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Director’s star power draws crowd to Pérez Art Museum Miami

Jorge M. Pérez (far right), real estate developer, posed with Jessica and Franklin Sirmans, director of the Pérez Art Museum, during the third annual Reception for the PAMM Fund for African American Art in Miami, on Tues., Feb. 16, 2016.
Jorge M. Pérez (far right), real estate developer, posed with Jessica and Franklin Sirmans, director of the Pérez Art Museum, during the third annual Reception for the PAMM Fund for African American Art in Miami, on Tues., Feb. 16, 2016. pportal@elnuevoherald.com

Thank the star power of museum director Franklin Sirmans and the convergence of Black Tech Week at the nearby Adrienne Arsht Center for Tuesday’s stellar turnout at the Pérez Art Museum Miami’s third annual Ambassadors event.

More than 1,300 — more than double the crowd in previous years — RSVP’d for the reception, an outreach funded by the Knight Foundation in support of the museum’s Fund for African American Art.

Knight Foundation President and CEO Alberto Ibargüen attributed the event’s growth to past success — “people know we throw one of the best parties of the year” — and to interest in Sirmans, who is widely considered a rising star in the art world. “There is no getting around the fact that people are excited about Franklin Sirmans; they’re energized and they’re proud that he’s our museum director.”

Sirmans joined the museum last fall, becoming the first African American to serve as director of the PAMM or its predecessor, the Miami Art Museum.

Tuesday’s event was designed to connect the African-American community with the museum and raise both awareness and funds for PAMM’s African American Art Fund, founded with a $1 million donation by the Knight Foundation and museum namesake Jorge M. Pérez to purchase works by African Americans.

The event is drawing the kind of community interest the Knight Foundation had intended, said Ibargüen. “Where I think it could do better is drawing other people to contribute to the fund. I would love for people to step up and put money on the table.”

About 200 have signed up for Ambassador membership, making a minimum $250 annual contribution.

For the first time, the event included performances — one by Jamaican artist Nari Ward, whose Sun-Splashed is on display at the museum, and a second by Girl Power’s Girls’ Choir of Miami.

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