New Town Square

Performing Arts Center Trust, Inc., (PACT) d/b/a the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County

Funding Received: 2011
Miami, FL
Funding Period: 1 year and 5 months
October 8, 2013

From weekend wasteland to awakening cultural hub, downtown Miami has undergone a remarkable transformation in the past few years. That’s a good excuse to throw a party, don’t you think? The Adrienne Arsht Center and the artists and arts organizations that have multiplied around it since the Center opened in 2006 staged a three-day fete in September called DWNTWN Art Days to mark the “new” Miami with a free series of collaborative events strategically placed throughout the urban core. A cleverly curated bike tour that received more than 200 responses in one day; an inviting place to chill in the form of a 60-by-60-foot picnic blanket-cum-art installation by South Florida-based artist Misael Soto in a downtown park, and an architecturally inspired family art-making event led by Pérez Art Museum staff at the Arsht Center were among the 130 events orchestrated between September 20th and 22nd.

Along with encouraging South Floridians to go deep into the thriving metropolis by trolley, on foot or by bike, the project brought together arts institutions, government agencies, galleries, schools, and other downtown stakeholders to solidify existing partnerships and explore new ones. Led by the Miami Downtown Development Authority, DWNTWN Art Days involved such diverse groups as the Arsht Center, Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM), Miami Dade College, Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation, the private developer Miami Worldcenter Associates, and HistoryMiami. Since 2000, downtown Miami has experienced an 80 percent increase in population. More than 72,000 people live there with 5,000 more expected to call downtown home in the next few years; nearly 50 artists now work in the area. New organizations and projects, such as Museum Place (the new home for PAMM and the Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science) continue to move in.

The possibility of stumbling upon a cultural happening has increased significantly in downtown Miami, a point that DWNTWN Art Days reinforced with pop-up art performances, talks, and murals. Temporary public artworks commissioned for the weekend included a giant inflatable Godzilla sculpture bouncing off of a downtown church and plastic faux-latticework illuminated at night by solar-powered spotlights on the outside of one condo tower. In one of the many vacant lots that still litter the area, two iconic symbols of construction and progress—an 18-foot inflatable sculpture of a giant hammer and an equally large nail—danced in the wind, awaiting Miami’s next big project.