Artistically, Miami has arrived

As Chair of Miami Art Museum, Aaron Podhurst makes the case for Miami’s rise to prominence on the international arts stage, referencing Art Basel, Bass Art Museum, the recent success of the Adrienne Arsht Center, and the upcoming plans to construct Museum Park, which will serve as home to the world-class Miami Art Museum and Miami Science Museum.  Mr. Podhurst also addresses the arts’ positive impact on the education of our youth, and through MAM, the positive economic impact on downtown Miami in terms of new visitors and new jobs and as an engine for the ongoing revitalization of our city’s urban core.  Read the full Miami Herald op-ed here…and congratulations Aaron!


Artistically, Miami has arrived

by Aaron Podhurst

South Florida landed on the international art map when Art Basel Miami Beach came to town in 2002. Since then, our city has been on an artistic roll.

The Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts opened a few years later, the Bass Museum of Art expanded its building and exhibition capabilities, and today, plans for Miami Art Museum’s new home in Museum Park are well under way. Perhaps most significant is that Miami’s artistic awakening has taken shape amidst one of the worst economic climates in history — one that saw performing arts centers across the country close their doors, museum budgets get slashed by as much as 20 percent and The New York Times compare the “irrational exuberance” of the arts world with that of Wall Street.
To be sure, Miami’s arts institutions have not emerged from this crisis unscathed: Budgets have been cut, programs have been scaled back and private fundraising challenges abound. Fortunately, the enthusiasm surrounding Miami’s artistic institutions has trickled down to the grassroots level, which has proven itself more immune to the ups and downs of the economy. Wynwood is emerging as a destination for artists and art collectors, regularly scheduled gallery walks are popping up from Little Havana to the Design District. Private collectors are more eager than ever to share their art with the community.
That our major arts organizations have weathered the economic storm while helping to energize the broader arts community speaks volumes about the strength of Miami’s cultural landscape and potential to grow its global artistic influence. Take Miami Art Museum’s new home, for example. By all measures, Herzog & de Meuron’s new waterfront building will be an architectural gem. But it is what will happen inside the building that figures to have the greatest impact on our community, attracting visitors to downtown Miami, providing a permanent home for some of our city’s finest artworks and building enthusiasm for the arts among children and students through the museum’s MAM & Schools initiative. MAM will spur economic growth in the form of hundreds of new, high-paying construction jobs and a $12 million annual economic impact as 200,000 additional visitors venture to downtown Miami each year.
Indeed, MAM will serve as a hub for our community — an engine for the ongoing revitalization of our urban core and a cultural port linking South Florida and the United States with the rest of the world. Miami’s rise to prominence on the international arts stage did not happen overnight. Getting to this point involved the time, talent and financial commitment of private sector leaders, civic officials and visionaries who saw our city’s potential as an arts mecca.
Yet the journey is not complete. Elevating Miami to the next stage of its cultural evolution and solidifying its role as an international center of artistic influence will require renewed material and legislative support from our civic leaders, strengthened financial backing among individuals and companies in the private sector and increased participation among the community at large.
Aaron Podhurst serves as chairman of Miami Art Museum ( and is a senior partner with the Podhurst Orseck law firm in Miami.