Written By Karen-Janine Cohen
June 1, 2023 at 4:57 PM

Noted writer Halima Taha to speak at The Betsy on Friday, June 2, 2023. Image courtesy Diaspora Vibe Cultural Arts Incubator.

Halima Taha, a leading voice on African American Art, will be welcomed as a writer in residence at The Betsy South Beach, which is marking the 10th anniversary of the Betsy Writer’s Room program. Taha will be at the hotel for about a week in early June.

Taha, author of “Collecting African American Art: Works on Paper and Canvas,” will give a public talk and invite conversation on the evening of June 2. The event, where Taha will be introduced by Betsy co-owner and arts curator Lesley Goldwasser, is in partnership with Diaspora Vibe Cultural Arts Incubator, or DVCAI, which, in concert with The Betsy, bi-annually hosts those who study, advocate and support Latin and Caribbean diaspora art and artists.

Taha, whose seminal book first came out in 1998 and was re-issued in 2005, is also founder and principal of taha thinks, a consultancy firm that advises collectors and museums on art acquisitions. The firm also offers research, curatorial and appraisal services.

Taha is widely credited with educating both academic and art collectors about the variety and value of African American art. Her writings have become key resources for collectors, dealers, museums and galleries, as the market and valuation for African American art continues to expand.

Taha graduated with a BA from Sarah Lawrence College, then earned a master’s degree in arts management and cultural policy at New York University.

Rosie Gordon Wallace, founder, president and curator of DVCAI, said Taha is a long-time friend and she has been trying for years to find a way to bring Taha to Miami. “I have known her for 20 years, and have watched and admired her work,” Gordon Wallace said, noting that she has partnered with The Betsy for several years to bring a variety of writers and artists to the hotel – though they did have to take a break during Covid.

Finally, the stars aligned, and she was able to entice Taha to South Florida. Gordon Wallace noted that Taha, a pioneer in appraising, cataloging and showcasing African American art, has seen the upward career trajectories of artists she has known from their beginnings.

The Betsy Writer’s Room is celebrating its 10th year anniversary this June. Image courtesy The Betsy Hotel.

The artist residency at The Betsy Writer’s Room is a chance for writers to embrace solitude and enjoy time for reflection and writing, away from everyday cares and obligations. According to its website, The Betsy has hosted more than 1,000 writers, intellectuals and academics.

The Betsy says it is committed to preserving a tradition that was once widespread – the existence of a writing room as a key feature of genteel, pre-war hotels. Through its program, The Betsy Writer’s Room maintains that custom while giving emerging and established writers, artists and others an opportunity to unwind and focus in one of the country’s most desirable destinations.

Diaspora Vibe Cultural Arts Incubator offers artist-in-residence programs, exhibitions and other opportunities to artists and art from diverse Caribbean and Latin American diaspora cultures.

WHAT: Meet the Author: Halima Taha
WHEN: Friday, June 2, 2023, 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.
WHERE: The Betsy Hotel, 440 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach, FL, 33139
COST: Free; reservations requested
INFORMATION: 305-531-6100 is a nonprofit source of dance, visual arts, music and performing arts news. Sign up for our newsletter and never miss a story.

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