MIAMI (CBSMiami) – On the eve of the opening of Art Basel, the Perez Art Museum at Miami Museum Park has officially opened its doors to the public.
PAMM is located on Biscayne Bay between the Arsht Performing Arts Center and The AmericanAirlines Arena. The beautiful 200,000 square-foot building, designed by award-winning architects Herzog & de Meuron, features large, shaded verandas for relaxation, expansive galleries with views of Biscayne Bay, an education center, and a waterfront restaurant by Stephen Starr.
So what does the opening of PAMM mean to the city?
"It means that the city is on the map now in the world of art. Miami is no longer the city of fun or water or parties, it's a serious city about art," said Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado. "We have Art Basel and the Wynwood (District) and this is the icing on the cake."
"I think it's fabulous very reflective of Miami," said art lover Laurie Kausman.
The building itself cost 131 million dollars, but the total cost, with the endowment is worth $220 million and with the $40 million worth of art and cash that was donated by Miami businessman and Jorge Perez.
"Well I think that there have only been four days as exciting as this," said Perez. "That's when I watched my four kids coming out of the womb. It's an amazing, amazing day. I've always tried to, in my career, to make downtown, to make Miami a truly international urban center. We had a place where at five o'clock everyone disappeared. Now we have this incredible culture community coming together in Miami."
Opening exhibitions include a major retrospective of works by Chinese artist Ai Weiwei. There is also a focused exhibition of the work of Cuban modernist painter Amelia Peláez and an extensive selection of works from the Miami-based collection of Ruth and Marvin Sackner.
Among the visitors to pass through its doors were third graders from Miami's Southside elementary. Through the PAMM Knight Schools Program, every third grader in Miami-Dade County is invited to visit the museum for free.
Admission for Miami-Dade residents will be free through December 8th.
Board of Trustees Chairman Aaron Podhurst says PAMM, Miami's first major art museum, will give Miami a year-round hub for world-class art exhibitions and educational programming.
Some of the museum's spaces will have permanent collections, others will rotate.
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