If you want to explore the cultural scene in Miami, but don’t want to confine yourself to visiting a museum or a gallery, there are many eye-catching sculptures and art installations throughout Greater Miami as part of the county's Art in Public Places Program.
They’re everywhere–especially around Downtown Miami and Little Havana—making them easy to spot.
Since the program’s inception in 1973, the county has commissioned more than 700 works of art. We won’t detail them all here, but we'll take you through our top picks in Downtown Miami and one piece in Little Havana.
"Dropped Bowl with Scattered Slices and Peels": What’s more fitting in Miami than a sculpture featuring oranges? With 17 pieces, the "Dropped Bowl with Scattered Slices and Peels" sculpture represents a shattered bowl whose contents of orange slices and peels have scattered about the ground. Made of cast concrete, steel plate and reinforced cast resin, all painted in the appropriate bright colors, the work of art was created by well-known artist Claes Oldenberg and Coosje Van Bruggen. Oldenberg has designed sculptures throughout Europe and the United States including the Batcolumn structure at Chicago's Harold Washington Social Security Center. Stephen P. Clark Government Center, 111 NW 1st St., Miami.
Anna Valentina's "Water Scores" and Jose Bedia's Untitled Art: When the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts opened, several artists were commissioned to create an art-filled interior. Walk around the outside of this crown jewel of Downtown Miami and see Anna Valentina Murch’s Water Scores installation of travertine marble fountains and benches. Find this installation at the Ziff Ballet Opera House East Plaza. Inside the lobby, four more striking untitled pieces by Cuban-born Miami artist Jose Bedia grace both buildings within the Arsht Center. On the floor catch his work of the applauding hands while the railings are adorned with gold and silver etchings to match the terrazzo floors. 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami.
Isamu Noguchi's "Slide Mantra": One of Downtown Miami’s most recognizable public art pieces is the sculpture by artist Isamu Noguchi at Bayfront Park. Not the typical, run-of-the-mill park slide you'd imagine, this working slide is different than anything you’ll find at a park. The 29-ton sculpture carved from Carrara marble called “Slide Mantra” is unlike art hanging in a gallery or a museum, you can touch this sculpture. Get up close and personal to see this more than 10-foot-tall piece that includes steps up the back and a spiral descent. 301 N. Biscayne Blvd., Miami.
Ronald Bladen's "The X": Miami-Dade College's Wolfson Campus in Downtown is filled with outdoor sculptures of all kinds. Mill around with the students and take in eight in total. It's easy to see them all as the campus is approximately eight to 10 city blocks. Here you’ll see “The X” by Ronald Bladen, a nearly 23-foot-tall aluminum structure that resembles the letter from the alphabet and “Dos Grandes” by Bill Barrett an aluminum curvilinear sculpture with intersecting elements and an abstract look. 300 NE 2nd Ave., Miami.
Ed Ruscha's Word Murals: At the Miami-Dade Cultural Plaza there are several works of art within the Main Library and at HistoryMiami. The plaza is considered architect Phillip Johnson's first postmodern building. The library is home to plenty of books but also to walls and ceilings adorned with artworks by Ed Ruscha. Given that the library is filled with words, Ruscha’s 56 paintings simply feature … words. They’re intelligently grouped to provide a different message. There’s “Here, There, Everywhere,” “Quizas Maybe” and “Words.” Each of the painted panels are 6’ X 12’ and oftentimes grouped in families of words while others are one singular punctuation mark.
Ann McCoy's "La Florida": Across the plaza from the library is HistoryMiami where the lobby stairwell showcases a painting by artist Ann McCoy. Her “La Florida” colored pencil on paper laid on canvas measures 120 X 336 ionches and is inspired by the paintings of John James Audubon. The scene includes more than 30 native birds along with a Native American symbol of spirit and culture in the center and depictions of shell pendants, masks and vessels from the museum's collection. Admission $10 for adults; $8 for seniors and students with ID; children 6-12 $5; children under 6 free. 101 W. Flagler St., Miami.
Daniel Arsham's "Miami Orange Bowl": Visiting the Marlins Park—even during baseball's off-season—can be a fun, cultural experience. Several of the outdoor art installations that surround the stadium’s exterior have an interesting history. The bright orange individual letters, some protruding from the ground others placed vertically and horizontally, spell out "Miami Orange Bowl" at the football stadium that stood on the site prior to the ballpark. Artist Daniel Arsham designed the scattered letters which represent the moment between destruction and rebuilding. 501 Marlins Way, Miami.