IMAGINE THAT IT IS early December and you are an art lover living
in a cold, dark climate. Much of
the world is awaiting the upcoming
holiday season, yet nothing is happening in the global art markets.
In Miami Beach, however, the
weather is sunny, dry and warm
and the city is hosting Art Basel,
one of the world’s largest art and
Since 2002, Art Basel has been
held in early December in Miami
Beach. This premier art fair, which
is staged annually in just three
locations around the world — Basel, Switzerland, Miami Beach
and Hong Kong — brings together
principal galleries and collectors
from around the globe to view, ap-
A contemporary art fair and visionary developers
have reinvented South Florida as a place where art,
commerce and habitation come together.
By Michael Maxwell
preciate, revel in and, ultimately,
buy and sell modern and contempo-
rary art. In 2014, this single event
drew over 75,000 visitors to Miami
Over the years, the success of Art
Basel has spawned 15 separate
satellite art fairs layered over Miami
Beach, the Miami Design District,
and the Wynwood neighborhood
in Midtown Miami. These activities attract an additional 25,000
to 30,000 people each year. The
result: more than 100,000 art tourists descending upon South Florida
for an intensive art immersion.
Miami’s real estate markets have
responded to this culture crush by
;lling demand for pop-up show-
rooms and gallery space. Tempo-
rarily converting warehouses and
vacant stores in gentrifying areas
such as Wynwood, Little Haiti and
Midtown into galleries to accommo-
date dealers and exhibitors during
the week of Art Basel has proven
more pro;table than renting to the
users for which they were intended.
Before Art Basel arrived, Miami
was already a leading art center.
Many noted collectors had acquired
warehouses that they were using as
galleries to showcase their extensive
collections, or had donated collections to the city’s public museums.
Given its gateway location and its
reputation as the “business capital
of Latin America,” Miami has long
been a center of art and design.