New Mural Celebrates Washington Avenue History

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The official ribbon cutting of mural at 1543 Washington Avenue

Last Friday, March 19th, 2021 was the long-awaited unveiling of a new mural by artist Ignacio Marino Larrique. Located at 1543 Washington Avenue, the mural is sponsored by The Washington Avenue Business Improvement District (BID) . Its mission is to preserve, stabilize, and improve Washington Avenue retail and business districts located inside historic Miami Beach, providing high-quality, customer-oriented services designed to define, enhance, and continually improve Washington Avenue for those who work, live, visit, and do business here.

The BID’s first artwork installation features history makers who worked, owned, or played on Washington Avenue. The BID believes legends should be honored for their contribution and dedication. All the following iconic personalities that are displayed on this vibrant mural had ties to South Beach as well as Washington Avenue.

Washington Avenue mural from left to right; Prince, Jackie Gleason, Muhammed Ali, Gianni Versace and Jayne Mansfield.

In 1994, pop superstar Prince opened up his own dance club called “Glam Slam” at 1235 Washington Avenue with a birthday bash for himself. The club was “one of the top hip-hop spots in town, attracting a diverse mix of partygoers as well as the music industry’s who’s who,” Ebony reported in 1995. In 1997, Prince headed back to Glam Slam after his Jam of the Year Tour performance at the Miami Arena for a post-performance blow out. Years later, in March 2006, Prince performed once again at 1235 Washington which was then called the Mansion Nightclub.

Jackie Gleason, ″The Great One″ known for being an American actor, comedian, writer and composer brought his comedy-variety show in 1964 from New York to Miami Beach. It was broadcast from the Miami Beach Municipal Auditorium at 1700 Washington Avenue, which was renamed the “The Jackie Gleason Theatre.”

Nicknamed “The Greatest,” Cassius Clay aka Muhammad Ali trained in Miami Beach for the 1964 Heavyweight Championship and became a daily feature at the 5th Street Gym that was on Washington Avenue. He  won that fight against Sonny Liston at the Miami Beach Convention Center at Washington Ave and 17th Street.

The iconic Italian clothing designer Gianni Versace not only lived and played on Ocean Drive in the early 90s, but he also had a high end clothing store with his own designs at 755 Washington Avenue.

Finally in 1958, famous American film, theater, and television actress Jayne Mansfield and her new husband Mickey Hargitay honeymooned at the Eden Roc Hotel but reportedly enjoyed walking around the area while window shopping on Washington Avenue.

Speakers at the unveiling from left to right: Mayor Dan Gelber, Commissioner Steven Meiner, Commissioner Mark Samuelian, Brandi Reddick, Cultural Affairs Manager of CMB, Troy E. Wright, Executive Director of BID, Otniel Rodriguez of CMB, Daniel Ciraldo, Executive Director of MDPL and mural artist Ignacio Marino Larrique.

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