Art Basel Miami Beach, the “most important art fair in the Americas” and weeklong series of lavish parties and networking events, officially got underway on Thursday at the Miami Beach Convention Center, with many of the world’s most influential art dealers, curators, collectors and aficionados in attendance, along with A-list celebrities from the world of film, television, music, sports and fashion.

For many of us here at The Agency, Art Basel Miami Beach is an annual tradition, and this year is no exception with several members of our team, including Brendan Fitzpatrick, Paul Lester and Farrah Aldjufrie, there for the modern and contemporary arts fair where 6 and 7-figure art sales are the norm. We had the chance to catch up with Farrah before she headed off to Miami to get her insights on Art Basel Miami Beach, including why it’s an event that should be on the “must-attend” list of every agent serving the luxury market.

The Agency Blog: How many times have you attended Art Basel Miami Beach and what has you going back?

Farrah:  This will be my 3rd year attending. I go every year with my cousins and it’s become a sort of tradition now. You’re guaranteed a great time if you know where to go and what to do.

For the uninitiated, how would you sum up the Art Basel Miami Beach experience.

F:  The Art Basel experience is the best hybrid of work and play in a vacation environment. During the day you can explore the art exhibits and see some of the most amazing art that’s out there. Even if you don’t know much about art, you can definitely appreciate and enjoy it. At night with such an array of high-end events to choose from– and if you’re lucky enough to score invites– there’s an opportunity to see what’s going on in art and fashion, and to meet tons of people in luxury industries from all over the world. The crowd during Art Basel is known to be very upscale because there are lots of high powered fashion and art execs, and so many of their clients there as well.

What’s your advice to someone attending Art Basel Miami Beach for the first time? How should they approach it?

F:  If you’re attending Art Basel for the first time, you definitely want to use your connections to make sure you can get into the events that you want to go to. They’re all very exclusive and you pretty much have to “know” somebody to gain access. You also should definitely make a point to check out the art shows, which is what it’s all about!

It seems a lot of agents at The Agency make it a point to attend Art Basel. Would you say it’s a popular event among real estate agents in general who work in the luxury market? If so why do you think that is?

F:  I think anyone in the luxury market would be smart to attend Art Basel and act as ambassadors for their respective companies, especially real estate agents. Everywhere you go you’re sure to cross paths with tastemakers from all different industries. Not to mention the consumers that are actually buying art worth hundreds of thousands of dollars or more. This is the type of place you want to be networking so that you can meet these people and perhaps capture them as a client.

So it’s an ideal setting for networking/meeting with existing or potential clients?

F:  It’s a great setting also to mingle with existing clients not only to show that you’re traveling out in the field and meeting prospective home buyers from all over the world, but also because it’s a fun moment to share with your clients to see them in a different environment. You also may run into previous clients in which case it’s great venue to reconnect.

Art Basel Miami Beach is billed as the most prestigious art show in the Americas. In your opinion what makes Miami ideally suited for hosting an event like this, over say New York or LA?

F:  Well New York is dubbed the Mecca of fashion, and L.A. is known for Hollywood and movie making, so it would make sense that Miami be a perfect host for the art world!

For a great daily guide to Art Basel Miami Beach 2012, be sure to check out Papermag.com’s daily Mega Guide. Also, be sure to follow @FarrahBritt on Twitter and Instagram for updates and photos.