Of the estimated 14 million people that visit Miami each year, about 300,000 of them flock to the Big Mango during President's Day Weekend. And Nick Korniloff is confident that number includes a "culturally and socially savvy art-buying audience."
Korniloff is fair director and partner for Art Wynwood, Art Miami LLC's latest contemporary art fair. Just two months removed from Basel week, the inaugural five-day festival will take place at the 125,000-square-foot Art Miami pavilion in Midtown February 16-20, and will feature about 70 international galleries.
We caught up with Korniloff over the holidays via email and talked about Wynwood's emerging art scene, the International Yacht & Brokerage Show, and the future of Art Miami.
New Times: Art Miami is considered one of the premier art fairs in the world, arguably the best one in Miami (my favorite). Has there been added pressure launching Art Wynwood given the role Art Miami plays in the art world?
Nick Korniloff: Thank you for the complement. Actually we have been preparing for an additional art fair for President's Day Weekend over the last three and a half years. I started to speak with the local Miami business and gallery districts months leading up to this year's edition of Art Miami - -they were in full support of us launching the fair and creating a stand-alone international event outside of Art Week that would be commercially viable for the entire district.
I think the only pressure is not to duplicate what we have already done in the marketplace and to make sure that each year the fair physically feels and looks different and that the quality is always high. It's ultimately show business, and you are always judged on your last performance. Art Wynwood is a launch which allows us to create something completely fresh for Miami and the overall marketplace.
Several of the galleries confirmed for Art Wynwood were at Art Miami. Will their exhibitions differ at all?
Yes, we asked that the galleries change their programs and showcase some of their younger, high-quality emerging or mid-career cutting-edge artists. The fair will reflect the Wynwood Arts District with its urban feel, high-energy, and art work that is represented. All participating galleries and show management will collaborate to achieve this.
From a marketing perspective, Art Wynwood coinciding with the Miami International Yacht & Brokerage Show makes a lot of sense. But given the fact it's only two months removed from Basel week, were there any reservations about hitting Miami with another huge art fair so soon after Art Miami?
Absolutely not. Our business plan is always to have a strategy and a reason why when launching a project. We love our relationship with Miami and only want to be supportive and continue to provide opportunities that benefit our clients, and ultimately the city and communities in Miami.
It is our belief after studying the art market and South Florida market that the peak period of time for international travelers, winter residents, and tri-county residents and visitors is President's Day Weekend. We are confident that there will be a diverse, well-heeled, culturally and socially savvy art buying audience in the Miami marketplace during this period of time. Certainly galleries located in northern climates that rely on foot traffic will benefit from following their client base to warmer climates.
We also know that the art market is global and while the month of December in Miami offers a great opportunity, it is also not as accessible to everyone as it may appear. There are plenty of Americans, Europeans, and Latin Americans that do not make it to the Miami marketplace during Art Week. The height of season is actually February, and this is when many international travelers call Miami and other areas of South Florida home.
In addition, we know that 14 million people visit the Miami market each year, which on average is close to 270,000 people a week. President's Day Weekend is known as Miami's busiest holiday weekend -- we estimate that well over 300,000 people will be in the Miami market. Thirty five-star local resorts are at their highest occupancy rate of the year. This provides a very compelling reason that a qualified audience is in the marketplace. Coinciding with the 24th edition of the International Yacht and Brokerage Show also provides additional confidence that a well-heeled international audience is in the market place.
The Art Miami Pavilion is massive. Will Art Wynwood be utilizing the full 125,000 square foot space?
We will utilize a little over two thirds of the existing 125,000 square feet to produce Art Wynwood. The look and feel of the fair will be completely different than Art Miami.
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You're floating the lighting and freight handling bill for the inaugural participating galleries. I think that demonstrates your commitment to the fair and, more importantly, a commitment to Miami's art scene. Is that safe to say?
What we are doing is basically utilizing the infrastructure from Art Miami to offer a fair pricing structure for galleries to join us for Art Wynwood. We will redesign the fair utilizing the walls that are already in place from the past fair. Our lighting grid is still in place and we have offered dealers complimentary upgrades in their stand size to increase the value of the experience. In addition we have partnered with two different local shipping, transportation and storage companies (Museo Vault and Kushner Moving Group) and are offering consolidated rates which we have subsidized for shipping and storage. In addition, we have been fortunate enough to have the JW Marriott Marquis Miami and Hotel Beaux Arts Miami to come on board as the official hotels of Art Wynwood. Each are offering preferred rates for all participating exhibitors and guests. Our goal is not to immediately make money on the fair, but to create an important event that is needed in the marketplace for the long-term.
What's next for Art Miami LLC?
We are pleased with the direction that Art Miami and Art Wynwood have taken. We are very fond of the west coast and are currently in the process of acquiring the Los Angeles Art Show which will bridge our east coast shows with the West Coast. We will continue to work hard to continue the growth and diversity of Art Miami LLC and look forward to the future.
Art Wynwood. Wednesday, February 16-20. Art Miami Pavilion (3101 NE 1st Ave, Midtown). Admission prices vary. Visit art-wynwood.com.