MOCA Hosts Mystery Dates With Miami's Emerging Private Art Collectors, and You're Invited

Categories: Art
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Becoming an art collector isn't as easy as laying down a couple hundred grand. Money fulfills only the base requirement, aka the finances to acquire art. But to become a big fish and make a name for yourself as a real connoisseur, you need to hone your artistic eye, learn the language of the visual aesthetic, and come to appreciate more about art than the six-figure price tag.

In an effort to introduce young professionals to the world of art collecting, the Museum of Contemporary Art will host its sixth annual Mystery Dates night this Saturday. The event, intended to introduce new collectors to emerging ones, has a lovely twist: Each attendee will be invited to the personal residence of one of 17 participating art collectors for a dinner party and house tour.

"We're trying to help people feel comfortable with being collectors and living with art," Valerie Ricordi said. "And what better way to do that than to show how other people do that."

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The night will begin with a cocktail party at MOCA in North Miami. Attendees arrive still in the dark about where they'll be dining that night. At the doors of MOCA, each guest will be handed an envelope which will announce their host for the evening. For the next two hours, they'll mingle and drink cocktails, and bid on silent auction items and experience packages, before heading out for their mystery dinner party.

Mystery Dates grew out of Enchanted Evenings, another fundraising effort for local art collectors, where the nightly ticket was $1,000. The cost, too expensive for young professionals, ensured that the event was usually attended exclusively by the super wealthy. Bonnie Clearwater, MOCA's Director and Chief Curator, wanted young people to have a similar event aimed at their level of experience in art collecting, as well as their pay grade. So she launched Mystery Dates in 2006.

In the beginning, Clearwater recalls with laughter, the title "Mystery Dates" confused some people who thought the event might be a blind dating service. But she does admit that some still try to use the event as a love connection. Sometimes, she explained, wealthy patrons of the museum buy Mystery Dates tickets for their single adult children, then call Clearwater to give her the lowdown on their kids and ask if she can, maybe, send them to the same dinner so they have the chance to hit it off. That's not the purpose of the evening, but she kindly obliges.

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Museum of Contemporary Art

770 NE 125th St., North Miami, FL

Category: General

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