PRIZM Art Fair's 2022 "Global Borderless Caribbean XIV" Exhibit at the Little Haiti Cultural Center (Satellite Space) | Photos: @prizmartfair on IG

Even with its bustling streets and downtown business-centric enclaves, Miami has become known as a haven for the art community. The 305 is home to some of the best world-class art galleries, museums, public spaces featuring vibrant murals, cultural institutions and events — including the famous Art Basel — and those with a keen eye will find that within the heart of Miami’s arts scene lies a rich appreciation for the history, culture and expression of the Caribbean. With a strong Afro-Caribbean presence in the downtown district and surrounding boroughs, these institutions have dedicated themselves to uplifting these communities, showcasing lesser known artists or culture-driven work that tends to be left out of the larger art world. 

American Black Film Festival

Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM)

Likely the most well-known art museum in the city, the Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) consistently features artwork from the Caribbean in its massive three-story gallery space. In fact, PAMM possesses one of the most noteworthy collections of contemporary art from the Caribbean within an American museum — particularly because of its large assortment of Cuban art. These pieces span nearly a century in diverse mediums like painting, sculpture, prints, drawing and other mixed media.

But the commitment to Caribbean artists is pushed even further through PAMM’s “Caribbean Cultural Institute” (CCI), a research and curatorial program that specifically promotes art from the diaspora through setting up exhibitions, programming and scholarships at PAMM, within other organizations in Miami and abroad. 

Cubaocho Museum & Performing Arts Center

For lovers of Cuban mosaics and historical manuscripts, Cubaocho Museum & Performing Arts Center houses a Cuban art collection that features rare, pre-revolution pieces dating back to the 1800s all the way up to the late 1950s. Appropriately located in Little Havana, Cubaocho was founded by Roberto Ramos to “rescue Cuban culture.”

And rescue it has — the site has become popular with the Cuban community and tourists for traditional cigar smoking, nightlife, live music and a wide variety of events held at the on-site rum bar whose shelves are heavy with over 480 bottles of rum. The impressive collection of fine, authentic art on the walls, back library and even mounted on the ceiling is what continues to draw the diaspora. 

The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), North Miami

A little further north is The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) that tends to draw an annual crowd for Caribbean Heritage Month. In the past, MOCA has brought in extensive collections of Afro-Caribbean art from the Bahamas to Haiti and beyond, even coordinating artisan workshops and live Jazz performances from Afro-Caribbean artists. Outside of this, the museum features rotating exhibits of paintings, sculptures and interactive art forms from across the diaspora, particularly from local Haitian and Cuban artists that call Miami home.

Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), Miami

Located in the flourishing Miami Design District, the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), Miami is a great spot to catch exhibits, seminars and lectures on the artistic practices of the diaspora. Past installations have featured Cuban-born Puerto Rican artist Dalton Gata, who’s 2021 “The Way We’ll Be” exhibit explored the artists own immigration, queer and pop culture and the conditions of Cuba through psychological and mythical symbolism.

More recently, ICA featured a spring 2023 semester on the art of Haiti, bringing in scholars, curators and leading artists to examine contemporary art emerging from the island, and how its artists are using aesthetics, history and politics as inspiration for their pieces. Free admission guarantees public access for learning about and experiencing international art.

Little Haiti Cultural Complex (LHCC)

A year-round supporter of Caribbean art is the Little Haiti Cultural Complex who’s full calendar of events includes rotating art exhibits, spoken-word performances, live music, fashion show pop ups and more. Located in Downtown Little Haiti, LHCC has possessed a commitment to empowering Afro-Caribbean artists and creators of various disciplines since breaking ground in 2006, leveraging arts as tools for building up the community.

Onsite is also the Caribbean Marketplace, where visitors can find Haitian art for sale amid a free, open community space for work and fellowship.

El Espacio 23

Not far from the sprawling Wynwood Walls is El Espacio 23, a reimagined warehouse space in neighboring Allapattah that has been transformed into a seasonal art gallery. Brought to life in 2019 by art collector and philanthropist Jorge M. Pérez, the gallery opens up each year during Miami Art Week with a new theme, hosting and featuring art from around the world, special events and performances, with a particular interest of showcasing work from marginalized groups.

In 2022, the 28,000-square-foot gallery hosted the “You Know Who You Are” curated exhibition, which included over 80 artists from the Cuban-diaspora to share collective experiences of their culture, journey, beliefs and perspectives through painting, sculpture, mixed media, photography and more.

Art Basel Miami Beach

Though Art Basel is only in town once a year, it is one of the most famous and anticipated art events, drawing artists from around the world to showcase their pieces to other artists, curators, collectors, celebrities and the general public. From street art to gallery pop-ups and curated exhibits, Caribbean art is nearly always on display somewhere in the district.

In years past, the event has featured works from Cuban-born visual artist Félix González-Torres, Haitian abstract painter Tomm El-Saieh, and Hew Locke, of Guyanese heritage, who for many years had a suspended installation of scaled-down replica ships hanging from PAMM’s ceiling. 

PRIZM Art Fair

Many artists of African and Caribbean origin who felt Art Basel Miami Beach had a tendency to leave out minority creators eventually branched out and conceived their own event at nearby fairs like Art Africa and PRIZM, cleverly becoming known as ‘Black Basel.’ Now mostly combined into the PRIZM Art Fair which runs alongside the main Art Basel activities in the downtown Design District, these events seek to specifically showcase diasporic narratives and perspectives at various facilities and art organizations around the city.

Barbadian multidisciplinary artist Sheena Rose has previously displayed her work in PRIZM, alongside Haitian-Bahamian artist Jeffrey Meris who’s installation of kinetic sculptures replicating his own body was on display at New Art Dealers Alliance (NADA) Miami in 2021.


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