Miami Has Matured into a Cultural Capital. What Now?

“The pace at which it all occurred was surprising,” Mr. McGriff said. Though based on his own experience, he added wryly, “it takes 20 years to be an overnight success.”

At the Emerson Dorsch gallery, which began as a living-room exhibition space inside its founder’s walk-up apartment, and now occupies a customized warehouse in the Little Haiti neighborhood, business is booming. The gallery’s director, Ibett Yanez del Castillo, said the pandemic’s surge of moneyed new Florida residents had brought “new eyes and new collections, it’s definitely given us a fresh sense of energy.”

Yet her phone calls from young artists are no longer from New Yorkers curious about relocating south. Instead, they are from the gallery’s own stable of local talents who are anguished over whether they’ll be able to remain in Miami.

“There’s been this push for welcoming a new tax bracket,” she said of Miami’s city officials, “and that’s definitely making it difficult for the working class.”

There have been calls from several corners of the local art world for a new focus on housing. The nonprofit Oolite Arts added a housing stipend to its core studio residency program, hoping to set an example, while the art collector and real estate developer Craig Robins (who was a key force in bringing Basel to Miami), said in an interview that affordable rentals weren’t enough.

“The great thing political leaders can and should do is put financing behind ownership projects,” he insisted. So far though, like the plans to address the sea level rise that threatens to submerge much of the coastal area in a matter of decades, there’s little agreement on — or funding for — a comprehensive program.

“I feel like we’re on the cusp,” Ms. Friedman, the artist, said. “Miami’s notoriously immature, but its art scene is no longer the new kid on the block. So what’s it going to do now as it hits middle age? Well, it’s Miami, so it’s going to go to the gym, get a face lift and buy a fancy car. And then maybe find a moment to reflect. Maybe.