Everything looks better from the deck of a $40 million yacht, art included. That's the brilliance of Seafair, a now nearly permanent-exhibition space docked at Bayfront Park. The venue has established itself as a year-round South Florida arts fixture, with a few outside shows planned at other locations across the state.
In keeping with downtown's rapidly evolving art scene, they're launching two MIA Encore shows, scheduled for April 4th through 7th and May 2nd through 5th. They'll be showcasing 28 international dealers hocking photography, painting, mixed media, sculpture, jewelry, installation, and video, plus offering up a series of events like cocktail cruises, art appraisals, and the soon-to-launch First Friday.
Art, on a boat. That's so Miami.
On April 5th, MIA Encore will help launch First Friday, downtown's inaugural art walk. This widespread new initiative is designed to highlight the area's burgeoning arts community. It'll bring together notable orgs and individuals like Bas Fisher Invitational, Dimensions Variable, TM Sisters, Art in Public Places, and many more. They'll be offering special exhibitions, artists' open studios, tours, exclusive openings and performances -- and it's all free from 6 to 10 p.m.
Another notable set of events in conjunction with the April fair is the Art After Hours Cocktail Cruises, scheduled for Friday and Saturday nights from 10 p.m. to 12 a.m. There'll also be a Sunday Art on the Bay brunch cruise from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Seriously, yacht cruises FTW! (Tickets for sale on their website.)
Plus, they'll be hosting a free Appraisal Saturday event on April 6, where Miller Gaffney from PBS' Market Warriors will analyze the unique objets d'art of attendees and determine whether they're trash or treasure. Post-appraisals, from 3 to 4 p.m., Gaffney will also present a lecture, Contemporary Passions for Art.
In addition to these upcoming events, the Seafair has lots of big plans for the future, according to MIA Encore Director and Seafair co-owner (along with husband David) Lee Ann Lester. They'll be participating in area boat shows, bringing the arts to new audiences and serving as a VIP and press headquarters - which they've also been doing for Ultra festivities.
"The January show was very successful. Dealers were selling things from $1,000 to $130,000 and they're keenly interested in continuing their relationships. Even compared to December, they've said that January, especially in downtown, attracts a completely different type of audience," Lester says. "It's people they don't see in Wynwood, people they don't see in December, more seasonal collectors and people who actually work downtown or live in the suburbs and really don't come downtown."
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Lester says that a lot of collectors are looking for cultural relevance -- and Miami's where they find it.
"It's cultural tourism. How do you blend the enhancement of knowledge, of culture, art and music together with a community venture? People are looking for an experience that has deeper meaning than just looking at beautiful things."
Downtown's future is looking brighter every day.