If you want to dip a timid toe in the sexy international art scene without getting sucked into the whirlpool Art Basel creates, the solution is right here in river city.
The Miami River Art Fair is in its third year and beginning to make a splash. Organizers must have been thinking big when they dubbed their Art Basel satellite location “the Manhattan of Miami”. The hubris is understandable: see the resemblance in the photo - big buildings with pretty lights on the water? Symbolism. Perspective.
So maybe their geographic moniker is outsized but this Fair’s got what it takes for the newbie Baseler: interesting art and sculpture indoors and out, a manageably sized venue, a convenient location away from the crush, and the best Art Basel transportation options this City can offer.
That’s the real attraction for Basel virgins: the many easy transportation choices beginning with a parking garage at the Downtown Miami Convention Center (a.k.a. the James L Knight Convention Center). You can bring your own wheels and actually find parking.
Better yet, the Miami River Art Fair is served by two Metromover stops. You can get to the Fair by Metrorail or by bus, if you must.
But if a boat is your picture of a divine transportation option, the water taxi stop is in Fort Dallas Park, right next to the hotels and the artworks.You can even BYOB (bring your own boat) as long as you don't tie up. Imagine, an Art Fair for river rats.
Cruise along the waterside Sculpture Mall to see the sculptures or head inside to Riverfront Hall for additional artworks.
Once you've gotten your Basel feet wet, you may be ready to take a slow boat over to the big Basel scene on the Beach. Or, should your initial exploration excite a desire to see additional satellites in landlocked Wynwood, there’s a trolley for that.
The Miami River Art Fair runs Dec. 4 through Dec. 7 at the Downtown Miami Convention Center - James L. Knight International Center, 400 SE 2nd Ave, Miami. Visit their website for hours, complimentary tickets and more information.