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ExplorE thE Arts Meet the Lesters the Power CouPLe that reinvented the art Market By SuSana Baker As the host of ARTTALK, I’ve had the pleasure of meet- Grand Luxe, remains dockside during each event and ing and interviewing some greats in the art world. But on pairs international fine art, jewelry and collectables with Tuesday, January 15, I got to meet my true heroine and harbor-view dining and special events in cities along the the reason I chose the art industry as my career and now eastern seaboard. my life — Lee Ann Lester. “We really felt that there was a need in the marketplace Soft-spoken, poised and elegant, Lee Ann entered the for a human-sized fair. Most people only have a couple of studio and I was star-struck by this iconic figure who hours in their schedule, so we combined the best of the along with her husband, David Lester, revolutionized art of living, which is art, music, fine food, wine and liquor, the art industry and market forever. It all started in 1975 and great views,” says Lee Ann. when Lee Ann, an industrial psychologist, and David, a lawyer, opened their first art gallery in California. Later in Ultimately, SeaFair brings small fine art fairs to under- the 1990s, they took their love of art to the next level and served, highly affluent neighborhoods as part of the Lest- began organizing international art fairs. Since then, the ers’ commitment to bring art to the community, and bring couple has organized more than 80 major international the community back to art. fairs from Hong Kong to New York. For more information on the Lesters’ art fairs, visit www. True pioneers of the Florida art fair market, the Lesters are ifae.com. To learn about VIP reception and art tours on the responsible for establishing a number of fairs including: Seafair followed by a 3-course dinner, call 305.767.5000 Miami International Art Fair; The International Contem- or visit www.theartexperiences.com. porary Jewelry Fair; Miami Art + Design; Art Miami (pur- chased by Advanstar Communications in 1998); the Palm Beach International Art & Antique Fair (now Palm Beach Photo Courtesy of Zach Frailey Art + Design) and Artpalmbeach (both sold to DMG World Media but later re-acquired by the Lesters in 2008); the Naples International Art & Antique Fair; Art Naples; and Art Sarasotain. There’s only one thing the Lesters aren’t good at: retiring. When the couple initially sold their art fairs in 2001 for the sum of $18 million, they planned on sailing off into retire- ment on their yacht. But that didn’t last long. “Entertaining a number of our art dealer friends, we would Susana Baker is a resident of Dade County and a mother go into these beautiful historic ports and I said, wouldn’t of two, Alex and Chantal. For an all-inclusive art tour with a it be great to just sit right here are sell art? And doesn’t private Curator/Guide, call Susana Baker at 305.767.5000 everybody just love to come to the water every single or visit www.theartexperiences.com. To learn about art day? And so, our dream came true by designing a fabu- happenings in town, tune in to 880AM The Biz every Tues- lous vessel which does nothing more than go city to city day at 11:30 a.m. for ARTTALK, Susana’s segment which putting on incredible fairs,” says Lee Ann. brings you “From the Canvas to the Red Carpet.” You can also listen live at www.880thebiz.com. This was the beginning of SeaFair, the world’s first mo- bile megayacht venue. The $40 million, 228-foot vessel, 92 march/april 2013 southfloridaluxuryguide.com


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