Not just beach fun
Add to these advances the continued growth of the gallery-centric Wynwood; the sprouting of the hip Midtown Miami neighborhood out of nothing but a dusty old rail yard; and the makeover of the adjacent Design District into a subtropical Rodeo Drive, anchored by luxury retailers such as Louis Vuitton, Cartier, Hermes and Christian Dior. Over the past decade or so, the city has morphed into a place where public and private museums thrive, theater companies are deepening their offerings and live music venues are finding their footing, thanks in part to a growing number of homegrown bands fusing conga, compas and cumbia with jazz, funk and rock.
Miami has a new sensibility. Nobody thinks of it anymore as just a place where people go looking for beach and fun and parties, says Javier Duero, artistic director for the Madrid-based JustMad MIA, one of the new satellite art fairs that will join a dozen or so others during Basel this year. It opens Dec. 6 at Soho Studios in Wynwood.
Culture is begetting more culture. Art more art. Desmond Richardson, a YoungArts alum who went on to be a principal dancer with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and the American Ballet Theater, said he was inspired by the YoungArts move to start plotting a relocation to Miami of the New York-based Complexions Contemporary Ballet company, which he co-founded in 1994.
I came to Miami for the first time when I was 17 to participate in YoungArts. Here I am in my 40s and YoungArts is still in my life, says Richardson, who hopes to find a space near the organizations new home within the next couple of years.
Also feeling the pull of a more sophisticated Miami is Joe Berardo, one of Portugals wealthiest tycoons and owner of one of the most valued modern and contemporary art collections in the world. A portion of the collection, which includes pieces by Bacon, Calder, Dali, Magritte, Mondrian, Picasso and Warhol (an estimated $700 million worth of masterworks arrived in Miami for Basel week inside 14 shipping containers) will be shown at the Gary Nader gallery in Wynwood through March.
But Berardo, who in 2007 saw the opening of the Berardo Collection Museum in Lisbon, is considering making a more permanent contribution to Miami. If another entity is willing to pay to house it, he would think about giving the city his vast Art Deco collection, he says.
You have done so much for your city in three or four years. I was so surprised by the new symphony building, by the new baseball stadium, says Berardo, who traveled here recently after a several-year hiatus to work out the details of his exhibition at the Nader gallery.
And I have to congratulate the people of Miami who preserved so much of the Art Deco there. My dream is to have an Art Deco museum either in Miami or Rio. And I love Miami, my wife loves Miami, my daughter and my son love Miami.
Pirates and drugs
Many others in the deep-pocket set are newly smitten.
A lot of my New York friends are now buying property in Miami, up one side and down the other, says Adrienne Arsht, whose $30 million gift in 2008 helped right the citys struggling new performance arts center that now bears her name.
In early November, New Yorks Lincoln Center named the stage at Alice Tully Hall after Arsht in honor of her $10 million gift. Im talking about some of the wealthiest, most prominent New Yorkers buying homes in Miami. Some years ago, they wouldnt have been caught dead in Miami. They thought it was pirates and drug dealers.