Art Basel Miami Beach Wants to Extend Contract for Convention Center Through 2026

Susan Askew
Susan Askew

Art Basel Miami Beach Wants to Extend Contract for Convention Center Through 2026:

Following cancellation in 2020, fair will get rent discount for its return this year

Updated July 29, 2021

Art Basel Miami Beach, like most major events, had to cancel its 2020 show because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The fair plans to return in 2021 with accommodations for safety and with a deeply discounted rent at the Miami Beach Convention Center. The financial accommodation is also part of an agreement that extends Art Basel Miami Beach an additional three years through 2026. The agreement was approved by City Commissioners this week.

Art Basel, the prestigious fair in Basel, Switzerland launched Art Basel Miami Beach (ABMB) in 2000 and, in the years since, it has made Miami Beach a major arts destination. Prior to 2017, the fair signed annual leases for the Convention Center, but that year Art Basel made a five-year commitment for shows beginning in 2019 through 2023. 

In the memo to Commissioners accompanying the item, Miami Beach City Manager Alina Hudak wrote, “ABMB has become the preeminent contemporary art fair in the western hemisphere and an established destination for artists, galleries, collectors, museum groups, and other individuals interested in top quality art.”

“Economists have estimated $400 million to $500 million annually in related economic impact as a result of ABMB,” she wrote, adding the fair is responsible for 12,000 room nights. In 2017, attendance figures were estimated to be approximately 77,000, she said.

Under the amendment to the agreement, Art Basel will pay $100,000 to use the Convention Center in 2021, a discount from the contracted $791,000. ABMB agreed to offer City of Miami Beach residents the student and senior discounted ticket rate for the entirety of the event.

The fair was scheduled to pay $765,000 in 2020 and its cancellation was another blow to the City’s budget which was reeling from the impact of the pandemic on its heavily tourism dependent economy.

In the remaining years, ABMB’s annual fees will return to the contracted amounts with annual ncreases based on the CPI or 2% whichever is greater.

Earlier this month, Art Basel Miami Beach announced the logistics around its return and how they plan to keep safety in the forefront. The fair will open a day early to VIP guests, giving collectors an additional private viewing day. The close will also be a day earlier than usual, with the last public viewing day on Saturday versus the traditional Sunday.  This year’s invitation-only VIP preview dates will be Tuesday, November 30 and Wednesday, December 1 with public viewing days Thursday, December 2 to Saturday, December 4. The Meridians section which showcases large-scale installations will open by invitation-only on Monday, November 29. To keep attendance at levels that can protect health and safety, ticket sales for the event will be limited.

Commission Agenda Item C7 AH

Updated July 28, 2021 to reflect resident discounts for entirety of 2021 event.
Updated July 29, 2021 to reflect Commission approval.

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