Wynwood

Meet Miami’s Hip Hop Ice Cream Shop

What’s News In This Story?


–Mr Kream Wynwood has a pretty unique vibe for an ice cream place. Run by a group of Miami DJs, the shop is the perfect place for those with a serious sweet tooth and an ear for rap.

-The shop is just over a year old and has become very popular.

-Ice cream flavors are named after famous rap stars. An example?: 2 Live Blue.

-The stated goal is to give people a great desert while also teaching them about hip hop culture and history. 

 

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Jack’s Is The Casual Italian Place That Miami Desperately Needed

If You Go: 

Jack’s Home Cooking

Location: 2426 NE 2ND AVE, MIAMI, FLORIDA 33137 

 

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Wynwood Radio And The Hype Of A Gentrified Community

Wynwood, Wynwood, Wynwood, oh hipster community, growing in fame, apparent fortune, and broadcasting presence, online.

Meet Wynwood Radio.

This is a story of resilience, openness and community.

Started in 2009, with very little money and a group of immigrant friends, Wynwood Radio was founded in a small studio nearby Midtown.

Some people might think: “not the best time to open anything or the best area to go into.”

With the Great Recession hitting the Miami area hard and the broadcasting world being in a world of flux, four friends let both aspects aside and were determined to provide music and entertainment to a new community that they believed in.

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“We got so in love with the growth of Wynwood as a community based in many types of arts that we decided to hone our own art to contribute to this community,” Vicente Solis, one of the developers of Wynwood Radio said in an interview with RISE NEWS. “Our idea was to bring people together through music, art, history, food and other things that make Wynwood so special.”

Creating this type of station was not a first for the group of content creators.

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Before submerging in the Wynwood community, Solis had worked with one of the founders of Wynwood Radio, Adrian Olivares at another online radio station in Mexico City.

Olivares believes in the power of community involvement to create a successful product.

The homepage of WynwoodRadio.com.

The homepage of WynwoodRadio.com.

“We witnessed all the community meetings every month and we say how security and infrastructure in the area improved as a result of the constant requests of residents and business owners,” Olivares said. “All of it brought Wynwood to its hyped stage.”

That hype is frequently associated with the gentrification of the area.

It is that gentrification process in Wynwood where some have felt discomfort.

“Maybe the process has happened a little too quick in the area,” Solis said.

While others have felt they have been given a second chance.

“All the locals that I know have gotten more job opportunities because of all the businesses that have opened there,” Olivares said.

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It is that duality what makes Wynwood Radio a prime participant in the development of community.

“We have a pathway for community members to have a voice, to promote their own events as well as choose their own music to be broadcasted in the station,” Olivares said. “We all have different ways to look at Wynwood, different ways to express our talents, and that is what we want to show in our programming: diversity.”

Besides showcasing music from the 1940’s to the latest releases, Wynwood Radio also promotes community events and issues that happen in Wynwood and neighborhoods nearby.

Both Solis and Olivares emphasized the importance of community members to maintain close connection with the station, they are open to receiving music selections and program ideas from any community member to continue the development of Wynwood Radio.

For more information on Wynwood Radio, you can visit www.wynwoodradio.com

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. You can write for us.

Cover Photo Credit: Maju Rezende/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Wholesalers In Miami’s Trendy Wynwood District Feel Like They Are Getting Forced Out

One doesn’t have to venture far into Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood to see that it’s currently undergoing a major transition.

Formerly empty warehouses, newly restored, now function as both galleries and canvases for popular street artists. The gentrification of the area, aided in part by Tony Goldman’s development of the Wynwood Walls, has changed the neighborhood over the past decade and turned it into a popular destination for both tourists and locals.

Only a few streets over from the art scene resides the fashion and garment district. A culmination of shops and boutiques specializing in wholesale for over 20 years, people associated with the area have noted the effect that Wynwood’s cultural and economic revival has had on their trade.

“[The area] has changed totally, now it’s just art all over,“ Victor Pinzon, the manager of Marcel’s Fashions said. Marcel’s Fashions is a wholesale business that’s been operating in the Wynwood area since 1985. Over the last ten years Pinzon’s seen the fashion district transform with the growth of the nearby art scene.

“Before, you couldn’t leave the warehouse after 5 PM because it was too dangerous,” Pinzon said in a phone interview. “Ever since the art came in more and more people come into the neighborhood now.”

“I love Wynwood. My mom does too but we do have to move,” Hannah Blinder said.

“It’s changed a lot,“ Hannah Blinder, a fashion connoisseur and entrepreneur said. Blinder’s mother Hye K. Blinder owns Hannah Bella, a trendy wholesale shop located in the heart of the fashion district.

“Now they’re turning everything into really cool restaurants, clubs, lounges,” Blinder said.

Both Blinder and Pinzon agree that Wynwood’s gentrification is good for the city overall, adding to Miami’s reputation and giving it a more cosmopolitan feel.

Photo Credit: Bea Sampaio

Photo Credit: Bea Sampaio

“Nowadays you can say you’re based in Wynwood and have people know you’re in the art district,” Pinzon said, citing one of the perks of the fashion district’s current location.

However, when asked about how the gentrification of the neighborhood was affecting the fashion district overall Blinder said it was a time of transition.

“I love Wynwood. My mom does too but we do have to move,” Blinder said. “All the buildings are not really wanting wholesalers here.”

Blinder explained that many of the warehouses utilized by these wholesale businesses are leased, not owned. The proprietors of these buildings, eager to capitalize on the art scene’s success, are more interested in leasing to potential galleries and restaurants than to wholesale shops.

“ [The owners] want to replace these wholesalers with art galleries and restaurants, stuff like that,” Blinder said. “They want to change the landscape of the whole neighborhood.”

The question now is how long the fashion district’s workers will actually continue to benefit from Wynwood’s gentrification, especially if and when the owners of these warehouses are no longer interested in leasing them space.

Blinder herself believes that the fashion district will relocate in the next few years to Allapattah, a nearby Miami neighborhood with ample warehouse space and an already existing textile industry. She hopes that the arrival of these wholesale businesses into the area will contribute to the community overall.

“We are moving down to that area and we are kind of just hoping for the same trend, like increases in safety, with everyone moving there,” Blinder said.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. Anyone can write for you us as long as you are fiercely interested in making the world a better place. 

Cover Photo Credit: Photo Credit: Bea Sampaio/RISE NEWS

This story was originally published on www.risemiaminews.com on June 8, 2015.

In Miami’s Wynwood Art District, A 25 Year Old Artist Is Ready To Take The City By Storm

MIAMI- Nestled along Wynwood’s 5th Avenue there’s a mural of a figure painted entirely in black and white. Pictured on its monochromatic surface is a woman, naked except for the long ringlets of hair wrapped constrictively around her body. She sits contemplatively before the viewer, back bowed while pedestrians pass her by.

Surreal-looking spectacles like these can be found scattered throughout the city, all of them authored by Rolando Adrian Avila. At only 25 years old and with less than six of months of residence in Wynwood he’s poised to become one of the more prolific and better-known painters within Miami’s art district.

The Cuban-born muralist and former Angeleno (native of Los Angeles) has roots to South Florida dating all the way back to his days at New World Schools of Arts, a small and selective magnet school known both locally and nationally for its excellent arts and theatre programs.

“Unfortunately not everybody has a chance to do it. I come from a pretty poor family, and the only way I was able to travel and to go outside the city was because of art,” Avila said during a sit-down interview, “I got money to go to California from school, that was the only way. I feel like that’s important for an artist, to be educated. Education is everything.”

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To date Avila has created at least 12 murals in Miami, most of them concentrated within Wynwood and the surrounding art district. As a self-described “wall vampire” he often seeks out unadorned spaces within the area to renovate and embellish with his work, masking concrete in a monotint display of long-limbed bodies and lotus flowers.

Avila first emigrated from Cuba to the U.S. at the age of 13, eventually gaining a scholarship to attend Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. The most notable thing about his work at first glance is just how stripped-down his pieces tend to be, both literally and figuratively.

“Women in general are a lot more powerful than men to me, especially around [Miami].” -Avila said

The subjects he portrays are predominantly female and nude, implied to be the objects of a male gaze. But there’s also simplicity to the color composition of Avila’s work. He often picks a single shade to dominate the canvas, focusing attention and detail on the subjects of his murals by keeping the palette relatively monochromatic.

As for the nakedness, Avila doesn’t believe his primary subjects are likely to scandalize here as easily as they might somewhere else. Miami’s extensive beach culture brings with it an inordinate preoccupation with body image and physical beauty, making the city a quintessential place for nudity in art to be accepted and, in some cases, even lauded.

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“I feel like people [here] really respond to figurative work. I do these girls, and in Miami the body is something that is celebrated.” Avila said.

It’s true that there’s a definite sense of eroticism to Avila’s work, but more often than not it’s purposely coupled with mythological imagery and significance. The women depicted in his paintings and murals often show up in triplicate, a reference to the religious archetype of “triple deity” so often seen in classical literature and art.

They’re goddesses the way you imagine goddesses would look like in the 21st century; slender and statuesque, hair coifed and lips pouted perfectly as if posing for an editorial.

“Women in general are a lot more powerful than men to me, especially around [Miami].” Avila said, “It’s kind of like the whole idea of goddesses, this whole idea of the Greeks and the Romans. To them women were everything.”

These women often appear to be reveling too, frozen mid-pose on the canvas while onlookers are free to gawk at the display of their bodies. Avila’s work is, if anything, voyeuristic in nature. He plays with perception as often as some other artists play with the colors on their mixing palettes and it’s never made clear exactly how we should feel looking in on these private scenes.

The women within his murals almost always have their eyes covered or bound by their own hair, blinded to the audience’s gaze and unable to take in their own surroundings. They appear naked and vulnerable before the viewer, and yet the artist himself describes their sightlessness as transcendent, a reference to a harrowing experience his sister once underwent in Guantánamo after one attempt to emigrate to the U.S.

“At the time my sister was trying to get out of Cuba. She tried to get out through the water because her boyfriend was trying to bring her over here and she got sent back to Guantánamo two times,” Avila said. “She almost died, and they cut off her hair just to be assholes with her. I was doing an illustration at the time just about depression and so I did this woman with her hair wrapped around her face.”

Avila explains most of the story from inside of his studio, a modestly sized, brightly painted room located in the heart of Wynwood. Walking in you can see the artist’s half-finished paintings dotting the main wall that runs along the interior. A pile of surreal-looking prints rest in the corner. The apartment building it’s housed in is also home to the studios of his colleagues, many of whom he spoke about as having an influence over his body of work.

“I think [it’s] one of the most important things as an artist. Especially when I was at Art Center what I learned was [being influenced by] other artists.” Avila said.

Like him, some of these individuals feel conflicted over the commodification of Wynwood’s art scene and the ensuing gentrification of the area. The popularity that events like Art Basel bring to the neighborhood creates more substantial opportunities for urban artists to work and promote themselves, especially when corporate sponsorship becomes a viable reality.

But all that promotion comes at a cost, mainly that the rise in property values now mean that a significant portion of Wynwood’s local artists can no longer afford to live in the same neighborhoods that their murals have helped to commercialize in the first place.

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“I think artists should be paid a good amount of money to do what they do because it takes time and it’s hard, you know? If people appreciate it then [they] should appreciate it by helping.” Avila said. “That’s why I feel like I have a responsibility to make sure that happens, especially now that I’m getting lucky enough to get some projects and [have] some people like my work.”

A recent exhibition of Avila’s entitled Paradox Lost ran almost a month ago as part of an Art Walk experience originally hosted by Minimax Events. The display was held at the Mana Production Village, a raw space popular in the area for accommodating everything from art openings to film crews.

Aside from the show, one of Avila’s upcoming public projects includes plans to beautify a local apartment complex sometime in October. His intent is to turn the space into a hybridized showcase for both fine art and street art, one style juxtaposing the other in a strange marriage of aesthetic to functionality.

Collaborating with him on the project will be Reinier Gamboa, another Wynwood artist well known for his figurative painting style and use of religious and tropical iconography.

A contemporary of Avila’s, the Cuban-born Gamboa also spent his youth at New World. His body of work has been exhibited everywhere from the non-profit Locusts Project in Miami to the Nucleus Gallery in California.

“I want to be a fine artist that does walls,” Avila said at one point, explaining the changing nature of his field’s accessibility to the general public, “If you think about it that’s what artists do in their careers. They start by canvas and then later on in their life they do a mural somewhere. I want it to be the other way around.”

Photos: Bea Sampaio/ Rise News

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