Real estate developer Jorge Pérez proved he’s not done supporting Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) at the institution’s annual gala on Nov. 11. The billionaire, who has donated $35 million to PAMM over the years, took to the lectern at the recent fundraising event to announce his plans to give an additional $25 million to what is officially the Jorge M. Pérez Art Museum of Miami-Dade County.
“I’ve always believed that no city is truly great without a world-class art museum,” he said in a statement. “Our entire family is in awe of how far this incredible institution has come, and we are proud to be in a position to help it fuel its mission of deepening South Florida’s artistic and cultural offerings.”
The CEO of Miami-based real estate company the Related Group, Pérez has funneled much of his $1.7 billion fortune toward the city’s art scene. In 2011, he gave $20 million in cash and $15 million in Latin American artwork to the institution, then known as the Miami Art Museum. The museum subsequently renamed itself in recognition of his gift—a move that drew controversy and saw four board members quit in protest.
The real estate developer continued to support PAMM, giving an additional $10 million in cash and $5 million in artwork in 2016. He has also pledged his entire collection, which includes works by artists like Ai Weiwei and Kiki Smith, to the institution upon his death. To house his significant holdings of artwork, Pérez has since opened a new private museum in Miami known as El Espacio 23.
Pérez and his wife Darlene were both honored at PAMM’s Art of the Party fundraiser. “We are so grateful for Jorge and Darlene’s generosity toward PAMM throughout the years—including this monumental gift—and for their dedication to Miami’s creative community as a whole,” said Franklin Sirmans, the museum’s director, in a statement.
The tenth annual Art of the Party gala for PAMM raised more than $2 million for the museum’s arts education initiatives and broader programming. Attended by artists, philanthropists and art patrons, it was co-chaired by developers Craig Robins and Jackie Soffer and Miami philanthropists Dorothy and Aaron Podhurst, the latter of whom is also PAMM’s chairman.
Christopher Cozier was awarded the Pérez Prize
Pérez’s donation wasn’t the only major announcement of the night. The Art of the Party also saw artist Christopher Cozier receive the Pérez Prize, an unrestricted gift of $50,000 funded by Pérez and previously awarded to Rafa Esparza, María Magdalena Campos-Pons, Daniel Lind-Ramos and Christina Quarles.
The Trinidad-based Cozier uses mediums like drawing, printmaking and sound to explore relationships between the Caribbean and its colonial past. His work has been previously exhibited at institutions like the Brooklyn Museum, Tate Liverpool and Museum of Latin American Art and the Berlin and Liverpool biennials.
Reading like a who’s who of Miami’s cultural scene, the PAMM gala was co-chaired by Sarah Arison, president of the grantmaking Arison Arts Foundation and a board member at institutions including the Museum of Modern Art and Lincoln Center. Singer Radmila Lolly and former PAMM trustee Alexa Wolman stopped by the event, as did Wayne Chaplin, CEO of Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits, and Brynne Rojas, co-founder of tech startup Habi. Daniella Levine Cava, mayor of Miami-Dade County, made an appearance alongside former Miami mayor Tomas Regalado.