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The 2016 resolution redux: PAMM’s Franklin Sirmans says the world is recognizing our art scene this year

In our final series of look backs to 2016, we’re revisiting resolutions some of Miami’s leaders in the arts made last year and asking them to make a prediction for 2017.

Franklin Sirmans took over leadership at the Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) in 2014 after almost five years as department head and curator of contemporary art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Last year:

“Miami’s art scene is vibrant and exciting. I think it’s maturing and it’s amazing right now.”

This year:

Even more so. We’re close to the Institute of Contemporary Art opening. It’s been doing great shows. We’re closer to the Bass Museum coming back online … Reading back over what we talked about last year, I realize I was saying all the silly stuff you say when you first move somewhere. I was being a booster for somewhere you don’t even know yet which can be kind of blind, but well intended.

Now it’s not just us recognizing it, but the world recognizing it. We have institutions that are being talked about around the world. In 2017, we’ll be hosting the Association of American Museum Directors next month. I think that’s a great recognition of what’s happening in the art scene in this city, it’s an amazing time.

Last year:

“We’re a very young city — we’re talking about a short history in terms of art collecting. So the levels of support could be better as the city, and as the residents and leaders, become more accustomed to a different level of civic responsibility.”

This year:

I think it’s happening. It takes time to measure the growth of a city. For PAMM we had a huge gift from one of our biggest benefactors (Jorge Pérez, who the museum is named after) who announced $15 million in the next few weeks…With ICA, the Bass, YoungArts, and FIU, we’re growing in a lot of different ways. The county is becoming a part of the cultural life and that wasn’t always there.

Last year:

“I also think that by the end of this year we’ll have the Frost Museum of Science by our side, so PAMM will continue to evolve and transform in a way that will be visible even as soon as the next 11 months.”

The Frost is still under construction. What do you say to that now looking back?

This year:

How can you answer that, haha? I don’t know. We’re certainly closer and it’s going to be a boon. I go by every day and it’s going to be interesting to see the ways in which the Museum of Science functions next door to an Arts organization across the street from a performing arts center. When you put all of those things together it allows for everyone to have an opportunity to be enriched by culture.

What’s one prediction you have for 2017?

I’ve talked a lot about institutions and what you’re going to see is the voices of our artists brought to bear in a much more celebrated way. They’ve been here and doing it, but it’ll be much more of a conversation in the new year – not only we as institutions but also as people.

You can read his 2016 resolutions here.