One of Wynwood's most reasonably priced art fairs was acquired earlier this month in one of the many upheavals seen in Miami's arts district. For the past nine years, Red Dot Art Fair has established a strong name for itself as an event to buy moderately priced pieces for your collection that won't leave you feeling pinched.
Founder and director George Billis started the fair after successfully establishing bicoastal gallery spaces catering to high-end collectors in Los Angeles and New York. Yet after being away from the Art Basel Miami Beach crowd for several seasons, Billis noticed a void in the marketplace. Red Dot filled that space by marketing some of the best undiscovered art to middle-income consumers.
"Red Dot, as well as other satellite fairs surrounding Art Basel, offer the majority of attendees an opportunity to purchase primary art at affordable prices," says Eric Smith, president of Redwood Media Group (RMG), the company that bought the local fair. "Whether you're a first-time buyer or seasoned collector, visiting the satellite fairs like Red Dot enable you to meet emerging artists and fresh faces."
Apart from acquiring Red Dot, RMG also owns and produces Spectrum Miami, Artexpo New York, Art San Diego, and Spectrum Indian Wells.
The move comes as Miami Art Week and Wynwood go through another round of transformation. Last season, fairs like Pulse and NADA made a major play for the spotlight, while traditional juggernauts like Scope floundered under the Basel heft. Wynwood is looking less like an arts district and more like a reclaimed strip of warehouses packed with pop-up boutiques, juice bars, and coffeehouses. Though the changes seem massive, for an art-world veteran like Billis, it's de rigueur.
"I have seen art fairs move from Miami to Miami Beach... but I feel that Miami has better options for attendee accessibility," he explains, "not only with parking but also with reasonable hotels and major institutions close by like Pérez Art Museum."
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For attendees, the acquisition signals big changes to the structure of the fair itself. RMG plans to revamp much of Red Dot's events and amenities.
"We're thinking of adding a late-night component, a new VIP champagne lounge, and providing events that exceed the expectations of both gallerists and collectors," Smith says.
The news comes as a wave of changes to Miami's cultural landscape begins to take hold — and more are still to come. How will the city look during Basel 2016?