How Art Basel has transformed the Miami Art Scene

Miami has long been a city with a thriving art culture and an appreciation for fine art. South Florida, in fact, has long been home to some of America’s greatest collectors of art. Among the most well-known names are:

-Debra and Dennis Scholl
-Jorge Perez, CEO of the Related Group
-Jessica Goldman Srebnick
George Lindemann
-Rosa and Carlo de la Cruz of the de la Cruz collection

These devotees and patrons of the arts represent the crème de la crème in the world of gathering exquisite works of art by the top artist. However, in 2002 something happened that would forever change the art scene in Miami. That was the arrival of Art Basel.

Art Basel Miami, the five-day art fair conducted annually now for the past 15 years, has put Miami on the international map as an art city; on her way to becoming another New York or Paris. No longer are just the local big names in the art world commonly spotted at local galleries. Miami has now become a magnet drawing dealers, art aficionados, and collectors from all over the world. Some celebrity art enthusiast spotted this year were: Leonardo DiCaprio, Cindy Crawford, and Scott Disick.

Early each December, just ahead of the holidays, South Beach becomes packed with visitors who are in town not only to enjoy beautiful beaches and sunshine. These new tourists are in town to buy and sell art – lots of it. During the week-long fair up to $3 billion worth of art is for sale. All of this activity brings $500 million in economic stimulus to the economy of South Florida every year.

Art Basel has gradually transformed Miami into an Art Mecca. The exhibition has created awareness. When visitors attend Art Basel, they also get to experience the local art scene. That has made it possible for small galleries to spring up in areas like the Wynnewood district, which were once desolate and run down parts of the city. Such neighborhoods have now sprung to life attracting studios and developers.

Miami’s design district itself is an outgrowth of Art Basel’s success. Miami has become a metropolis defined not only by warm weather. She is now projecting herself culturally through art. Who knew that a five-day event could spawn an artistic epicenter in South Florida? That is the magic of art, and perhaps that is why Miami is known as the “Magic City.”