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

Most Popular

  1. Environment

    A 13,235-Mile Road Trip for 70-Degree Weather Every Day

    This year-long journey across the U.S. keeps you at consistent high temperatures.

  2. A photo of a police officer in El Paso, Texas.
    Equity

    What New Research Says About Race and Police Shootings

    Two new studies have revived the long-running debate over how police respond to white criminal suspects versus African Americans.

  3. Bicycle riders on a package-blocked bicycle lane
    Perspective

    Why Do Micromobility Advocates Have Tiny-Demand Syndrome?

    In the 1930s big auto dreamed up freeways and demanded massive car infrastructure. Micromobility needs its own Futurama—one where cars are marginalized.

  4. A photo of an abandoned building in Providence, Rhode Island.
    Perspective

    There's No Such Thing as a Dangerous Neighborhood

    Most serious urban violence is concentrated among less than 1 percent of a city’s population. So why are we still criminalizing whole areas?

  5. a photo of cyclists riding beside a streetcar in the Mid Market neighborhood in San Francisco, California.
    Transportation

    San Francisco’s Busiest Street Is Going Car-Free

    A just-approved plan will redesign Market Street to favor bikes, pedestrians, and public transit vehicles. But the vote to ban private cars didn’t happen overnight.

×