Art Basel Uses Miami as Its Canvas to Paint Inspiring Event

Photo credit: Art Basel 

Artists and art aficionados from all over the globe gathered in the city where the heat is on yesterday, December 7. The annual Art Basel fair is taking place Dec. 7-10 at Miami Beach Convention Center (MBCC) and various nearby venues.

Since 2002, this event has been attracting some 77,000 people annually, allowing Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau to use it as a prime example of how well-equipped it is to host major meetings and conventions. Now in its 16th year, Art Basel is displaying the work of more than 4,000 modern and contemporary artists from more than 200 galleries worldwide. The event is so engrained in Magic City that on Oct. 5, the City of Miami Beach inked a five-year agreement with the festival that will begin in 2019.

“This agreement is comparable to locking in the Super Bowl for five years,” said Miami Beach

Mayor Philip Levine in a press release. “Economists estimate $400 to $500 million in related economic impact as a result of this contemporary art fair, convening artists, galleries, collectors, museum groups and other individuals interested in top-notch art from around the world.”

Per the terms, the event will be given exclusive use of MBCC, which is set to debut renovations in September. The $515 million expansion includes a new 60,000-square-foot, multilevel ballroom, meeting spaces, outdoor spaces and restoration of the historic Carl Fisher Clubhouse, which is the oldest public structure in Miami Beach. Thanks to Miami Beach’s Art in Public Places ordinance, the project includes a $7 million budget to display the works of world-renowned artists.

MBCC successfully convinced Art Basel to sign on the dotted line in part because of an elevator and escalator that will connect the exhibition halls and grand ballroom. Art Basel isn’t the sole group committed to make use of the new 1.4 million-square-foot MBCC. The American Health Information Management Association’s annual convention is scheduled to christen the facility. The CA Technology convention will follow and has signed on for a minimum of three years.

Art Basel is more than a place to enjoy and purchase art: It serves as inspiration for event professionals. Aside from the galleries, many of Miami’s hotels are participating with innovative parties and installations. For example, at Faena Hotel Miami Beach, oversized installations have been placed in the sand, including the reflective “120 Degree Arc East-Southeast” and artifacts from the former Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, New Jersey.


The event attracts the richest of the rich and big-name celebrities, so the parties are expected to impress high-caliber attendees. Each year, planners are faced with the tough task of outdoing what they pulled off the prior year to keep the crowd wowed. Planners attending the festivities can jot down notes to replicate at their own events and see first-hand the flexible capabilities of Miami’s meeting and convention venues.

The entire Miami Art Week celebration stretches along the Atlantic coast and Biscayne Bay from North Miami Beach to Bal Harbour, South Beach, Wynwood Arts District, Downtown Miami and Brickell City Centre. Several satellite fairs are taking place concurrently and are utilizing newly opened and renovated spaces. Art Miami and its sister fair, Context Art Miami, poured 250,000 sq. ft. worth of cement at their new tented location at One Herald Plaza, where the Miami Herald s building once stood. Event organizers are making a splash along the water’s edge by introducing dining areas, lounges, more than 4,000 parking spaces and transportation services via taxis, shuttle busses and Uber.

The Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami opened its permanent location on Dec. 1 and The Bass museum reopened in Miami’s Art Deco district on Oct. 29 after undergoing an expansion and redesign. It is available to be booked for private events and corporate meetings of up to 250 guests.

Additionally, if you already have a meeting scheduled to take place in South Florida over the duration of Art Basel, ArtNexus Tours offers guided tours for corporate and private groups.