6 “Must See” Public Artworks in Miami

Miami is a city that is recognized far and beyond, not only because of its captivating beaches but also amazing public art. There are more than 700 works all over the county from established as well as emerging artists. One of the initiatives that have largely supported art in Miami is the Art in Public Places Program. 

As a result of the initiative, 1.5 percent of the funds allocated for the construction of new buildings is usually directed towards the purchase or commission of public art. With such initiatives and the passion for art in Miami, it’s no wonder there are more than 700 works in public view. With lots of public artworks in Miami, here are six that you should not miss out on seeing:

1. Slide Mantra by Isamu Nogu5chi, Bayfront Park
The Slide Mantra is a 10-foot tall, Carrara marble sculpture that weighs 29 tons, and is located in Bayfront Park. This sculpture that resembles a nautilus shell was created by Japanese-American artist Isamu Noguchi in the year 1986. The sculpture has steps up the back and a spiral slide that goes all the way to the bottom. It was originally located in Venice Biennale but later moved to Bayfront Park after acquisition by Miami’s Art in Public Places in 1990. Amazingly, Bayfront Park was also the design work of Noguchi.

2. Whimsical Mobile by Carlos and Alberto, Animal Services Shelter
The whimsical mobile that hangs from the ceiling at the Animal Services Shelter Lobby and Pet Adoption Mall is the work of two Miami-based artists, Alberto Latorre and Carlos Betancourt. The piece of art comprised of relics and objects that depict cats and dogs. The joyous composition of these objects which ranges in sizes from 10 inches to 36 inches is undeniably appropriate for the site where it’s found. 

3. Friezes by Naomi Fischer, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden
The friezes on the doors and windows of the Rose-McQuillan Welcome Center which is located at the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden is the amazing work of a Miami-based artist known as Naomi Fischer. Naomi Fischer’s piece of art was inspired by depictions of flora and represents plants, butterflies, birds, and orchids. The owner of the art says she wanted to create a piece that would complement the reputation of Fairchild Garden as being more than just a garden. 

4. Manhole covers by Garren Owens, South Beach
When enjoying your leisure walk at South Beach, be sure to pay attention to the manhole covers on the street. They were designed by Garren Owens, an artist cum designer, and installed in the year 2007. This type of “Urban Deco” features different representations with the main being symbols of sunshine in Miami, Florida as well as sea and Art Deco architecture. 

5. The Brutal Workout by Nicolas Lobo, Underline
The underline is a new linear park that is being built by the same company that made High Line in New York City. The park will cover the stretch from Brickell to South Dade and will unleash a fantastic green space that can be used by cyclists and pedestrians.

One of the main commissions installed by Art in Public Places is “The Brutal Workout” by Nicholas Lobo. The work of art features a monkey bar-like structure. The structure is made of stainless steel in a 10′ by 10′ cube that is able to rest on any side.

The structure is meant to move to four varying locations along the underline and will feature a different orientation at every one of the four locations.

6. Obstinate Lighthouse by Tobias Rehberger, South Pointe Park
The “Obstinate Lighthouse” by Tobias Rehberger is a 55-foot tall structure that looms over Government Cut. The structure is made of frosted glass and colorful aluminum discs that are placed on each other in a sculpturally wobbly design. The “lighthouse” is also illuminated by LED lights, whose main aim is not to guide the ships but rather to greet visitors to the city. 

In conclusion, there are many ways to explore Miami, and getting a glimpse of the art here is one of them. Needless to say, the different forms of artwork in Miami depict the residents’ unwavering passion for art, giving the pieces a magical touch that draws you to them. As such, be sure to explore as much work of art as you can while in Miami.