VIP opening held at Miami Beach Convention Center to kick off Art Basel

About 70,000 people to attend this year's galleries


MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – Hundreds of people got their first look Wednesday at this year's Art Basel event at a VIP opening at the Miami Beach Convention Center.

There will be more than 200 galleries shown at the annual Art Basel at locations in Miami Beach and Miami's Wynwood area.

"I look forward to this every year, and this is just fantastic for our community and for art lovers," one Art Basel visitor, Candice Kramer, said.

This marks the 15th year that Art Basel has been held in the Miami area, and it has grown immensely, putting Miami and Miami Beach on the map as a cultural art hub.

"You will find nearly 270 of the best art galleries in the world, (and) 50 percent of those come from North and South America," Art Basel Director Marc Spiegler said.

About 70,000 visitors are expected to visit the galleries this year.

"It's a tremendous opportunity to see so many galleries from all around the world, so many artists -- artists you know hopefully -- some that you don't," art curator Caitlin Doherty said.

Spiegler said he doesn't believe that the Zika virus outbreak will be a problem for the event.

"Obviously, a small segment of the art world, women who are planning to have children or hoping to have children in the very near future, have decided for obvious reasons that they might not want to come this year," Spiegler said. "But in reality, the VIP registrations have been the same as they've been in the past. No gallery has canceled, no museum group has canceled. We have more than 150 museum groups coming this year, so we're expecting a very, very strong show."