Miami Dade College’s presentation series have a new theater space at the Wolfson Campus, and they’re making themselves at home with what executive director Kathryn Garcia calls “a sampler of some of Miami’s best local artists.” Ten-minute shows include a “really interactive” drag piece featuring Adora, musical poetry by Oscar Fuentes, snippets of plays, b-boys/b-girls, and other entertainment.
300 NE Second Ave., 6:30 to 9 p.m. Friday. Free.
2. Art Mixer
Start-up space MindWarehouse hosts art on local social issues ranging from sea-level rise to gentrification, presented by Winsome Designs. To chase the serious stuff, there’s also comedy by Miami’s Manny Garavito, puppetry for the kids, and light bites.
111 NE First St. 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, 6 p.m. to midnight Saturday, noon to 8 p.m. Sunday. Free.
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Courtesy of EXILE Books
1. Zines in the Vault at the duPont Building
Looking for a memento from the weekend? Step into the bank vault inside the art deco Alfred I. duPont Building to find a zine-making workshop hosted by the roving bookstore Exile Books and HistoryMiami museum. Exile founder Amanda Season Keeley says the event will include production demos and source materials including “bank and building history, money designs and production, and also random disruptive content.”
169 E Flagler St., noon to 3 p.m. Sunday. Free.