Art Basel will strengthen its dominance in the art world with a new initiative that will allow the Swiss fair giant to have a presence outside of its current locations. Fair organisers said the new initiative, called Art Basel Cities, was not being created just to tap into the China market. They said the initiative featuring a star-studded line-up of advisers was a global partnership with cities from around the world that had a burning desire to cultivate their local cultural and artistic scenes, which would also drive local economic development. Art Basel Hong Kong sees off fears of art market slump, to relief of galleries Marc Spiegler, director of Art Basel, said the Swiss art fair had been approached by many cities from a government to an institutional level that wanted its presence locally. But fair organisers were determined not to stage a new fair outside of its current locations in Basel in Switzerland, Miami Beach in the US and Hong Kong, he said. “They said they wanted a fair but what they really wanted was cultural development. That’s something we can contribute without having to bring the fair there,” Spiegler told the South China Morning Post . Spiegler denied suggestions that the new initiative was a response to demands from some mainland cities to stage fairs there. “This is a global initiative. This is not a China play,” he said. Art Basel is not just the world’s largest art fair but also an economic driver. The fair said it brought an estimated US$500 million to Miami Beach when the week-long show was held there. Hong Kong is also experiencing a new level of art market boom since the fair landed in the city four years ago. The initiative will be led by Patrick Foret, the fair’s director of business initiatives, together with an advisory board made up of some of the world’s biggest cultural leaders, including architect Jacques Herzog, former M+ executive director Lars Nittve, Swiss collector Uli Sigg, Hong Kong architect and collector William Lim and Richard Florida, author of Rise of the Creative Class . 7 things you wanted to know about Art Basel but were too afraid to ask Spiegler said once a city was identified as a potential partner, a consultative process and an audit of the city’s cultural assets, infrastructure and resources would take place. The audit will be conducted by Florida’s advisory firm, The Creative Class Group. The team would work with the city – whether at a government or public-private level – to develop strategies and long-term goals before formulating programmes, he said. Spiegler said programmes could range from the development of a gallery district to arts education or residency programmes for young artists. “We are not going to parachute in a bunch of international art stars,” he said. Foret said these programmes would then be brought to Art Basel shows. “We want to give cities more recognition and give cities more expertise ... It’s a transfer of intelligence and knowledge,” he said. But Spiegler stressed that the move would not make Art Basel a consulting agency. “This is a partnership. We only go to places that are going to succeed,” he said.