Robert Indiana’s “Art” – Photo by Pigalle

On yesterday’s show (listen here) we talked about starving artists, Art Basel and how creative work suffers in an economic downturn. We were inspired after the show to put together a “when you’re broke” guide to Art Basel, Miami’s international art fair, going on right now. Yes, there are VIP events for the mega rich. But there’s also plenty of eye-candy to treat, challenge and inspire the 99%, too. Just make sure you say Basel like the city in Switzerland, not the herb in your salad, and you will fit in just fine.

When looking through Art Basel listings, look for public events and “free with RSVP” listings. Many galleries and private collections are open to the public with extended hours to show off  their most ambitious shows of the year. This is not a comprehensive list of everything going on this weekend, so please tell us about more free events you know about in the comments section.

NOT FREE, BUT DISCOUNTED: The main Art Basel fair is at the Miami Beach Convention Center. More than 250 galleries pack up their best, most controversial and eye-catching works and bring them together for an intense, impressive show. General admission is pricey, at $40, but if you go after 4 p.m. there is a reduced rate “evening ticket” for $28. That’s when all the fancy folks are going back to the hotel to change for their parties. For $23, you can get a reduced One-Day Ticket with a student ID or for senior citizens aged 62 and above.

  • FREE: Art PublicTransforming Collins Park with 24 art works. ARTivism Basel: Immigrant Youth DREAM for a Better Florida will be featured at Collins Park!
  • FREE: Art Video Night – Friday night, Saturday night – see link for films and times. Art Video features film and video works by international artists, presented by the galleries of Art Basel Miami Beach. Organized in association with London’s Artprojx, Art Video will be screened for the first time in the SoundScape Park, on the 7,000-square-foot outdoor projection wall of the New World Center. Bring a blanket! Seating is in the park.
  • FREE: Art Film – Friday night, 8:30 p.m. Colony Theatre, 1040 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach. Gerhard Richter Painting (2011) by Corinna Belz. The screening is followed by a Q&A with Corinna Belz. Free public access, but seating is limited.

Many artist studios will feature FREE tours during Art Basel. Two of our favorite non-profit arts organizations, LegalArt and BAC, both mentioned on our 11/30 show are listed — visit their FREE open hours and events.


You may have heard of private collections like the Margulies Collection at the Warehouse, the Rubell Family Collection, the de la Cruz Collection Contemporary Art Space, or the Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation, known as CIFO. These museum-quality private collections are open to the public and FREE during Art Basel. The list of official Art Basel hours of many private collections is here.


  • Occupy Art Basel – Performance pieces scheduled throughout the weekend at Pennsylvania Avenue and 17th Street on South Beach.
  • Occupy and Liberate Art Basel – A full-scale replica of an Umoja Village shanty will be built on Miami Beach at Collins and 21st St. EVENT IS TONIGHT – Thursday, 6pm-10pm honoring community organizations including Take Back the Land, the Miami Workers Center, Fanm Ayisyen nan Miami, (FANM), Student Towards a New Democracy (STAND), Power U, Kijani Collectives & One Miami. It will be on display through Sunday.
  • Shop the Walls Pop Up Shop at Wynwood Walls – You can afford something at Art Basel: t-shirts and prints by Wynwood Wall muralists will be for sale during Art Basel only.
  • Giants in the City – Outdoor sculptures in Bayfront Park, Downtown
  • It Ain’t Fair: Materialism – Presented by OH WOW – Opening TONIGHT (Wednesday) is FREE.
  • NADA Art Fair – The Deauville Beach Resort, 6701 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach. Founded in 2002, New Art Dealers Alliance (NADA) is a not-for-profit collective of professionals working with contemporary art. Don’t miss ADA @ NADA – featuring Miami graffiti artist Jimmy Trotter.
  • INK Miami Art Fair Suites of Dorchester, 1850 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach
  • Art Now Fair Catalina Hotel, 1732 Collins Ave, Miami Beach
  • Cushy 146 NW 37 St, Miami Kreepy Tiki Invades Miami – Featuring work by local Miami graffiti artists 
  • Maor Gallery Friday 12/02, 5pm–7pm “A Taste of Shabbat” at Maor Gallery, just a block from Midtown’s Art Miami Pavilion. Savor traditional Shabbat dishes and a serene Shabbat spirit as you experience Maor’s ON THE EDGE OF LIGHT exhibition, a multi-media group exhibition exploring five artists’ interpretation of different qualities of light. “A Taste of Shabbat” is free and open to the public. Saturday 12/03, 6:30pm – 10pm: Experience a free reception and viewing of ON THE EDGE OF LIGHT at Maor Gallery (3030 NE 2nd Avenue). Free parking.
Check out these Art Basel guides for more ideas. They all list free and low-cost events.

Parking may be your only expense if you are attending Art Basel events on Miami Beach, so this is an easy place to save money. First, if you don’t come to South Beach often, learn a little bit about parking options so you don’t end up paying $20 in a private lot. The cheapest option is to call a friend who lives on South Beach and see if they have any city-issued guest parking pass you can use. Then try city garages, which usually charge $1 per hour, unless they have special event pricing. The closer you are to the Miami Beach Convention Center during Art Basel, the less likely you will find a spot. Leave a little extra time to get there so you don’t waste money on a place to put your car.
South Beach Local – circulates around South Beach for just a quarter a ride!
Free Downtown Shuttle – connecting downtown Miami, Wynwood and Midtown, more details here
Official Art Basel Shuttle Service – leaving from the Miami Beach Convention Center

What are you going to see? Add free events you know about in the comments section.