Are you thirsty for a great cultural experience? Quench your desire at the world’s first and only museum dedicated to the preservation and exhibition of graffiti art, right in the heart of Wynwood. From Ahol Sniffs Glue’s eccentric murals to Ledania’s Colombian-inspired installations, the Museum celebrates thousands of artists who went from “vandals” to trendsetters by transforming public spaces into vibrant masterpieces (find out more at www.museumofgraffiti.com). We had the chance to sit down with co-founder Allison Freidin, a Miami native who is putting her law degree to work by co-owning and operating this one-of-a-kind museum experience. Read what she has to say about the art form and her space, located at 276 NW 26th Street.
While some perceive graffiti as vandalism, how is it also recognized by many as an art form?
Graffiti has been the vehicle used to completely transform the Wynwood neighborhood. We have the world’s largest open-air gallery that features numerous art pieces by a range of talented artists from around the globe. Graffiti has carried a negative connotation due to the art form’s legalities and messaging, until now. We are here to show the world what graffiti is all about and shine a bright light on the community of heroes who have transformed Wynwood, and countless other neighborhoods, into iconic beauty.
Is there a particular history behind Wynwood street art and does it tie into your Museum in any way?
Before the Museum of Graffiti was born, Wynwood was already a booming destination for vibrant art and culture, due to the combination of endless amounts of blank canvases coupled with the open-minded nature of the community there at the time. We wanted to contribute to that environment by providing history and context for the Wynwood sightseer to fully absorb the talent before their eyes.
This art form hasn’t really been featured by museums in the past. Your institution seems to celebrate the song of unsung heroes. How has Wynwood pushed forward the culture of graffiti and street art?
People fear what they don’t understand. This style isn’t like surrealism or cubism that have been around for decades, graffiti is a new art form that people weren’t ready for. When you couple its novelty with the mainstream negative narrative, it instilled fear in the people who didn’t understand the movement. In reality, these are artists who use aerosol paint to create masterpieces in public spaces and it’s a really beautiful thing when people visit the museum and get to grasp the experience for the first time.
How do you secure the funding to pursue the mission of the Museum?
Our world-class gift shop is run by artists for artists and art lovers! The pieces that you’re going to find here are only available at our store. Visitors can take home with them a unique piece of art in the form of a t-shirt or a limited edition collectible. The sales put money back into the hands of the artists, the community, and our mission.
As Wynwood becomes one of the largest global art destinations, how has the Museum benefited as a part of the neighborhood?
I count myself lucky to be a Miami native and have the opportunity to work in the Wynwood neighborhood. I have seen firsthand the development of this place into an international hub for art and it has been my greatest pleasure sharing the experience with my business partner Alan Ket, a 35-year graffiti veteran. Together we identified a need to give this growing art form, that so many have come to love, a platform.
How does the Museum of Graffiti hold a spotlight to the neighborhood and contribute to the community?
We love bringing in new partners and providing artists with a platform to sell their pieces. We also further expose the art style by encouraging education through classes, collaborations, and events.
Don’t Miss Out!
This December, for Miami Art Week, the Museum of Graffiti will present two new international exhibitions that spill out into a pop-up sculpture park with live music, product customizations, talks, limited edition releases, and signings inside the Mi Campo Artists Lounge. There will be print signings, collectible releases, and fashion customizations by today’s leading artists such as Dalek, Todd James, Finok, Blade, and more.