Art Basel Miami Beach, which begins on Wednesday, has become an art fair with a Las Vegas feel, giving visitors an opportunity to do business and enjoy the nightlife while rubbing elbows with celebrities.

The private parties organized by fashion houses, luxury goods makers and the rich have not pushed out the art world, establishing, instead, links to it.

Art Basel Miami Beach has become the most important art event in the Americas, but what few foresaw back in 2001, when the first edition was held, was the emergence of scores of "satellite fairs" that offer parties, dinners and club events, and outdoor events, with restaurants and hotels entertaining art lovers.

The fair will feature 250 galleries from 31 countries this year, showcasing the work of about 2,000 artists from the 20th and 21st centuries.

Art Basel has increasingly spread into all forms of artistic expression and experiences, such as the screening of films outdoors, talks and other events.

The Miami Beach Convention Center will once again be the main exhibition site, with other locations being used for outdoor sculptures and other works.

More than 50,000 people, the majority of them tourists, are expected to visit Art Basel Miami Beach, an affiliate of the main fair in Basel, Switzerland, and the various events being staged, organizers said. EFE