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. A map of apartment searches in the U.S.
    Maps

    Where America’s Renters Want to Move Next

    A new report that tracks apartment searches between U.S. cities reveals the moving aspirations of a certain set of renters.

  2. a photo of yellow vest protesters in Paris, France.
    Equity

    To Understand American Political Anger, Look to ‘Peripheral France’

    French geographer Christophe Guilluy has a controversial diagnosis of working-class resentment in the age of Trump, Brexit, and the Yellow Vests.

  3. A cat lays flat on a bench at a park on the outskirts of Tokyo.
    Life

    Why Don't Americans Use Their Parks at Night?

    Most cities aren’t fond of letting people use parks after dark. But there are good lifestyle, environmental, and safety reasons to reconsider.

  4. A man walks by an abandoned home in Youngstown, Ohio
    Life

    How Some Shrinking Cities Are Still Prospering

    A study finds that some shrinking cities are prosperous areas with smaller, more-educated populations. But they also have greater levels of income inequality.

  5. A rendering of a co-living building in San Jose.
    Life

    The Largest Co-Living Building in the World Is Coming to San Jose

    The startup Starcity plans to build an 800-unit, 18-story “dorm for adults” to help affordably house Silicon Valley’s booming workforce.

×