It’s been 20 years since Art Basel made its first international debut in Miami Beach. From then on, the tourist hotspot has evolved into a cultural mecca, drawing in world-famous artists and wealthy art collectors. The transformation, in the words of Mayor Dan Gelber, was “incredibly dramatic and defining.
The privately-run art fair, which runs from December 2 to 5, is organized in collaboration with the city’s local institutions, museums, art galleries and other cultural venues.
Before Art Basel Miami Beach, the city’s economy was dominated by holiday tourism, attracting between 10 to 15 million visitors, local and international, every year. Today, a new breed of visitors enjoy more than the city’s beaches.
Among the most popular cultural venues include the Miami City Ballet, the Bass Museum of Art, the Perez Art Museum Miami, Miami Children’s Museum, and the Frank Gehry-designed New World Center, which hosts the New World Symphony.
Apart from seeing the usual influx of beach lovers and culture vultures, Gebler has noted the post-Covid surge of arrivals from people from across the United States looking to settle in a place that facilitated the better work-life balance.
In South Florida, Miami Beach launched the Arts Force Housing program, which offers housing alternatives for people in the arts sector. The city has also experienced a building boom in commercial and office space to meet rising demand.
“The Class A office issue has always been present in South Florida for decades. But Miami has really put together a critical mass of Class A office spaces, which is why I think so many businesses are moving here,” Gelber told GMI POST.
“That’s been a priority of my city: to create more office space, create more pedestrian- and bike-friendly opportunities, and make the city more accessible to people. I want to foster a sense of community and create a safe and clean city, one that will be best version of Miami Beach in South Florida,” the mayor added.