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Miami Art Museum Gets $35 Million Donation, New Name

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Miami developer Jorge Perez has jumped into the ranks of Miami’s biggest public givers, by pledging to donate $35 million in cash and art to the art museum which will now bear his name. The donation will be used to help build the new museum, set to open in Bayfront Park in 2013.

The Miami Art Museum will be called the Jorge M. Perez Art Museum of Miami-Dade County, in gratitude for the donation, which will be spread over 10 years time and will include the donation of art from Perez’s extensive collection of Latin-American art.

The donation brings to $167 million the money raised for the museum’s new building, which also includes $100 million in county bond funds.

“We are done raising money now for this physical building,” museum director Thom Collins told CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald. “That means we’re going to move in on time and probably a little under budget, and that is an amazing thing.”

Perez, who say difficult times in the last few years for his firm The Related Group, did not want to speak about the donation Thursday, but issued a statement through the Museum.

“My hope is that the collection I am donating to the museum, along with the gift for the museum’s new building campaign, will enhance its role as a place where locals and visitors come together to experience an expansive collection of contemporary art, including our community’s finest works, and become educated in the global visual arts,” Perez said in the statement.

The donation ranks Perez in the stratosphere of Miami’s big givers. In 2008, Adrienne Arsht donated $30 million to what was then the Carnival Center for the Performing Arts. The center was re-christened in Arsht’s name. But topping the list of big givers is the family of Leonard Miller, the former President and CEO of Lennar, a major South Florida builder. They donated $100 million to the University of Miami Medical School in 2004, and the school was renamed in his honor. That was the second largest gift given to a university in Florida.

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