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Four Collectors Reveal What Makes Miami Tick Ahead of the City's Art Week

Tara and Jack Benmeleh

Tara Benmeleh is the founder of lifestyle brand Espiritútara, which produces jewelry and teaware alongside offerings of experiential tea ceremonies and other healing rituals. She met her husband, Jack Benmeleh—the founder of Benmeleh Law, specializing in art law—at the Bass Museum. Shortly thereafter, the two arranged their first date at the Pérez Art Museum Miami, and as their relationship grew, so too did their investment in the Miami art scene.

What do you think makes the Miami art scene unique?

Tara Benmeleh: It’s approachable. The Miami art scene is relatively small and as a result it’s easy to get involved in museums, attend gallery openings, and meet local artists who often will open their studios to visit and connect.

Which work provokes the most conversation from visitors?

Jack Benmeleh: Disease Thrower #1 by Guadalupe Maravilla. It’s a healing sculpture designed to extract disease and harmonize the frequencies of the body. It has a functional gong which we often play for guests and during Kundalini classes Tara hosts weekly.

What was the most challenging piece in your personal collection to acquire?

Tara: A work by Donna Huanca, which arrived just in time for Miami art week. We have been wanting to acquire one for almost 10 years. However, we could not agree on the right work. Earlier this year, while in Mexico, we finally found the one. It’s so big and so beautiful.

What is your earliest memory of Art Basel Miami Beach?

Tara: Before collecting, I remember being excited about the quality of visitors in Miami. I had deep and meaningful conversations and met interesting people. Once we started collecting, we would go to the convention center right as it opened and all of the work we liked was already spoken for. We later realized that once you have a relationship with a gallery, you get previews of the work and have access in advance.

Jack: All the amazing parties… and probably number one in my book was the Prada Double Club by Carsten Höller at the Ice Palace.

Do you have a memorable ABMB purchase?

Jack: A few years ago we acquired our first Josh Smith “Reaper.” Maybe that same year, Tara purchased a fabulous Carla Fernández jumpsuit at Design Miami, which she still is in love with.

Who or what do you have your eyes on for this year's ABMB?

Tara: Alejandro Piñeiro Bello at KDR305 and the Rubell Museum.