Art + Beach = Magic Miami

This is Part Two. Part 1 can be read here, Magic Miami

We started out at the Perez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) right on the water in Museum Park. It’s a striking glass structure with dazzling vistas on the outside as well as enchanting artwork on the inside. We got super lucky and stumbled upon a Jean-Michel Basquiat exhibit. Nothing like some serious street art for my boys to sink their imaginations into. In fact, they got to do just that. In the final room of the exhibit, tables stood with blank paged journals and headphones. Visitors were invited to have a seat and listen to the music that inspired Basquiat and to make art of their own. And then, to leave their art right there in the journals of the museum. The music was hip hop and bebop and jazz and Boston and The Pretenders. My boys were sucked in. They were artists too. And they and their art belonged.


Thanks to PAMM, we took away this novel way to get to know other artists on our own, by researching and discovering the music that inspired them. Then, being brave and taking pencil or pen or pastel or paint to paper to see what comes out of us, could we hear the same tunes? What tunes do you think were Picasso’s fave? Or Warhol’s? What would be mine? What would be yours? And what would art would we make?

The permanent exhibits at PAMM were outstanding as well. I have to thank the young woman at the info desk. When we arrived I quickly scoped out who seemed youngest behind the counter and approached for expertise. “Where’s your favorite place to hang out in the museum? And where would you go if you were a kid again?” This proved a pretty great guide to visiting a pretty big museum. Will definitely do that again.

And will definitely seek out street art wherever we go. Which, in Miami is way easy. Our next art adventure was to Wyndwood Walls. This collection of outdoor murals is housed, well, outside; in an urban gem of a neighborhood where niched into the concrete are cozy cafes, boutiques with things you’ve never seen before and serious, seriously serious street art from artists across the globe.

Wynwood Walls is a space where I can imagine artists imagining being kids, and kids imaging being artists. Every color that could be, could be found here. Every emotion that could be, could be found here, on these walls. These outside walls telling our inside stories. Hard to feel like you don’t belong.

For our final art outing, it was time to stretch the limits and get a little crazy.  I mean really, what is art?  And who decides?  I tell my kids, you decide. And the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami was the place to test this theory out. Housed in the landmark Moore Building in the heart of the Miami Design District, ICA Miami promises to push “public appreciation and understanding of the most innovative and experimental art of our time.” And now, my boys and I can personally attest, yes, yes it does.

When we first walked in, being honest, it felt pretentious and maybe even precious.  We could not have been more wrong.

”Be mindful not to touch the art,” the docent advised.

“Well duh, of course,” we mouthed silently to each other.

“Or trip over it,” he added, “Especially the live pieces,” He winked.

Gaping mouths and widened eyes, we stepped inside.

We were so very pleasantly surprised. Neither pretension nor anything too precious, tons of humor and exploration, and someone’s legs sticking out of the wall. Someone who is very alive had her legs sticking out of a wall. Just legs, that was all. Just art.

What is art anyways? You decide. And your decision belongs. With art, everyone belongs. The boys and I then talked about belonging to our own likes and dislikes and allowing these opinions and us to grow. Let what moves you, move you, I told my boys and myself. Let you belong to you, I told my boys and myself. And then, we can belong to each other. We were clearly being moved by Miami. Travel was teaching. We were learning.

Maybe it was simply being held by the ocean’s waters every day, for three weeks straight, that did it - a long salt soak to purify. Or maybe it was what art taught us about belonging. Or maybe it was being foreigners, being beginners together in a new city and finding connections. Or maybe it was the chance for each of us to be a kid again, a real vacation together. I don’t know. Perhaps it was the whole package, so much of life is a package deal. What I can say is that after three weeks in Miami, on our very last day, something happened that hadn’t happened in quite some time….

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And our family is again the sea that holds us. Our family is the sea we belong to.

Thank you, Miami, for your magic ~ Forever, Your Mermaid, Lara

Read Part One of Magic Miami by Lara, and enjoy her other piece, The Second Time I Ran Away From Home.