The Straits Times
Published on Dec 06, 2012

Art Basel showcases growing cultural scene in Miami


MIAMI BEACH (REUTERS) - One of the largest contemporary art fairs in the world kicks off on Thursday, with the 11th annual Art Basel Miami Beach drawing celebrities, art-gawkers and some of the world's top galleries.

The four-day fair is credited with helping transform Miami's image from one of weekend beach frivolity to an emerging mecca for the performing and visual arts.

An estimated 50,000 visitors flocked to the fair in 2011, according to the city's tourism promotion agency, and more are expected this year.

"Prior to Art Basel we had eight galleries. We now have over 140 in Miami-Dade County," said Mr Norman Braman, a billionaire car dealership mogul and chair of the local committee that works with the fair's organizers.