Thwin Thet Su San: Wynwood 2021


Picture of Thwin Thet Su San at Wynwood, Picture taken by Balazs Kornis , 2019 (CC by 4.0)

Thwin Thet Su San is a Sophomore student studying Finance at Florida International University. She dreams of working as a corporate lawyer after finishing grad school. She came to Miami from Yangon, Myanmar after finishing high school to explore, learn and grow in a new environment. Miami is a wonderful place for her to explore cultures other than the one she had grown up in for the past 17 years. She hopes that she will be able to gain amazing new experiences every week that she spends exploring Miami. Other than that, she loves reading fantasy and other novels in her free time. This will be a great course as she will be able to leave the books and explore the real world.


Map of Wynwood from Google

Wynwood is a neighborhood in the City of Miami. It is bordered by I-95 on the west I-195 in the north, on the east by a the train tracks and in the south by NW 20th Street. Wynwood exhibits amazing contemporary and street art pieces both on walls surrounding businesses or in galleries. Moreover Wynwood is known for its aesthetic businesses, bars and of course the murals that spread across Wynwood. Before it became a place for art and fashion, it was known as Little San Juan due to its growing Puerto Rican population.What was first abandoned warehouses in the neighborhood started to transform into artist studios, restaurants, bars and cafes in the early 2000s. Wynwood became what it is today thanks to to Tony Goldman, who was a developer for the neighborhood. Wynwood primarily has lorries buildings made of old warehouses and factories.


picture of Josiah Chaille from History-miami

With the history of almost 100 years, Wynwood has been known for its diverse cultures and the gentrification. It is only fair that we delve into how Wynwood became what it is today. Josiah Chaille and Hugh Anderson were two of the people who contributed into developing and founding Wynwood after purchasing the area of Wynwood back in 1917. Originally, the area was a farmland and was part of North Miami. Josiah took part in providing naming and numbering system for Wynwood as part of the Miami City Council which came to be known as the Chaille Plan. Chaille, along with Anderson, named the place Wyndwood. After the city of Miami built a park, it dropped its “d” from the name and became known as the Wynwood Park. Afterwards, the Park was dropped from the name and people now refer to it as Wynwood.

When Wynwood was first developing, it was a working class neighborhood as there were restaurants and even a Coca-Cola bottling plant. This gives an opportunity for working class people to work and also live in Wynwood. During the mid-1950s, Wynwood became to be known as “Little San Juan” due to a large population Puerto Ricans that were moving into the area. Due to this, there were a lot of public areas that were developed. The Wynwood Park that was built in 1920s was now renamed to Roberto Clemente Park after the death of the Puerto Rican baseball player. Numerous public establishments were also renamed accordingly to the Puerto Rican residents living as well. Directly correlated to Wynwood’s economy downfall was the leaving of Puerto Rican residents who held much influence to the development of both the Fashion District and Art District.

As it developed, Wynwood can be categorized into three different districts known was Fashion District, Art District and Technology district. The Miami Fashion District began its influence in 1920 with the development of garment industry in Wynwood. This district was located in Northwest 5th Avenue and between Northwest 22nd and Northwest 29th street. Most of the workers for these industry were Cubans who were migrating to Miami, who contributed to growing the garment industry. As the garment district gets more well known and the prices of the land were increasing in 1980s, the manufacturers started to move to a new area to be close to their workers who now lives in area such as Hialeah. Still this does not stop the Miami Fashion District to expand and influence the vibrant culture of Wynwood.

The Miami Art District is part of the district where different murals are displayed on walls, collections and galleries. In the early 1990s, the design district was falling into an abandoned place with no development. But with the help of Tony Goldman in the early 2000s, we can see the development of the area as well as the increase in real estate prices. This part of the district was influenced by the urban developer Tony Goldman who took part in developing South Beach, areas of New York and more. He had a vision to turn abandoned warehouses into artistic spaces. Currently, this district contains high-end brand shops such as Louis Vuitton, Prada and more, to restaurants from award winning chefs, to art galleries.


According to data provided by Miami DDA, population of Wynwood is estimated to be around 7,721 among 109,617 people in the whole Greater Downtown. With data provided by point2homes, they surveyed that the Male population was 47.5 % and the Female population was 52.5%. Wynwood is made up of different people that are from US and from abroad. US born citizen making up 56.55% of the population, Citizen not born in US making up 23.7% and people that are not citizen make up 19.87%. The population includes 70.5% White people, 19.11% are African American and Asian population making up 1.28%.Even then, only 1.32% of people make up the population of people who moved from abroad. The average age of the population living in Wynwood was 36 with white collars making up 72.1% while blue collar workers were 27.9%.

The average income according to point2homes was $40,397 with median household income being $28,484. The income also depends on the age as well with people under 25 earning 31,000, people in-between 25-44 earning 33,000 and people between 45-64 earning 29,000

Interview with Kelvin, an employee
Picture of Thwin Thet Su San and Kelvin Khant at Wynwood Walls, taken by a random tourist, 2019, (CC by 4.0)

Kelvin is 20, a student at U Miami, originally from Burma and is also a friend of Thwin Thet Su San. Kelvin currently lives in University of Miami dorms but he was previously working at BND burgers until it got closed down.

Why did you choose to work in the Wynwood neighborhood?

I was first looking at other places to work at but Wynwood is a really amazing community to work in. I also work until late so it is convenient for me to work there since there are a lot of people frequenting even late at night and most of the shops are still open. It’s easy dinner for me when I finish work. I also found out the people are really nice and chill so it was easy to work at.

What Is your favorite place in Wynwood?

My favorite has to be 1-800-lucky because it has reasonable price and I love the ramen from Usagi Tokyo. I also love that they have taiyaki ice cream. Makes it easy for me cause I don’t need to go anywhere else. But I also love the luxury shops that are around there. I always have to keep myself in check not to spend on luxury branded shirts!

What is your least favorite place in Wynwood?

I would say panther cafe. Nothing against it really. It’s just the line is long so when I am on a coffee run, its hard to get a coffee in time for the shift. Also I hate parking there. Usually before my shift, that’s when the all the people starts coming for their night outs and it usually takes me 10 minutes to find a parking spot that is near BND burgers since it is located right across the Wynwood Walls.


Wynwood walls
Picture of Wynwood Walls by Thwin Thet Su San, 2021 (CC by 4.0)

The Wynwood Walls were founded by Tony Goldman in 2009 in effort to make a thriving neighborhood full of culture and art. Tony was a real estate developer and a visionary who saw the potential in Wynwood. Wynwood Walls now contains art that changes from time to time, painted by national, local and even international street artists. Wynwood wall is a place for emerging and highly acclaimed artists and has more than 40 artists’ works currently on display. These art displays gave way to fame and recognition and even to show the process of the painting as the murals were done from scratch in front of audiences. It’s a mesmerizing process that once we saw the effort and time that goes into it, we can appreciate it more than seeing a painting. Moreover, it also generates economic growth by mentioning arts from different parts of the world.

Marguiles collection
Picture of Margulies collection by Thwin Thet Su San, 2021 (CC by 4.0)

Margulies collection is a studio near Wynwood that contains different types of art pieces. The Margulies collection was set up back in 1999 by Martin Margulies who was an avid collector of different art pieces.The collection has sculptures, paintings, photographs and short movies. The collection from the exterior seems small and subtle compared to all the extravagant colored graffiti that surrounds the neighborhood. Inside, was a 50,000 square foot warehouse full of vibrant and enticing art. The collection held arts from different artists around the world such as Isamu Noguchi, Anselm Kiefer, Peter Coffin and so much more. Every piece of art was mesmerizing and so was the moving digital art that were displayed across the warehouse. Admission is free for Florida students but $10 for other people. Considering the money will be given to charity, it is worth it to spend a small entry fee to see all the mesmerizing art pieces.

Miami Art Walk
Thwin Thet Su San and friends at Miami Art Walk by Thwin Thet Su San / CC 4.0

Miami Art Walk is held on every other Saturdays, starting at 6:00 pm until late at night. The streets are packed with different foods from different cultures and hundreds of art pieces. During this time, the visitors get to see the Miami art scene at night time and get to enjoy all that the small businesses have to offer. It takes place at 2250 NW 2nd Ave at the Wynwood Market place where there are bars, food trucks, live music, entertainment zones and vendors for different small businesses such as jewelry, clothes, and sunglasses to name a few.


Roberto Clemente Park
Apple map image of Roberto Clemente Park

Roberto Clemente Park, also previously named as Wynwood Park is a gorgeous park that spans for 25 acres. This park marks the influence of Puerto Ricans who held a great influence in the development and the economic recession of Wynwood back in 1980s. Roberto Clemente Park was also named after the late Roberto Clemente, who was a Puerto Rican baseball player who passed away in 1972.

Robert E Lee Park
Apple map image of Robert E Lee Park

Robert E Lee park is located beside Jose De Diego Middle School, which is now renamed as Jose de Diego park, honoring a Puerto Rican nationalism hero. The name change was also caused by an outrage of people who did not want a confederate general Robert E Lee to be honored anymore due to racism that Lee has done.


Cycle party is a pedal tour around Wynwood where tourists cycle to visit bars and restaurants that are located within Wynwood. Each bike seats around 16 people and from what I have seen, it is one of the best ways to see Wynwood and also to indulge in alcoholic fun. It showcases everything Wynwood has to offer while also requiring minimum effort.

Other than the Cycle party, Other type of transport around Wynwood includes Miami’s free trolley service and the Metro mover. Metro mover is a free to ride train system that operates at Downtown Miami. All of them provide no parking needed and cheap and easy way to enjoy Wynwood.


Picture of Balazs Kornis and Thwin Thet Su San with Taiyaki ice cream, 2019 (CC by 4.0)

The one main reason I frequently go to Wynwood is for its food. I fell in love with all the amazing restaurants and food trucks that seems to be located in Wynwood. One of the amazing places with different type of food that I like to go is 1-800-lucky. It might not be as amazing and true to asian cuisines but it is close. Their dumplings and the taiyaki ice creams are amazing and made to perfection. Another place that I love to go is to OMAKAI sushi. This is quite a high priced restaurant that specializes in fresh seasonal fish sushi that melts in your mouth. It shows to the extent of how much asian culture, especially Japanese culture have made its way into Miami.

Picture of a local taco store’s taco taken by Thwin Thet Su San,2019 (CC by 4.0)

Other than that, one of my favorite way to get good food is through food trucks that serves tacos. One good place worthy of a mention is Coyo Taco. The tacos inside the Wynwood Market place held amazing beef and pork tacos. It is worth all the little money I have left in my bank card.


Picture from Wynwood brewing company

Wynwood brewing company is a brewery founded by Luis Brignoni and it is also the first craft brewery in Miami. The brews are influenced by the surroundings of Wynwood. It is located in the Art District where there are a lot of warehouses in the place of the garment factories. Wynwood is also a place full of small businesses that seems to sell authentic and cute clothes and accessories as well. Wynwood Tribe store is a clothing store where they sell up cycled clothing for both men and women. I have been there and the prices in there are moderate and they have really cute clothes.

Screenshot taken from Panther coffee’s website

One of the busiest places that people seem to line up for is panther coffee. Panther coffee is based in Miami which sells Coffee beans and even has a store in Wynwood. This place is usually packed with customers wanting to get a cup of freshly brewed coffee at a normal price. For what we have to pay for it, it is definitely worth the money.


Wynwood is a place of different culture that blends well together with each other. What first started as a farmland and where there were not much development is now a central hub for artists to express their feelings and for visitors to have fun and enjoy their time looking at all the art surrounding them. With prices for real estate sky high in this area, it can also be expensive to enjoy the restaurants and businesses in the area. But if you’re visiting the galleries and galleries only, it can be worth the price since all of these galleries are either free or a fee of small amount of 2 tacos($10) in Wynwood.

It is amazing to see how far a neighborhood has come but yet disappointing when people trash all over the place making the art district seem cheap and bad looking. It is also sad to see there are not much green environment around the area as well. Yet, Wynwood is a place where different culture come together like colors mixing to form a more beautiful color. People laughing on the street with strangers with no care for their race or who they are. All these cultures mixing together is the embodiment of what Wynwood is meant to be.


Elfrink, Tim. “Activists Want to Erase Wynwood’s Robert E. Lee Park, but Officials Say It Doesn’t Actually Exist.” Miami New Times, 17 Aug. 2017,

“History of Wynwood Miami.” Miami History Blog, 29 Sept. 2020,

“Household Income, Wynwood Population & Demographics – Point2.” Real Estates for Sale & Rent by Point2,

“Miami Design District.” Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia, Wikimedia Foundation, Inc, 23 Sept. 2006, Accessed 25 Apr. 2021. 

“Tony Goldman.” Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia, Wikimedia Foundation, Inc, 17 Oct. 2012, Accessed 25 Apr. 2021. 

“Wynwood.” Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia, Wikimedia Foundation, Inc, 31 Jan. 2007, Accessed 25 Apr. 2021. 

“Wynwood’s Thriving Arts & Culture Scene.”,

Miami DDA – Economic Development Miami – Tourism Miami | Miami DDA,

Panther Coffee,

Wynwood Brewing Company, 5 Mar. 2021,

Thwin Thet Su San: Miami Service Project 2021

Photo taken of Thwin Thet Su San at Vizcaya Museum and Gardens,March 2021. Photo by Annette Cruz / CC By 4.0

Thwin Thet Su San is a Sophomore student studying Finance at Florida International University. She dreams of working as a corporate lawyer after finishing grad school. She came to Miami from Yangon, Myanmar after finishing high school to explore, learn and grow in a new environment.


The Deering Estate is located 24 feet above sea level on the Miami rock ridge which is also known as the Cutler Ridge. This estate was constructed by Charles Deering in 1913 and it has been preserved since then. The ecosystem blends carefully between the Saltwater from the Atlantic Ocean and the freshwater from the Everglades. The Estate spans over 460 acres with a lot of animals and plants cohabitating. It is home to different variety of animals such as crocodiles, manatees, sharks, as well as to plants such as Mangroves and more. These plants protect the Estate and the habitats from natural disasters such as hurricanes, strong winds, shoreline erosion and so much more. To preserve the environment, the Deering Estate has volunteer programs such as Gardening, Weeding, and Adopt-A-Trail Volunteer program, Visitor Guide and Museum Exhibit Volunteer, and Coastal Clean-Up Volunteer. With the help of Professor Bailly, we were able to take part in the Coastal Clean-Up Volunteer where we canoed to an island called Chicken Key where trash such as plastic and glass was picked up.


Ever since high school, I had been the one to volunteer for different charities outside of school. I would usually lead a volunteer group to pick up trash left by tourists and visitors left behind in historical sites. I know the harm that plastic and other non-biodegradable waste can cause to the environment.
Moreover, I have been taking part in reducing waste myself at home and am encouraging my close friends and family to do the same thing as well. When coming to FIU, I have also been a part of FIU’s Model United Nation Team and had directed its UNEP program during FIMUN 33 where I guided kids to find solutions for current and future environmental problems. When I was allowed to take part in the Chicken Key Coastal Clean Up, I could not say no to it. I was able to fix issues not just on paper, but with my actions and hard work in the sun. I was able to take part in forming the results that impact our and our future generation’s futures. The work was tiring but the after results gave me a new perspective on the environment that I was begging to see in the solution papers I have written.


The Chicken Key clean-up service opportunity was provided by Professor John W. Bailly as part of the Miami in Miami Honors class. Professor Bailly organized the clean-up from arranging the time and date to trash bags and canoes to get to Chicken Key island.


I woke up at 7 am on April 17th, 2021 to pack snacks and head to the Deering Estate arriving there at 9:50 am. After arriving, we were assigned to a canoe, provided with life jackets and a canoe partner. We were each assigned with a person who had experience and a person who doesn’t. As it was my first time canoeing or rowing anything, I was paired with my friend Balazs who had a lot of experiences. After settling on a canoe, we were ready to head to the Chicken Key Island. I was quite surprised to find out how clear the water was. From afar, I was quite scared to go into an unknown water body. But what I found in the water was not what I expected. Even before canoeing, I found manatees and tiny sharks which were swimming around in the habitat. When we started rowing, I had no idea the paddle weigh as much as both of my arms. It was a tiring experience but me and my friend were able to communicate to move the canoe in the direction that will lead us to Chicken Key.

Picture of Thwin Thet Su San at Deering Estate on April 2021. Picture taken by Anette Cruz / CC by 4.0

Rowing under a scorching sun for what it felt like an hour when in fact it was less than 30 minutes, accompanied by strong wind tides was worth it as we arrive near the Chicken Key Island where mangroves surround the island with clear water at the roots of it. The air was cool thanks to the shades provided by the plants growing on the island. Arriving on the shore, we tied our ships to a metal rod since mangroves need to be protected and it would be harmful. Exiting the canoe, we set our things down in the campsite provided which was newly built. We rest for around 20 minutes by playing in the sea. Lead by Professor Bailly, we ran into the water as far as we can before falling into the clear cool water. The water provided much relaxation after a sunny and tiring canoeing. After drying ourselves, we started the mission that we came here to do.
I grabbed trash bags and started picking up litter. I had thought that there would not be much trash as a group had come last week but there was still a lot of trash. Fishing nets wrapped trees in a position where it seems like it was strangling and trapping anything that comes into them. The nets were not easy to cut as it was sharp, strong and hard to cut. With much difficulty, I managed to get a large net out. There was also a big piece of plastic shaped like a rectangle with holes in-between. The piece has been there so long, it became a part of the plant. The roots were growing out of those tiny holes in the plastic, making it impossible to remove them. Another hazardous material that I found was foam used in cushions and pillows. Just like the plastic before, it integrated with the roots, making it a part of the ecosystem. The whole island was littered with sharp glass bottles and gasoline containers as well. I picked them up but it was hard to do since they were all deposited along the edge of the island. After finishing around on the island, I decided to collect more trash in the water as there was still trash trapped among the mangroves. The biggest one was a big wooden plank and a big wooden ladder that was found on the way. The plank was easy to remove as it was floating but the ladder was trapped under the sand making it difficult to remove. After a quick lunch, resting, and playing in the water, we headed back on the canoe with huge trash bags and back to the Deering Estate where I row until my arms fell off.

Picture of Miami in Miami Honors class at Deering Estate. Picture taken by a Deering Estate Employee / CC by 4.0


Screenshot taken by Thwin Thet Su San of Honors Service Hours / CC by 4.0


The Clean up was one of the most rewarding experiences that I had done. To provide back to nature by taking part in cleaning was amazing. It is due to these types of environmental programs that we can see plants regrow and thrive in a healthy environment. The tiredness was rewarded by seeing young buds growing in person. Even under the scorching sun and tiring row, I would gladly do it again to ensure a better future for the earth and all the organis

Picture by Thwin Thet Su San at Chicken Key, 2021 / CC by 4.0


“Volunteering Opportunities.” Deering Estate, 28 Jan. 2021,

Thwin Thet Su San: Miami as Text 2021

Photo by Balazs Kornis, 2020

Thwin Thet Su San is a Sophomore student studying Finance at Florida International University. She dreams of working as a corporate lawyer after finishing grad school. She came to Miami from Yangon, Myanmar after finishing high school to explore, learn and grow in a new environment. Miami is a wonderful place for her to explore cultures other than the one she had grown up in for the past 17 years. She hopes that she will be able to gain amazing new experiences every week that she spends exploring Miami. Other than that, she loves reading fantasy and other novels in her free time. She recommends The Stranger by Albert Camus! This will be a great course as she will be able to leave the books and explore the real world.

Downtown Miami as Text

“Clash of Cultures” by Thwin Thet Su San of Downtown Miami,January 22,2021

Photo by Thwin Thet Su San, Downtown Miami, 2021

Cramped between tall high rise buildings are different structures of architecture. This indeed is a clash of different cultures. On the corner, a small la ventanita occupies the space, providing quick meals for anyone who wants amazing food. Facing it was a humongous tall structure of a courthouse designed to look like a Babylonian ziggurat. Cars and metro still bustling down the road that divided the two buildings, yet it somehow provides this sense of balance. As we walk further down the street, the courthouse holds a statue of a man named Flagler who had improved the settlements along Miami. But this settlement didn’t come at a cheap price. This settlement had caused a loss in homes and lives of the indigenous, the Spanish and the African Americans. A racial war was upon them after segregation upon people was brought on by Flagler. What made Miami full of culture ranges from the slaves quarters and other buildings built by African Americans people to Wagner, a German man who fell in love with a Haitian Creole woman to indigenous people who had been driven down to Florida and had been settling down there ever since. The different cultures made Miami what it is today. To some people, America was the land of the free, a place of sanctuary and security compared to their home country. Its deep enrichment of Cuban American culture can be found in Downtown Miami where a statue of Operation Pedro Pan stands still, facing the Freedom Tower where they have first gotten their citizenship and moved towards freedom.

Everglades as Text

“Life of a little fish” by Thwin Thet Su San of Florida International University at Everglades National Park, February 5,2021

Nature photo by Thwin Thet Su San, Thwin’s Photo taken by Balazs Kornis, Everglades, 2021 (CC by 4.0)

Mom had always told us that our nature is important to who we grow as a living being. Now, I was just a small fish in a large pond. Mom always reminds me and my siblings that our ancestors have lived in this swamp for a long time and that we should be grateful to be born with diverse plants and algae that we can feed on. I have only been swimming around in a tiny proximity from where I was born. I haven’t seen much but one thing I remembered when I opened my eyes was seeing a clear world where plants seem to stretch for miles and miles. Luscious greens and yellow seem to decorate my home, along with the light that seems to have traveled far through Cypress trees to get into the water. Sparkling streaks of lights serve as a way to explore this swamp even more. As I drift along further, the water gets muddier. The water was full of moving trunks that seem to make the peaceful serenity of my home chaotic. I, unlike my hundreds of brothers and sisters, felt the need to explore these moving trunks. I follow them along, hearing them talk and I learned something my mom has never taught me before. I knew we were not the only beings that exist, but I was hearing all about alligators, Burmese pythons, and bird species such as Anhinga which can potentially eat me. After stopping for a while, they started going to a restricted place my mom would never let me go. It was an alligator hole, where the water was muddy and deep filled with potential dangers. Luckily, there weren’t any animals that were dangerous to me. They mentioned something about the water level being higher than the normal dry season, and the alligators being scared of these moving trunks. After following these moving trunks struggle for so long in the muddy water, I decided it was time for me to go back to my family. They are probably wondering if I got eaten by a frog or one of the other animals, but mom I am coming back right now after a long day of exploring. Today I have learned something no other fish has, and that is, I am grateful to be born in a place where a lot of different moving trunks come to research on the peacefulness and the durability of this amazing home that I live in.

In my mind that is how one of the little fishes we have seen have felt experienced our adventure to the Everglades most likely the fishes were as amazed by us and our moving trunks as how much we were amazed by their home The Everglades National Park, and its diverse ecosystems. One of the things the little fish was not able to see is our walk on the Anhinga trail, where we were able to get up-close with the Alligators, see a pond full of Lilies and diving birds looking for fish and as the name of the trail suggest the Anhinga birds.

Overall, I was amazed by this adventure into the home of the little fish and all the interesting plants and animals I saw. I am very grateful of this opportunity of visiting the Everglades and taking part in a Slough Slog as part of one of my classes giving me a break from the world of Zoom.

South Beach as Text

“Architecture: Shaping a culture” by Thwin Thet Su San of Florida International University at South Beach, February 19,2021

South Beach photo by Thwin Thet Su San,South Beach, 2021 (CC by 4.0)

There are three major types of building architecture styles in the surroundings of South Beach: MIMO(Miami Modernist), Mediterranean Revival, and Art Deco. My favorite building would be the Versace mansion, which was beautifully decorated and built in 1930, in the style of Mediterranean revival. It was also the residences of Gianni Versace. South beach has a vibrant mix of buildings from the three styles along with a couple outliers.

Miami Modernist is a type of architecture that was developed after World War II. These Buildings are usually high rise buildings that are surrounded and decorated with glass panels all around. Some of them are even seen to be curved to give that spaceship or a cruise-ship type of atmosphere completed with porthole style windows. Whereas Art Deco tries to build buildings that seems to be out of this timeline, as if it was from the future. These buildings often have rounded edges and brightly colored walls complete with neon lighting, that catches our eyes. More over, these buildings are designed with parallel lines that run across the buildings and even on the terrazzo flooring to give the illusion of a bigger space than it actually is. These buildings not only incorporate the future but also sometimes past architecture such as the ziggurat styled roof.

One prominent thing you can see looking at the buildings is that they are not as tall as MIMO architecture style buildings. They are only 3 story tall. The reason for this was because of a building code requirement of elevators for buildings that are over three stories tall, they decided to build no taller than that due to the high cost of elevators at the time. The Colony Hotel can be seen as one of the best examples of an Art Deco building. It is painted brightly blue, with vertical lines running along the building with its curved edges to show its futuristic design. On top of the building, it has incorporated wave like lines to turn an object to a 2D model, a commonplace in Art Deco. More of this can be seen at Clevelander where the flamingos are purposely built in a way it has no curves but strong edges. The flamingos are shaped to seem more stiff than other art style which favor the sense of being lively. This was because Art Deco tried to make nature look industrial instead the other way around. Moreover, even water fountains are seems to be lifeless and 2 dimensional as it was painted flatly at the Finnegan’s Way bar.

But my favorite style has to be the Mediterranean Revival like the Versace Mansion on Ocean Drive. As Versace travels to Miami and saw all these Art Deco buildings and Miami Modernists and Mediterranean Revival, he fell in love with the architecture and the style of living in Miami. Mostly Mediterranean Revival was what drew Versace in to South Beach. Versace loved the vision of old roman columns, arched windows, vintage walls and spindle gates He felt that he could express himself in South Beach and with his arrival started the expansion of South Beach. Famous and rich people started buying real estate and living in South Beach, and open shops like Versace. This caused the culture and the population grew along with the areas popularity. His arrival also helped the LGBTQ community who frequented Miami Beach and met at places like the Palace Bar which features constant Drag Shows.

Overall the colorfulness of Miami Beach and its distinct architecture, drawing in tourists from all around the world, is something most people in Miami take for granted and not realize the importance of. The class made me realize that I should treasure being only a short drive away from something others travel long hours to see.

Deering as Text

“Where the sea meets the sky” by Thwin Thet Su San of Florida International University at Deering Estate, March 5,2021

Deering Estate Photo by Thwin Thet Su San, Deering, 2021 (CC by 4.0)

The Deering Estate sits on top of Cutler Ridge, also called the Miami rock ridge, 24 feet above sea level. This part of the Biscayne bay is where the freshwater originating from the Everglades meets the Saltwater of the Atlantic Ocean. Spreading across 460 acres, a lot of ecosystem comes together as well. Along with animals such as raccoons, snakes, otters, crocodiles, birds, manatees and other animals, it houses a huge variety of plants as well. Some of the plants that can be seen in the park includes Gumbo Limbo trees, Strangler Figs, Mangroves and Spanish moss. Gumbo Limbos are known to have a red trunk with peeling barks. More than that, Gumbo limbo is also an amazing tree that can withstand hurricanes and strong winds. Mangroves are also a very important part of the ecosystem as well. Mangroves can also withstand hurricanes and keeps the shoreline from being eroded. These all help keep Miami together.

As we hike along the park, there were a lot of things we saw, ranging from solution holes, sink holes and caves to the remains of the Tequestas. These solution holes and sink holes are formed from the erosion of the limestone by the freshwater movements. The rainwater falls and the limestone gets corroded as the leaves that fell unto these grounds gives off some acidic property. They then get eaten away by water, forming Solution holes and other features. This became a hunting ground for large animals to prey on smaller and vulnerable animals. Remains of these animals can sometimes be found inside these holes. More than animals, we can also see the remains of the Tequesta as well. There were pottery and tools that were left on the site of the park. Tools made from shells such as a drill by using a conch shell, or a scraping tool, or killing tools that fits the palm of our hands were found. It was like coming into touch and knowing how the Tequestas have been living in this land all along. The pottery was also proof that Tequestas had a relationship with tribes up north. After a long while of hiking, we came to stop at a place where a large oak tree resides on top of a small rise of land. It was a tree growing on top of a burial site of the Tequestas which was there before 1763. We saw the civilizations of different cultures before Miami was even developed.

After civilizations starts spreading in the 1800s and the 1900s, Deering Estate was also included in the spread. In 1896, Samuel Richmond built the Richmond hotel, which is located between Coconut Grove and Key West as traveling between places used to take a lot of time. Another significant building that stands beside was the Mediterranean revival style home built by Charles Deering in 1922 to showcase his art collections which he collected from Europe after he met artists in Paris. The house was mostly for showcasing art and sleeping in, he had the Richmond hotel converted into a support house with a kitchen. Besides paintings his house also features a mosaic but unlike roman mosaics it uses seashells and other things from the ocean instead of colorful pieces of clay or glass. Since he lived there during the prohibition his wine cellar was hidden behind a shelf guarded by a vault door to ensure it was hidden from the authorities. 

At the end of the day the Deering Estate is a great place to hike in nature and learn about the ecological history of Miami. It also gives us an insight into how the Tequesta used to lived and what their surroundings looked like. The houses are also interesting and shows us what life was like for the top 1% back then.

Vizcaya as Text

“Miami as we know it”by Thwin Thet Su San of Florida International University at Vizcaya villa, March 19,2021

Vizcaya Photo collage by Thwin Thet Su San,Vizcaya,2021 (CC by 4.0)

The Vizcaya villa stands breathtakingly beautiful in an area now known as Coconut Grove. The villa represents the nowadays Miami as it was built by incorporating European culture elements in Miami. We can see it across South beach and in Coral Gables the examples of the influential in architecture. The owner, James Deering, like his brother Charles Deering was influenced by the European culture. Due to this, the Vizcaya villa had elements of Mediterranean revival architecture and Neoclassical French architecture.

The villa started out in 1916 when James bought the land from Mary Brickell and built it with resources that are found in Miami such as the limestone which are used to make pillars, statues and some elements in the garden such as caves and shells which are used to decorate the ceilings. This style of using resources from Miami can also be found in his brother, Charles Deering’s estate where he used shells found nearby to decorate his ceiling. The Vizcaya villa is built by the Bahamians and even though the work was very hard and there were segregations and exploitation of labor, they still earned money for their labor.

As we get to the villa, it is very prevalent of the cultures that influenced him. He had built an arch of triumph in the pathway to his large garden. The arch of triumph, also included his own personal touch as there were seahorses that were proudly displayed and it was made out of oolite limestone. When entering the villa, we were greeted by a statue of Dionysus, the god of wine, pouring wine into a lavish bathtub which represents the indulgence and the lavish lifestyle that the people in Miami have always enjoyed.Inside the villa, there were also a lot of displays of seahorse and ships that decorates the place beautifully. Surrounded by marvelous fountains and pillars, we can really see the European elements that has perfectly collided with the amazing view of the Biscayne Bay that stretches out.

One prevalent decoration I could see throughout the villa was vines decorated with gold on the walls, furnitures and appliances. There was also a room where it was very satisfying for my perfectionist mind. Everything was perfectly at balance just like the Neoclassical French architecture. The walls and the floor tiles matched depending on where we look up. There was also the music room where the walls were plastered with gold and vine like decorations and images of children. One of the images that caught my mind was the ruins of a structure. It emphasizes on the point of everything in life is temporary which was a popular way of thinking the French artists follows. Other than the room, the garden also has major French architecture influence in the grottos.

Moreover, there were influences of Italian, Spanish and Islamic. Tapestry hangs along the wall decorated beautifully in blue has Spanish designs but the writings that borders the tapestry was Islamic writings.Islamic influences includes on the door which was decorated with stars. There was also a room where it seemed like it was influenced by Italians. A fountain was also brought from a town in Italy and placed in his garden. A noticeable influence would be the Roman and Greek influence. There were statues and paintings of famous heroes that were decorated throughout the villa. The floors and walls were also decorated with fake marbles. As marbles were expensive and valuable, even in Rome, James wanted an inexpensive way of marbled floor and wall. Thus creating a fake marbled floor and wall that has been painted. This creates a trend where the price of the fake painted marble floors rise more than that of the real marbled tiles. We can see the influence that the roman architecture has on the villa very easily with all the statues and the decor that surrounds the place.

The villa is the embodiment of Miami. As in all the inspiration that James Deering had also inspired the city of Miami as we know of today. We can see all the cultures clash together in Miami and in his villa which shows the importance of the culture and the people that are all coexisting in Miami.

Margulies as Text

“Appreciating Art” by Thwin Thet Su San of Florida International University at The Margulies Collection, April 16, 2021

Margulies Collection picture collage by Thwin Thet Su San, Margulies, 2021 (CC by 4.0)

There is a collection studio near Wynwood, with no prominent exterior, which looks subtle and small compared to bright, beautiful and creative walls of Wynwood. This was the Margulies Collection. Inside were walls filled with modern art from hundreds of artists around the world. The studio is incorporated with different types of art ranging from short movies to sculptures and photographs.This collection was set up by none other than Mr. Margulies whose hobby to collect black and white photographs turned into a passion. Our honors group were lucky enough to be given a personal tour by Mr. Margulies, the man who collected all this art. We were able to know why and how he had collected these art pieces.

Going around local art collection studios, I would usually think nothing of how and why they were there but I learnt about the struggles of trying to bring art pieces into the studio. Just like the three concrete structure known as Geheimnis der Farne which took a lot of effort to bring it in from overseas. As well as a custom made glass which was used in The Valkyries, which was hard to get it into the studio. This is also how I found out about an artist named Anselm Kiefer who have a lot of art pieces in the Margulies Collection such as Sprache der Vögel which was an art piece with massive wings and books, Erdzeitalter which was a piece where canvases were balanced on top of each other and as mentioned earlier Geheimnis der Farne which includes three concrete structures. My favorite has to be the Erdzeitalter where 400 unfinished pieces and dried out sunflowers were balanced on top of each other.

One of the other pieces that caught my eye was the digital wall piece that was faced towards a wall. All we could see was the wires and the back of the display TVs while the screens stood facing the wall. This was done deliberately by request of the artist. Mr Margulies had put these digital arts in his collection to ensure younger generation’s interest and it worked. I was mesmerized by these short films and animal wildlife films. I could not stop staring as there were a lot of screens that were displaying different animals. Moreover, there were also a lot of abstract arts as well. As told by Mr. Margulies, these art are not planned but done in the way that the artist are feeling. They have no end in mind. Mr. Margulies even said if the artist know it’s arts ending, it is not a successful abstract art piece.

The Margulies Collection and Mr. Margulies really changed the view on how I view art. Not only knowing about the art but knowing the different difficulties on how these arts were transported for us to only view it for a few minutes shows how unappreciative we are about art. The Margulies Collection is free to Florida students and others have to only pay a small fee to get in. Even then, all the money goes directly to a charity so it is worth paying a small sum of fee to view such amazing pieces that sweat and creativity goes into.

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