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Cristina Salmastrelli: PULSE’s New Director Offers Calm in the Palms

Katy Donoghue

5 December 2019

The 2019 edition of PULSE Art Fair marks not only 15 years in Miami, but a first under the new leadership of director Cristina Salmastrelli. Involved with PULSE since 2011, she’s offering fairgoers in Miami a respite amid the chaotic week— whether it be a reinvigorating view of the beach or a catnap in a hammock in its new Wellness Lounge. Whitewaller heard from Salmastrelli about creating “The Calm in the Palms.”

WHITEWALLER: PULSE celebrates its 15th anniversary this year. What does this milestone mean for the fair?

Photo by Samuel Sachs Morgan

CRISTINA SALMASTRELLI: We were one of the very first fairs to come and join Art Basel in Miami Beach 15 years ago, and this milestone allows us to reflect on the many ways PULSE has helped shape this all-important week and reinforces our commitment to the Miami community.

The city of Miami has given PULSE room to grow, evolve, develop, and blossom. Without the city’s support, we could not be providing all that we can for our exhibitors, partners, and visitors. That is why we are making a concerted effort to give back to the city during our 15th-anniversary edition. One way that you will see our thanks is by organizing a beach cleanup over the weekend of the fair. We want to make sure we leave Miami even better than we found it.

Courtesy of PULSE Art Fair

WW: How did you arrive at this year’s theme, “The Calm in the Palms”?

CS: With over 25 fairs happening in Miami at the beginning of December, it’s essential for me to create a calm and welcoming atmosphere for my visitors. It’s a hectic week and a stressful one, so PULSE is here to help to relax the mind so that the eye can actually ingest the beautiful art we are presenting. Whether it’s through our onsite restaurant catered by the Eden Roc Hotel group or in our Wellness Lounge lying in hammocks, I will revive and reinvigorate my visitors for the many inspiring artworks and activations we have to offer!

Courtesy of PULSE Art Fair

WW: Tell us about why you wanted to introduce a wellness lounge to PULSE this year.

CS: I must always be learning. It’s so very important to keep swallowing knowledge and digesting new theories, ideas, and facts in our adulthood, and, since becoming a mother, I realized that learning about oneself is vital. That is one of the reasons why I wanted to incorporate wellness into the fair. Self- enrichment in all ways is important to creating a strong experience and connecting more with all visual arts. If your mind and body are not healthy, you will not reap all the benefits that art can give you. That is why I like to call the 15th edition of PULSE an experience. We are more than an art fair.

Courtesy of PULSE Art Fair

WW: Can you tell us about what we can expect from the new programming series, PULSE Perspectivos?

CS: Another way that we are trying to connect more with the local audience and try and give back to the city we are so thankful for housing us is to offer daily programming in both English and in Spanish. Having discussions on current topics the art world is facing in two languages helps incorporate more opinions and allows the audience to understand any discussion in a more impactful way. I am excited to see what comes out of it!



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