Point of View

Happy 50th Anniversary, Lincoln Center!
May 18, 2009, 6:39 pm
Filed under: Lincoln Center

Last week the New York Philharmonic played Aaron Copland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man” for Lincoln Center’s 50th anniversary, the piece Leonard Bernstein conducted at the center’s 1959 groundbreaking. As Lincoln Center begins its 50th-anniversay celebrations and the Adrienne Arsht Center looks ahead towards its 5th, the Center staff is taking a poignant moment to pause—to celebrate Lincoln Center’s tremendous achievements while simultaneously considering the mission and future of the Adrienne Arsht Center.  With groundbreakings separated by more than four decades, the similarities of the two institutions are quite striking.  Both were ambitious construction projects led by a consortium of civic leaders; and both present the greatest artists and finest productions from around the world. Like the Adrienne Arsht Center, Lincoln Center has critically acclaimed resident companies, three of which—the New York Philharmonic, American Ballet Theatre, and the Jazz Orchestra of Lincoln Center led by Wynton Marsalis—have given us some of the finest evenings of music and dance to grace our own Adrienne Arsht Center stages. Perhaps most importantly, both centers are passionate about creating access to the arts for all segments of their communities and making performances and arts education programs as available to as wide an audience as possible.

duskshot w-car

Lincoln Center has had local, regional, national and worldwide impact as millions of people have been beneficiaries of what was thought to be a high risk experiment in 1959.  In many ways, it has served as a model for the Kennedy Center, Los Angeles Music Center, the Adrienne Arsht Center, and virtually every other performing arts complex built in this country in the last five decades. As a catalyst for urban renewal it played a significant role in reviving New York’s Upper West Side neighborhood much like the Adrienne Arsht Center serves as a catalyst for driving new commercial, residential and retail business to Miami-Dade County’s Omni neighborhood.  More than one billion dollars has been invested in the surrounding area since construction of the Adrienne Arsht Center began.

Like Lincoln Center, the Adrienne Arsht Center’s long dream is still unfolding. Last month the Adrienne Arsht Center celebrated its one-millionth patron and according to projections, nearly 500,000 patrons will attend events at the Center next season.  Both Lincoln Center and the Adrienne Arsht Center have proven that performing arts centers can serve as an anchor for neighborhood revitalization and that the arts community and its artists are a vital part of the every community’s economy.  This is true nationwide and here in Miami-Dade County where more than 23,000 people are employed by arts organizations. 

Continued public and private sector support is needed to help Miami continue its emergence as one of the world’s most dynamic arts destinations. The Miami-Dade County Mayor and Commissioners understand this first hand; they have been very supportive by making a substantial financial investment in the Adrienne Arsht Center and have, in turn, realized a healthy return on that investment in the form of job creation, urban revitalization, and most importantly, an extraordinary degree of community building.


1 Comment so far
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Yes, we are all very proud of the long-overdue AA Center (for Adrienne, not American Airlines), but we still have a long ways to go, beginning with some local elected officials that think this is a “luxury” we, as a community, can ill afford. The performing arts are for all. Community outreach, a la Cleveland Orchestra, is one way to get the community excited about cultural affairs and performances. I salute all of us for the AA Center!!

Comment by Mario G Garcia

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