Why I Love My City: Mera Rubell on Miami

The art collector discusses why she's so passionate about Miami, and which city is the best place to live for artists

Mera Rubell is one of America's, if not the world's, premiere art collectors. Along with her husband, Don Rubell, she's the brains behind the Rubell Family Collection and Contemporary Arts Foundation in Miami, which helped reshape that city's Wynwood neighborhood into a vibrant arts community. In addition to their work in Miami, the Rubells have recently announced plans to open a second museum showcasing their private collection in Washington, D.C., and have a new show featuring leading black American contemporary artists at the Corcoran Gallery of Art.

Why did you choose to live in downtown Miami?

It’s as close to the edge as you can get in Miami, and if you want to be involved in contemporary art here, it’s where you really walk the walk and talk the talk.

Has your locational choice affected your profession in the art world?

No, we were passionate about art when we lived in New York, long before we moved to Miami. But being here gave us the opportunity to obtain a 40,000 square-foot space, which we couldn’t have afforded in New York.

If you were mayor of Miami, what's the first thing you would change?

I would increase kids’ accessibility to culture and I would increase awareness about the importance of culture in a kid’s life. I started out my career as a teacher, and I developed the educational programs at the Collection. I know that when we teach kids about culture, we give them the tools to express and discover themselves.

If you didn’t live in Miami, where would you live and why?

I’d live in D.C. We're planning to open a Rubell Family Collection there in the next few years.

What's the best city for artists?

Los Angeles. Hollywood provides constant stimuli, studio space is cheap, teaching jobs for artists are plenty, and the cultural and visual landscape is endlessly fascinating.

Do you see yourself still living in Miami in 20 years?

For sure. I like playing tennis outdoors every morning.

About the Author

  • Richard Florida is Co-founder and Editor at Large of CityLab.com and Senior Editor at The Atlantic. He is director of the Martin Prosperity Institute at the University of Toronto and Global Research Professor at NYU. More
    Florida is author of The Rise of the Creative ClassWho's Your City?, and The Great Reset. He's also the founder of the Creative Class Group, and a list of his current clients can be found here