5 Shows to See in Little Haiti During Art Basel

Welcome to Little Haiti in Miami - Photo by Atelier Tree
Welcome to Little Haiti in Miami - Photo by Atelier Tree

Table of Contents

In the heart of Miami, Florida, lies a small neighborhood that is bursting with Caribbean culture and cuisine. Little Haiti is home to a large Haitian-American population, and its streets are alive with the sound of Creole music, the smell of freshly cooked griot, and the sight of colorful murals.

Little Haiti was initially settled by Haitian immigrants in the early 1900s. In the 1970s, the neighborhood became a popular destination for Haitian refugees fleeing the political turmoil in their home country. Today, Little Haiti is home to a diverse population of Haitians and people from other Caribbean countries, Latin America, and the United States.

One of the earliest settlers in the area was Haitian activist Viter Juste. In July 1973, Mr. Juste moved his family and belongings from Bushwick, Brooklyn, to the neighborhood in Miami-Dade County. He convinced Haitians living in New York City to move to this area of Miami. Thousands of others later migrated from Haiti, creating a new community that Mr. Juste is credited with naming Little Haiti.

The neighborhood is only minutes from the beaches and has glittering views of downtown. There are many Haitian restaurants, shops, and cultural institutions, including the Little Haiti Cultural Center and Haitian Heritage Museum.

In recent years, Little Haiti has rapidly become an artist district, with artists, art dealers, and art non-profits moving north from Wynwood and the Design District. The neighborhood is worth exploring during Art Basel Miami Beach.

Little Haiti Art Gallery Map

The ‘Find Contemporary Art’ Google Map has yellow pins for the art fairs so you can orient yourself. Little Haiti is north of NADA Miami and Art Miami.

The numbered blue pins are for art galleries and museums. The purple icons are travel tips, including restaurants and transit recommendations.

To install the ‘Find Contemporary Art’ map on your phone or desktop, kindly enter your email address below, and I will automatically send you the instructions.

Media Under Dystopia Wisper edition: a public XR metaverse at MUD Foundation

In a world that is increasingly dominated by technology, it is more important than ever to find ways to use art and technology to create a more inclusive and equitable society. MUD Foundation is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to doing just that.

MUD Foundation creates phygital (physical-digital) exhibitions and educational programs that use art and technology to inspire creativity, foster social networks, and promote a more inclusive society. The Media Under Dystopia WISPer edition is their latest exhibition exploring how the internet and XR can democratize art creation, access, co-creation, and critical media expansion.

The exhibition features artists and projects exploring and building XR (extended realities) ecosystems and integrating them into community actions. Discussing and creating new boundaries around immersive interfaces is critical as our interactions with machines evolve.

The WISPer program, launching with the exhibition, creates a WISP network around the MUD Foundation venue (and beyond). The program allows local, national, and international communities to access the MUD Foundation exhibition program and community partner initiatives. At the same time, the audiences have access to art and art creation tools through our metaverse XR platform: the MUD Verse.

The artists in the exhibition are Gretchen Andrew, Dhiren Dasu, Richard Garet, Laurence de Valmy, Connie Bakshi, Lans King, Leo Castaneda, Amelie Schlaeffer, Jose Hernandez, Martin Carrillo, Rodolfo Peraza, and Ariel Baron-Robbins with LOOP artists-in-residence.

LOOP by Ariel Baron-Robbins

Ariel Baron-Robbins is an artist and educator whose work explores the intersection of art, technology, and community. She is a visiting drawing and painting instructor at Florida Atlantic University, and her work has been exhibited in group shows at Deffebach Gallery in Hudson, NY and The Museum of Fine Arts in Tampa, FL.

Baron-Robbins’ latest project, LOOP Studio Hub, is a shared studio for digital artists. The hub is an outgrowth of LOOP Art Critiques, a series of artist critique groups she organized over the past year. The XR online studios are a part of the MUD verse and function similarly to studios for physical artists.

LOOP artists-in-residence are Angie Amaro, BBraio, Cha, David Sainté, Inbar Hagai, Ibuki Kuramochi, Joelle McTigue, Match Zimmerman, Ryan Seslow, Wenjun Chen, Zhou Peng, and Denis Rovinskiy.

* I am a LOOP Artist-in-Residence and was a member of the inaugural Loop Art Critique. I would highly recommend checking out the show even if I didn’t have the privilege of participating.

Media Under Dystopia Wisper edition: a public XR metaverse at MUD Foundation | Nov 29th, 2023 – Jul 1st, 2024, Opening Wed, Nov 29th, 7-10 PM | 350 NE 75th St, Miami, FL 33138

Miami art week - homework opening
Miami Art Week – homework opening

‘Hormiga Caribe’ at homework

Homework is a nomadic gallery that uses experimental art spaces to host pop-up exhibitions that challenge traditional views on art and the art world. 

On December 1st, they are opening ‘Hormiga Caribe’ three doors south of PRIMARY at 7338 NW Miami Ct. The exhibition will feature works by Nara Winston, Jonathan Carela, Patricia Encarnación, Julián Chams, Andrea Alfaro, Fidel López, Manuela Corji, Andrew Arocho, and Richard Vergez.

‘Hormiga Caribe’ is a survey of contemporary Caribbean art that uses the Tropical Fire Ant as a metaphor for the region’s diverse and ever-changing artistic landscape. The exhibition celebrates the resilience of Caribbean artists who, like the fire ant, adapt and thrive in the face of adversity. Their diverse and dynamic art transcends boundaries and challenges established curatorial norms.

Founded by Aurelio Aguiló and Mayra Mejia, homework aims to open up the art world and create an inclusive, accessible platform for communities to engage with contemporary art.

In addition to their show at 7338 NW Miami Ct, the gallery will also have a booth at NADA Miami, an art fair in the Town Square neighborhood a few blocks south of Little Haiti.

‘Hormiga Caribe’ at homework | Dec 1-10, 2023, Opening Friday, Dec 1st, 7-10 PM | 7338 NW Miami Ct, Miami, FL 33150

Miami art week - you are here at dimensions variable (dv) in little haiti, miami
Miami Art Week – You Are Here at Dimensions Variable (DV) in Little Haiti, Miami

Brunch at Dimensions Variable

Dimensions Variable (DV) is a non-profit art gallery founded and led by artists in Little Haiti. They are dedicated to presenting and supporting contemporary art by making the art world more equitable and accessible.

DV’s mission is to create a space for artists to experiment and take risks. They host exhibitions, performances, workshops, and talks. The non-profit also offers studio space, mentorship, and financial assistance.

They are hosting a brunch on Friday, Dec 8th, from 9 AM to 1 PM. Artist studios and the exhibition ‘You Are Here’ will be open for you to explore.

The phrase “You Are Here” is often seen on directional signs in commercial buildings. The exhibition looks at being present in your current place and what that means in the community sense. It’s curated with Making Miami in the Design District, a project celebrating the artists who helped make Miami an international art city.

Artists in the exhibition include Joyce Billet, Liene Bosquê, Chris Byrd, Lynne Golob Gelfman, Robert Huff, Karla Kantorovich, T. Eliott Mansa, Francisco Masó, Charo Oquet, Fabian Peña, Vickie Pierre, Leyden Rodriguez-Casanova, Onajide Shabaka, Marisa Telleria, Frances Trombly, Antonia Wright, and Ruben Millares.

During the brunch, you can visit the open artist studios of Joyce Billet, Chris Byrd, Karla Kantorovich, Leyden Rodriguez-Casanova, Francisco Masó, Marisa Telleria, and Frances Trombly.

DV will also show work by Leyden Rodriguez-Casanova and Francisco Masó at the Untitled fair in Miami Beach.

Dimensions Variable (DV) | Nov 18, 2023 – Feb 20, 2024, Opening Friday, Dec 8th, 9 AM – 1 PM | 101 NW 79th St, Miami, FL 33150

Miami art week - progressive art brunch
Miami Art Week – Progressive Art Brunch

Progressive Art Brunch 

Open to the public from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Progressive Art Brunch brings together participating galleries several Sundays throughout the year. The event highlights the current programming at each venue and offers visitors a more intimate look at the exhibitions on view. The galleries are located in the Performing Arts, Little Haiti, and Little River Arts Districts.

Participating galleries on December 3rd include Dot Fiftyone Gallery, Emerson Dorsch, Breach, Fredric Snitzer Gallery, Mindy Solomon Gallery, N’Namdi Contemporary, Pan American Art Projects, Piero Atchugarry Gallery, Diana Lowenstein Gallery, Ascaso Gallery, KDR, Andrew Reed Gallery, Voloshyn Gallery, La Cometa, and Zilberman Gallery.

Progressive Art Brunch | Sunday, Dec 3rd, 11 AM – 4 PM | Performing Arts, Little Haiti, and Little River Arts Districts

‘Sociograms’ at Dot Fiftyone Gallery

During the Progressive Art Brunch, Dot Fiftyone Gallery is opening ‘Sociograms, ’  an exhibition featuring the works of artists Hamlet Lavastida and Juan Miguel Pozo. The gallery is across the street from the MUD Foundation.

The Berlin-based artists delve into powerful political discourse, examining and demystifying propaganda tools. The exhibition invites viewers to explore the intricate layers of societal narratives.

Prominent Latin American artist Hamlet Lavastida is an advocate for free expression. He spearheaded the 27-N democracy movement, a collective of independent artists and writers in Cuba that ignited the largest mass protests in Cuban cultural history in 2021. Lavastida and fellow intellectuals fearlessly confront the Cuban government’s suppression of political activism and the curtailment of freedom of expression.

Following a residency in Berlin in September 2021, Lavastida was imprisoned upon his return to Havana. Subjected to intense interrogations, he was deported to the European Union. Since January 2022, he has lived and worked in forced exile in Berlin. In April 2021, he presented the thought-provoking project “Cultura Profiláctica” (Prophylactic Culture) at the Künstlerhaus Bethanien in Berlin.

Juan Miguel Pozo Cruz was born in 1967 in Holguin, Cuba. He studied art at the University of Havana, and in 1994, a German journalist spotted his talent and drew the support of artists such as Konrad Klapheck. These artists facilitated Pozo Cruz’s emigration to Germany, where he has resided since 2003.

His work incorporates elements from urban environments and political propaganda, which he reinterprets and recycles through appropriation. His art primarily explores the concept of forgotten memory and urban reality.

Pozo uses neo-pop trends and collage to address metropolitan expansion and industrial culture. He studies totalitarian graphics as manipulative propaganda and updates them through contemporary iconography. Children frequently appear in his work, symbolizing their often-manipulated role under certain regimes.

His artistic style combines the New Leipzig School, Berlin’s aesthetic, and his Cuban roots. Background and figure coexist on the same plane with equal significance. He paints murals as if wallpapered or draws with a pencil before hanging framed drawings or curtains that partially reveal the underlying artwork.

Pozo is also a part of the group exhibition “Dix und die Gegenwart” at the Deichtorhallen Hall for Contemporary Art in Hamburg. The dedication to Otto Dix (1891–1969) also includes work by Marina Abramović, Nan Goldin, Paul McCarthy, Catherine Opie, and Kara Walker.

‘Sociograms’ at Dot Fiftyone Gallery | Dec 2, 2023 – Jan 30, 2024, Opening Sunday, Dec 3rd, 11 AM – 4 PM  | 7275 NE 4th Ave #101, Miami, FL 33138

Miami’s Little Haiti Neighborhood by Visit Miami

Little Haiti: Tour the Vibrant Cultural Hub

Tap Tap Tours is a fun way to explore the neighborhood if you cannot make the Progressive Art Brunch. The tour takes you beyond the standard tourist spots and immerses you in the neighborhood’s history, culture, and heritage. You’ll sample traditional Haitian food, see local art, and go behind the scenes in this vibrant Miami neighborhood.

The jaunt offers a 90-minute guided tour of Little Haiti on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays at 10 AM, 12 PM, 2 PM, and 4 PM. The tour is conducted by a golf cart decorated to resemble the Haitian tap tap mode of transportation.

You can find the meeting point for Tap Tap Tours on the ‘Find Contemporary Art’ map. It’s at The New Yorker Miami Hotel, a few blocks east of Locust Projects and Pan American Art Projects.

The group tour costs $40 per person. Private tours are available upon request.

Tap Tap Tours | Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays at 10 AM, 12 PM, 2 PM, and 4 PM | The New Yorker Miami Hotel at 6500 Biscayne Blvd, Miami, FL

Where to Eat & Drink  in Little Haiti

The Little Haitian Classic

Naomi’s Garden is a Little Haiti institution. It’s been a neighborhood fixture since the late 1970s when it first opened as a vegetarian health food truck. In the 1980s, Naomi’s found a permanent home, and in 1998, at the request of the local community, it began serving Haitian-Caribbean cuisine.

The restaurant’s garden-seating area is a popular spot for people to relax, enjoy a meal, and take in the sights and sounds of Little Haiti. Naomi’s also hosts regular music and art events, making it a hub for cultural activity in the neighborhood.

The Yemini family, who have owned and operated Naomi’s for over four decades, are committed to providing a warm and welcoming space for people of all backgrounds. Noam and Omaar Yemini, who were born on the property, are passionate about continuing their parents’ legacy and making Naomi’s a place where everyone feels at home.

Naomi’s Garden is more than just a restaurant. It’s a community center, a cultural hub, and a gathering place for people from all walks of life. It’s a place where people can enjoy good food, music, and company. And it’s a place where the spirit of Little Haiti lives on.

Naomi’s Garden Restaurant & Lounge | 650 NW 71st St, Miami, FL 33150

James Beard Emerging Chef: Akino West of Rosie’s

Rosie’s, a pandemic-era pop-up, has quickly become a must-visit Miami brunch spot in the Little River neighborhood. Chef Akino West is getting his due with a 2023 James Beard Award semifinalist nomination, largely thanks to his lemon ricotta pancakes with macerated berries, Gulf white shrimp and grits with smoked sausage, and other Southern-style specialties.

Rosie’s | 162 NW 73rd St, Miami, FL 33150

Michelin Bib Gourmand Approved Pizza

Located next to Rosie’s, La Natura is a casual and lively restaurant with creative wood-fired pizzas and a large selection of natural wines. The co-founders, Javier Ramirez and Andreina Matos, also run the award-winning Alter, Palmar, and Bachour restaurants.

La Natural was inspired by how they serve guests in their backyard, with a well-widdled sourdough recipe and fresh American wines. The restaurant recreates the outdoor and homey feel, making it a welcomed stop in a Little Haiti tour.

La Natural | 7289 NW 2nd Ave, Miami, FL 33150

Miami trolley - photo by ronny rondon
Miami Trolley – Photo by Ronny Rondon

How to Get Around Little Haiti

Except for the brunch at Dimensions Variable, my recommended events are before most of the crowd arrives in Miami for Art Basel. You should be able to easily catch a taxi or use a ride-share app to get to the neighborhood. You can use real-time traffic information on the FDOT Interactive Map to decide.

I’m a bit of a wanderer. So, I like to take the easiest way to get to the general area I’m going to and then lean into how the neighborhood moves. For Little Haiti, this means taking a taxi and using the trolley to gallery hop.

Art basel miami beach - little haiti route for the miami free trolley
Art Basel Miami Beach – Little Haiti Route for the Miami Free Trolley

The City of Miami Trolley has superlocal routes. I marked a trolley stop at Nina Johnson and MUD Foundation on the’ Find Contemporary Art’ map. It conveniently circumvents the neighborhood. So you can quickly get from one gallery to the next. Also, it’s free.

The trolleys run daily from 6:30 AM – 11 PM. Except on Sundays when it runs 8 AM – 8 PM. Below are the links for the live trolley tracker website and apps. If you want more transportation tips while in town for Art Basel Miami Beach, read my article, A Guide and Map to Miami Art Week.

City of Miami Trolley Tracker | Website Map | iPhone | Android

Events to Attend in Little Haiti During Art Basel Miami Beach

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