By Lisa Petrillo

MIAMI (CBSMiami) — The coronavirus pandemic has claimed another major South Florida festival as Art Basel Miami Beach announces its 2020 edition has been canceled.

“It was with a heavy heart that we had to announce today that we were no longer able to proceed with Art Basel Miami Beach this December,” said Art Basel’s Director Americas Noah Horowitz. “When we looked at the full spectrum of issues pertaining to the fair from travel restrictions to operations limitations, it just became too much for us to take on  so we made the decision to ultimately call off the fair today.”

Art lovers from around the world attend the annual art fair and its spin off art shows which leads to a financial boost for South Florida.  However, the cancellation delivers another economic blow to area hotels, restaurants, stores and other venues which are already suffering amid pandemic closures which made the decision all the more difficult.

“I know the city administration has been on record in the past to say, it has hundreds of millions of dollars of economic impact on Art Basel Miami’s contribution to the local economy,” Horowitz explained. “So we are fully cognizant of that and again with a very hard heavy heart we have to make this decision. We also recognize its impacts on all the local restaurants hotels and businesses beyond the the art world.”

Art dealers and galleries around the world and here in South Florida will be impacted by the Miami Beach cancellation.

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Fredric Snitzer Gallery has been a leader of the contemporary art market in South Florida for over 40 years and has participated in Art Basel since the first year.

“It’s clearly disappointing, but clearly I think there’s no way it  could’ve happened safely,” said Frederic Snitzer. “It’s a tremendous loss. I think to have an international audience come to Miami and have international dealers and no artists and materials not  to come, it’s just another problematic thing of our time.”

Also canceled this year is Art Basel Switzerland and Hong Kong.

Like many events this year, Art Basel will be using its digital platforms and remains committed to supporting the global gallery community in the best way possible with on line viewing rooms.

“So we are innovating and trying to keep our clients engaged keep collectors collecting and get great art out in the world,” Horowitz said.

“The art world is strong. It is connected and essentially the most humanistic thing we’ve got and humanity is clearly what we’re all trying to fight for,” said Snitzer.

The next edition of Art Basel Miami Beach will take place from December 2 to December 5, 2021, with preview days on December 1 and December 2, 2021.

Lisa Petrillo