Franklin Sirmans: PAMM is growing and Miami art scene is growing with us

For Art Basel Miami's 20th birthday and Miami Art Week 2022, we have interviewed some of the Magic City's most prominent cultural figures. We asked Franklin Sirmans to tell us about how Miami is evolving and what not to miss out on in town.
by Mara Sartore
November 25, 2022
Mara Sartore
Franklin Sirmans

Can you tell us about your work as director of Pérez Art Museum Miami and your future projects?

I’ve been In Pérez Art Museum Miami for 7 years now and get to work with some incredible people in different capacities of running the museum from VSA’s and shop staff to the senior leadership team. My work is balanced between working with the staff and the generous board of trustees. It’s fun. Challenging at times and exhilarating at times.


Perez Art Museum, Miami east facade. Photo credits: Daniel Azoulay.

Miami and Miami Beach, since the creation of Art Basel, has become more and more an important center for contemporary art, a destination for established artists, and a breeding ground for cultural innovation. How would you describe your relationship with the city? What does working in this environment mean to you?

I’ve been blessed to be in this position at a moment in time that has been one of great growth in our sector. From new museums joining us in the conversation to the incredible reckoning of covid to the incredible growth coming out of covid. The city is growing and we are growing with it. Like so many museums we want to be the best supporters of our artists on the ground, in our community, and those who live and work in South Florida but we are also here to showcase the depth of international contemporary art from around the world. While we have enlisted our artists on a daily basis as teaching artists and educators we can always do more to provide the spotlight they deserve. And, now is the time because I do agree that we have a lot of serious, ambitious, and innovative artists working here right now. That will be meaningful. As someone who was not born here but has spent more time living and working here than anywhere else in my career, I am happy to play some role in making art more of a part of people’s everyday lives. We are blessed to have two mayors (Daniella Levine Cava and Francis Suarez) at the county and city-level who help us make that a reality and we try to help them. When that happens something is working really well.

Let’s imagine an itinerary of the city seen through your eyes: what would you choose and what would you suggest to visit among museums, art galleries, and cultural spaces? Is there a particular place among the less known that should receive special attention?

The Little Haiti Cultural Center is a gem. There are so many places but I hope people get to see and experience that, a part of Miami that has something unique to offer that is rapidly gentrifying. Also, Miami has more private collection spaces than most cities and I would highly recommend a visit to our familial partner organization El Espacio 23, with a massive new show on Cuban Art. There’s also great work to be seen at the De La Cruz Collection in the Design District, the Margulies Collection at the Warehouse in Wynwood and the Rubell in Allapattah.

Jared McGriff, They Become the Depths Between Them, 2021. On view at Rubell Museum.

Finally, we’d like to know what places in Miami and Miami Beach you would recommend to our readers: what are your go-to places to meet friends, favorite restaurants, and bars?

Boia de, the quaint and warm Michelin star restaurant in a supermarket plaza at 52nd and NE 2nd avenue. And, Paradis Books & Bread, the part-bookstore, wine bar, and bakery with nothing but good vibes always. … These two are too good. And, don’t miss Red Rooster Overtown for the party, the fun, and the music to go along with the great food, American southeast soul with Miami flourish.

Keep up to date with My Art Guides
Sign up to our newsletter and stay in the know with all worldwide contemporary art events