The 45th installment of Art Deco Weekend takes place January 14-16. After a year’s hiatus of in-person events, the cultural festival, organized by Miami Design Preservation League (MDPL), is returning to Lummus Park in Miami Beach.
“Miami is such a dynamic place where we have people visiting and moving here all the time,” MDPL executive director Daniel Ciraldo tells New Times. “If you’re thinking of a postcard of Miami or Miami Beach, you think of the neon lights and beauty along Ocean Drive. This weekend is all about education and preservation of these icons.”
In pre-pandemic times, the three-day festival attracted more than 150,000 visitors annually. Among its biggest draws are the guided architectural tours of Miami’s Art Deco landmarks, a classic car show, film screenings at O Cinema, and a massive outdoor artisan market, all of which are a go this year. A full schedule of events — including any last-minute changes — is available at artdecoweekend.com.
The festival is one of MDPL’s biggest annual fundraisers, with proceeds from its guided tours and other facets benefiting its preservation efforts.
As for why the MDPL went with a radio theme this year, Ciraldo says, “Hearing all this talk about Miami becoming a tech hub got us thinking about Miami’s first wave of development and the technology associated with it. Radio technology’s impact on marketing and promoting the city was critical.
“In the 1920s, radios had longer reach with their broadcasts,” he continues. “Hotels in Miami would broadcast the incredible musical performances at hotels to lure people to the city. Also, you can say the radio influenced the design of art deco buildings. If you squint at buildings along Ocean Drive, they kind of look like radios.”
And what radio-inspired event would be complete without some tunes?
Throughout Art Deco Weekend, several 1920s and ’30s-inspired musical acts will perform, including the French Horn Collective (January 15) and the Miami Swing Allstars (January 16). Also making this year’s fest unique is its lecture series and the radiocentric topics. For the stay-at-home crowd, Sydney University’s Peter Sheridan will offer a presentation about the most beautiful radios ever made, on Friday, January 14. For those attending the in-person events, a highlight will be author Danielle Shapiro’s January 15 chat at the Wolfsonian-FIU about celebrated industrial designer John Vassos.
For Ciraldo, it feels stellar to have Art Deco Weekend making (radio) waves on Ocean Drive once again.
“One of the many joys has been people letting us know how many decades they’ve been coming to our event and having some tell us they first came as children and now are bringing kids of their own,” he says. “We have amazing roots in art deco here in Miami, and it will be great to celebrate them together once again.”
Art Deco Weekend. Friday, January 14, through Sunday, January 16, at Lummus Park, 1130 Ocean Dr., Miami Beach; 305-672-2014; artdecoweekend.com. Admission is free; walking tour tickets cost $30.