Public Art at the Miami Beach Convention Center

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At the Miami Beach Convention Center, new meaning has been given to the concept of public art. While Miami art in public places isn’t exactly unheard of—after all, the community has long been known as a premier destination for art lovers from around the world—the dynamic reimagining of the Convention Center is raising the city to a new level of art appreciation.

A Multi-Million Dollar Investment in Miami’s Public Art

As nearly any Miami Beach local will tell you, the city doesn’t settle for mediocre, so it makes sense that the Convention Center’s recent redesign clocks in as the largest single percent-for-art purchase in American history. More than $620 million was allocated for the full renovation, including $7 million for the creation of a series of public artworks.

The community has long placed significant value on local arts and culture, demonstrated by the 1984 founding of the Art in Public Places (AiPP) program. This program sets aside 1.5 percent of all capital costs stemming from public and joint private-public projects, establishing a fund specifically for the purchasing and commissioning of art. However, while the AiPP program has been a long-standing force in maintaining Miami Beach’s commitment to the arts, the project at the Convention Center was unlike anything they’d done before.

While most public art pieces are commissioned piecemeal, the project purchased several pieces with the goal of achieving a uniting theme. This provided the unique opportunity for the committee to shape the project’s vision according to a specific concept, resulting in a final product that provides viewers with a one-of-a-kind visual journey.

A Collection of Public Art Pieces by World-Renowned Artists

When the Art in Public Places committee called for artist submissions, they were flooded by hundreds of applicants from all over the world. For four years, they carefully sorted through an incredible assortment of talented artists, searching for those with a style, medium, and vision that melded with the plans for the Convention Center. The focus was on selecting a series of pieces and artists that could flow as one, playing off one another, as well as the building in a coherent, creative way.

From several hundred applicants, the committee selected six artists to join in the efforts for conceptualizing and creating public art at the Miami Beach Convention Center. The artists were involved in more than just the creation of the artworks; they also contributed to the overall design of the spaces for each piece.

In addition to the several public art pieces, the Convention Center building itself was recreated with considerable intention. The redesign transformed the building into a symbol of Miami Beach’s commitment to the environment, earning silver LEED certification and recycling nearly 100 percent of material waste during the construction process. Energy consumption was cut by 20 percent, while a rainwater collection system now provides a sustainable source of water. The wave-like glass on the building’s exterior evokes images of the vibrant blue ocean waters, representing the community’s resilience and focus on sustainability.

Six Miami Public Artworks Connected by a Single Vision

The six artists selected to participate in the Miami Beach Convention Center’s redesign come from all over the world, contributing their unique cultures, perspectives, and styles to the public art collection.

  • About Sand by German artist Franz Ackerman is located on the building’s southeast exterior corner, featuring bright colors and various abstracted forms to represent the artist’s interpretations of daily life, tourism, and commerce in Miami Beach.
  • Atlantis by English artist Ellen Harvey is located in the building’s grand lobby ballroom and combines mouth-blown glass, ceramic, and paint in a representation of the bodies of water that join Miami Beach with the larger ecosystems of Florida.
  • Bent Pool by Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset is a study in contemporary sculpture art, located at the Convention Center Park.
  • Humanoids by Joep van Lieshout is a series of sculptural, abstract figures placed throughout Collins Canal Park.
  • Located World, Miami Beach is in the Convention Center’s west lobby, and is part of a larger series by artist Joseph Kosuth.
  • Morris Lapidus is installed on the center’s northeast and grand staircase exterior walls, where it explores a variety of visual concepts through unique mediums and forms.

Experience the Reimagined Miami Beach Convention Center

Miami Beach has long been a year-round art destination, offering visitors and locals alike a wide variety of opportunities to experience diverse artworks from both established and emerging artists. Now, the redesigned Miami Beach Convention Center has secured its place among the community’s must-see art highlights, adding to the already extensive collection of Miami Beach public art.

Plan your visit to the Miami Beach Convention Center for your up-close experience with artwork by some of the best internationally-recognized artists of today.

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