“It’s inevitable that the budgets for bigger buildings will be bigger,’’ Spring said. “We understand that, but we can make no guarantees that the county can do anything more than what we’re doing now.’’
Podhurst said MAM trustees have not yet asked the county for increased public support, but he enthuses over the opportunities for generating income in ways the museum’s current home in the Miami-Dade Cultural Center cannot.
“We expect to make a lot of money in our predictions on rentals on weddings and bar mitzvahs and parties, and all that kind of stuff, because they’re beautiful spaces,’’ he said. “It’s one of the most gorgeous spots to be on the water.’’
Still, Collins makes it clear that MAM will be looking to county leaders to increase annual support of the museum, as well.
“We have to grow funding through every revenue stream,’’ he said, “but everything has to grow: government funding, private support, earned income.’’
MAM’s fundraising campaign took an unexpected turn in December when the museum announced Perez’s donation of $35 million in cash and art.
MAM trustees voted to accept Perez’s gift and the museum’s renaming by a 46-4 vote, but the news also triggered a backlash.
Four members of the museum’s board of trustees resigned, including past president Mary Frank., who with her husband Howard Frank, chief operating officer and vice chairman of Carnival Corp., vowed to stop paying on their $1 million pledge. Carnival Corp., which had pledged $5 million to the museum, also reneged.
The Franks paid $417,791 of their pledge, MAM officials said, and Carnival Corp. paid $1.5 million.
The museum does not plan to return those gifts, said Tracy Belcher, a MAM spokeswoman.
Yet while some donors have severed ties with the museum over the change, the renaming also has helped open new doors for MAM.
“The Jorge Effect was really positive and fantastic,’’ said Collins, the museum’s director, “because he’s given us access to people we otherwise wouldn’t have talked to.’’
Ranked the 360th richest person in America by the October issue of Forbes magazine, Perez, 63, has a personal fortune estimated at $1.2 billion — and he travels among a broad circle of influential friends.
His gift to MAM, divided into $20 million cash and $15 million in art, was meant to lead by example, Podhurst said.
Perez has paid $6.5 million of the cash pledge to date, Podhurst said, and he is scheduled to pay an additional $3.5 million in January. The remainder of his cash pledge — $10 million — will be paid in installments by 2022.
The art, however, is already in hand.
Collins and MAM’s chief curator, Tobias Ostrander, recently hand picked the works from Perez’s personal collection. Those works have been appraised by Christie’s, the art auction house, and their value is greater than the pledged amount of $15 million, Podhurst said.
In a video interview posted on Forbes.com, Perez said his commitment to MAM is now closer to $40 million.
But he doesn’t mind.
“I want the best pieces to go to the museum,’’ he told Forbes.
Among the donors whom Perez brought on board for the museum’s campaign is a fellow member of the Forbes 400: Number 83, Stephen Ross, the billionaire owner of the Miami Dolphins.
Though Ross sits on the boards of some of New York’s most prestigious cultural institutions, including the Guggenheim Museum and the Lincoln Center, he had not taken an active role in MAM’s capital campaign until his longtime friend, Perez, asked.
Ross, a real estate developer who is founder and chairman of the Related Companies, said he and Perez are friends and business associates dating back to 1979.
“Knowing that’s important to him, I gave it in his honor,’’ Ross said of his gift to MAM. “Jorge told me how important it was, and asked if I would be interested in giving. It wasn’t a hard sell, if you know what I mean.’’