The Legacy of Art Basel

ABMB has thus been an excellent investment for the MCH Group, as foreseen by Ibarguen.

Beatrice Rangel. 14/12/2016

At the dawn of this century Alberto Ibarguen then Publisher for the Miami Herald had the vision and the dream to transform Miami into a modern Alexandria through the promotion of the arts and innovation. Action followed thought and Ibarguen supported the creation for the Arsht Center for the Performing Arts while sponsoring the establishment of a winter session for Art Basel the world renown arts fair in the Gateway of the Americas. And by 2003 Art Basel set a reluctant foot in Miami aiming at testing the waters for the business of selling art.

Art Basel 2016

A decade thereafter Art Basel’s rights owner MCH could not be happier. Revenues for ART Basel Miami Beach (ABMB) have consistently grow from about $12.5 M 13 years ago, to 22M this year. MCH does not participate in the art sales which are private transactions between collectors and galleries but receives a steady and hefty income stream from booth rentals. Depending on location, empty booth rentals run around $50,000.

Art Basel 2016

With furniture and lighting, the price mounts to about $70,000. Another income stream comes from tickets which are prices at $45. Assuming all 73,000 visitors paid for their tickets, this income item represents $3.3 million. Then there are sponsorships including among other BMW; and Luis Vuitton which boost income to the $22 million level. ABMB has thus been an excellent investment for the MCH Group, as foreseen by Ibarguen.

Art Basel 2016

From the art sales perspective ABMB has also been an astounding success reporting sales growth from about $1B thirteen years ago, to reportedly $3 billion. This almost doubles what Christie’s and Sotheby’ssold in one weekat their modern and post-war auctions in New York this fall. But were the ABMB impact has been most sensational perhaps is in its capacity to foster externalities that have turned the most depressed of inner city sections into a booming art cum luxury district. Indeed, without ABMB there would not be a way to explain the ongoing hectic gentrification being experienced by Wynwood the otherwise forgotten section of Miami.

Art Basel 2016

As ABMB attracts the arts aficionados, collectors and the ubiquitous “hangers on” the arts trade attracts all sorts of income streams that have begun to percolate through Miami promoting a revival of heretofore depressed neighborhoods. Indeed, In just a few short years, the former warehouse district of Wynwood has benefitted from the income cum trades fostered by ABMB to become the arts hub of South Florida. It started with murals, street art, and graffiti to reach today 70 galleries and museums, dozens of new restaurants and bars, and hundreds of companies, creators, and innovators working in a place that just feels alive.

Art Basel 2016

Most important, crime rates had subsided while, local schools flourish with brand new curricula where the arts take a prominent place. Its Second Saturday Art Walks are now world famous and its children the most creative visual arts innovators. In short ABMB has turned Miami the city where people came to shop and tan into a modern vibrant metropolis that serves as a cultural melting pot for the Americas and the world. Not bad for just an Arts Fair??

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