Point of View

Beyond the Stage: Adrienne Arsht Center is one of the top 5 meeting venues in South Florida
June 30, 2009, 6:38 pm
Filed under: Awards and Recognition

More than 300 performances take place on the Adrienne Arsht Center stage each year –from Broadway musicals and groundbreaking theater to classical music and modern dance. But what most people don’t know is that the Center has hosted another 100 special events with nary a ballerina or musical instrument in sight.

The Center has hosted a medical education seminar and a new car showcase; a fashion show and a Super Bowl sponsor event; national leadership meetings and software application seminars, to name just a few of the many corporate meetings and business events that take place in the complex. With flexible seating plans in our theaters, high-tech presentation capabilities, multiple meeting venues and spaces with beautiful views of downtown Miami, it’s no wonder that the 500 members of the South Florida Chapter of Meeting Planners International recently named the Center one of the top 5 meeting venues.


Following are some of the high-profile activities that have made the Center a favorite among meeting planners:

U.S. Conference of Mayors. In May of 2008, the U.S. Conference of Mayors held their annual summer conference here in Miami. The U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) is the official non-partisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more. Each city is represented in the Conference by its chief elected official – the mayor. Our own mayor, Manny Diaz, is the Conference President and national spokesperson. Mayor Diaz was intent on making Miami shine over those days and chose the Adrienne Arsht Center as the venue to achieve that goal. Guests were seated in the audience chamber of the Ziff Ballet Opera House for a special program which featured a video extolling the grandeur of Miami and a performance by the Goodwill Band. The beautiful Hibiscus curtain, one of the Center’s many art installations, was raised to reveal a banquet dinner for 1,200 – right on the stage!

Autodesk. Autodesk, the leader of 2D and 3D design, engineering and entertainment software hosts a showcase of their newest technology in the Peacock Rehearsal Studio and Carnival Studio Theater. Featuring their own state-of-the-art equipment and software, Autodesk wows customers and garnishes new ones with their yearly presentation at the Center.


Citi’s Latin America Financial Professionals Forum. For Citi, a leading global financial services company with 200 million customer accounts in 140 countries, the Center staff transformed the John S. and James L. Knight Concert Hall into a soccer stadium! Using the festival floor, a temporary floor that covers the orchestra level of the hall, and a highly creative design team, we created a 6,000 square foot event space that was certain to leave an impression with Latin American finance professionals who have seen it all. Capitalizing on the target group’s obsession with soccer, Citi and the Adrienne Arsht Center team incorporated moving lights, blaring music and flowing cocktails for a one-of-a-kind celebration.

Pow Wow. 4,000 travel industry professionals descended on Miami to celebrate the world’s biggest travel trade show and the Adrienne Arsht Center was chosen as the location for the phenomenal closing night event. Performances took place on all of our stages; the lobbies were transformed into a gourmet Candyland created by Barton G.; and Biscayne Boulevard, closed for the evening, and the outdoor Thomson Plaza became a dance floor where thousands of travel professionals enjoyed Miami’s warmth and live music.


Letter & Sciences. Letters & Sciences, a company that specializes in continuing medical education, has selected the Center again and again as the venue for its seminars. The learning portion of the meeting is all business and includes classroom seating for 300 guests, dual projection and additional audio-visual support. The meals and breaks, however, take place in beautiful lobbies flooded with natural light and sweeping architectural lines, and offering medical professionals a chance to network outside of the hospital and office environment.

The Center, which is owned by Miami-Dade County, also regularly hosts the County’s most important addresses, including the State of the County Address, State of the Arts Address, and the State of the Port Address.

Green Room Society Goes Green
June 30, 2009, 3:46 pm
Filed under: Green Room Society, Out in the Community

The Green Room Society (GRS) of the Adrienne Arsht Center is living up to its name – literally. This past Saturday (June 27, 2009), Green Room Society members and their guests attended “Saving the Planet with Style,” an event that combined fashion, art, music and cuisine with one purpose in mind: to build a better world. The “green” event took place at the en vogue Stay at Lincoln Hotel on Miami Beach, the brainchild of GRS committee member Ernesto Arguello, and was attended by more than 100 GRS members. Organized by the Madave Fashion Group and hosted by GRS, the soiree benefited the International Rescue Committee (IRC) with the intention of using positive thought and human compassion together with art to make the world a better place.

Copy of go-green-totes

The three-day engagement began on Thursday with a focus on fashion. Trendy and environmentally friendly swimsuits, clothing, jewelry and handbag lines were all presented at the creative fair with enthusiastic response. The highlight, Saturday night’s exclusive Green Room Society event, featured a scene alive with the fascinating live silk-screen work of Rocky Grimes served up alongside 42 Below Vodka cocktails, Vitamin Water Tranquilo beverages and Grolsch Beer. Newly minted Green Room Society members walked away with their very own personalized “Go Green with the Green Room Society” recyclable tote bags, all printed live by Grimes. It was truly a magical event and Madave has confirmed that “Saving the Planet with Style” will be back again next year! Until then, the members of GRS are glad to be helping to save the planet – with impeccable style, of course.

Copy of group-shot

Miami’s Fresh Monkey decked the Adrienne Arsht Center loading dock
June 30, 2009, 3:39 pm
Filed under: Fuerza Bruta

Daniel Aaron Fila aka Krave, aka Fresh Monkey, 28, is legit. By that, we mean he has a BFA from Columbus College of Art and Design and a master’s degree in Street Art from the School of Hard Knocks. The Miami native has worked in the area for more than 10 years as a graffiti street artist with a particular penchant for murals. Fila is one of 4 Miami-based artists selected to showcase their work at the Adrienne Arsht Center during the run of Fuerza Bruta, now on stage through August 2.

Copy of krave1

His latest work can now be seen on the east wall of the Adrienne Arsht Center’s loading dock, which has been converted into an industrial-inspired main entrance to the Center’s summer hit Fuerza Bruta. The “Fresh Monkey,” the character at the center of the Adrienne Arsht Center painting and at the core of many of Fila’s works, has been referred to as the artist’s alter-ego, and first came about while he was doing a school project years ago. The “fresh” refers to the little creature’s proclivity for trouble. Although Fila says he sometimes feels caged in when it comes to expressing himself, his naughty little alter-ego can be seen all over the city in some of the most colorful graffiti art Miami has seen.

In 2003, Fila gained notoriety for his provocative 2003 “Erin” mural, a 13-foot posterior-view nude that graced the east wall of Oppenheim Architecture and Design in the heart of the Design District. The mural was mysteriously, and ironically enough, painted over illegally, but the building is now adorned with a new work entitled “Adam and Eve,” featuring Paleolithic-style fertility figures with large hips, curvy torsos, and small heads. Fila’s work has been featured at Art Basel, and he has also worked on projects for such notable brands as MTV, the Ritz-Carlton, and Greyhound bus lines. Recently, the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau featured his artwork on a city wall as part of a national ad campaign celebrating Miami’s culture.

Copy of Fuerza Bruta Press Meet - June10,09 Photos by Mitchell Zachs (13)

To learn about the other artists featured at the Adrienne Arsht Center during Fuerza Bruta, visit https://arshtpov.wordpress.com/ and look out for future editions of P.O.V.

Volunteer Letter to Editor
June 30, 2009, 3:28 pm
Filed under: Letter to Editor

Dear P.O.V.:

I have been in Miami for a little over a year now and have been mostly focused on my professional development. About 3 months ago, I ran across the Adrienne Arsht Center’s website and decided to become involved as a volunteer. The highlight of my service so far was participating in the auditions for AileyCamp in Miami, which you featured in the last edition of P.O.V.

On June 13, I had the incredible honor of being a part of the interviewing committee to select participants for the first AileyCamp in Miami. Before moving to Miami, I taught Latin dance to several talented children’s groups, but the children that came to this camp were incredible. Some children I interviewed have followed the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre since before they could dance. It was almost impossible to choose from so many wonderful children.

Before joining the interviewers’ panel, I thought that the camp would simply be an experience where children could sharpen their dancing abilities, but, that day, I learned what the camp is really about. The camp is really all about personal growth, using dance as a medium to help students prepare for life. Not only do these already talented children get an opportunity to sharpen their dance skills, they also will get an edge on the real world that I believe not enough children receive.

Through opportunities like this, volunteering at the center has given me more than I could possibly ever give to the center. Meeting a myriad of personalities on every visit, growing on a personal level, being exposed to a worldly atmosphere of performing arts, and meeting children whom I am certain will be successful in their careers (even if that career isn’t in performing arts) is just a short part of my experience.

I am eager to continue being a part of such an inspiring organization.


Luis Ugalde

New Board Chairman and President Elected at Florida Grand Opera
June 30, 2009, 3:27 pm
Filed under: Florida Grand Opera

Now entering its 69th season, Florida Grand Opera has announced a new slate of leaders for its Board of Directors. Victor H. Mendelson was elected president of the Board, succeeding Jane A. Robinson, who was elected chairman of the Board of Directors following her five years as president.

Victor H. Mendelson represents his family’s fourth generation of Florida Grand Opera supporters, which began with his great-grandmother Lillian Brown, and continued with his grandmother Muriel Hattenbach, and his mother Arlene H. Mendelson. Mr. Mendelson is the president and chief executive officer of HEICO Electronic Technologies Corp., a subsidiary of NYSE-traded HEICO Corporation. He is a member of the Board of Visitors of Columbia College in New York City, a trustee of St. Thomas University, and held the FGO Board of Directors office of treasurer from 2007 until May of 2009.

Copy of BOD-MendelsonVictor 2005

Robert M. Heuer, FGO’s general director and CEO, stated, “All of us at the Opera are extremely grateful for Victor’s leadership at this crucial time for Florida Grand Opera and the entire arts community. He brings a wealth of business experience, common sense, and analytical skills that will be invaluable in helping the Opera go forward during the coming seasons. We are also grateful to Jane A. Robinson for her years of commitment to the company during a critical period that included our move from Miami-Dade County Auditorium to the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts.”

Florence Hecht and Leonard Robbins were elected directors emeriti in recognition of their many years of service and support of the Opera, and James M. Herron was re-elected as the Opera’s representative to the Arsht Center Trust Board. Newly elected to the Florida Grand Opera Board of Directors are Leatrice Taylor Damus, Morton J. Robinson, M.D., Gale Goldstein Tucker, Esq., and Ana Moran Varela.

Adios, Celia.
June 30, 2009, 3:20 pm
Filed under: At the Center

Celia has left the building. A powerhouse musical bringing to life the incredible history and fabulous songs of one of Cuba’s most iconic performers, Celia: The Life and Music of Celia Cruz mesmerized Miami audiences two summers in a row with its hot music, dazzling costumes, and sizzling performances. But the legend never dies, and neither does the hit show that she inspired. Following the three-week encore production at the Knight Concert Hall, co-presented by the Adrienne Arsht Center and CMN productions the hit musical hit the road once more, continuing its international tour before it eventually heads back to New York City, where it all began nearly two years ago.

Copy of Celia photo by Manny Hernandez

First up, later this summer, is a two-week run in Puerto Rico. Then it’s off to South America with engagements scheduled in Argentina and Colombia. The show will also play Las Vegas before reopening in New York in April 2010, this time at the Daryl Roth Theater on Union Square, where, coincidentally, the New York production of Fuerza Bruta has been wowing audiences for two record-breaking years.
Que tengas un buen viaje, Celia! We’ll miss you!

Another Jam-packed Summer at the Adrienne Arsht Center
June 23, 2009, 5:00 pm
Filed under: At the Center

“Those Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer,” crooned Nat King Cole in one of his biggest hits of the early ‘60s. That was then. This is now. And he was most definitely not singing about Summer 2009 at the Adrienne Arsht Center. These past few weeks have seen an unprecedented amount of activity at the Center—perhaps the most intensely busy period since the Inaugural Weekend and Grand Opening of the Center in the fall of 2006.

The summer season kicked off with the opening of five productions, nearly simultaneously. They included Fuerza Bruta, the most technically complex staging the Center has ever undertaken. Shows have been running in the Knight Concert Hall, Ziff Ballet Opera House, and Carnival Studio Theater at least 6 days a week—with 18 performances taking place on weekends alone! There have been rehearsals, load-ins, cast parties, the inauguration of Fuerza Bruta’s G-Lounge by Barton G., meetings, press previews, conferences, red carpet entrances, performers to accommodate, patrons to attend to, and kids to interview for the chance to participate in AileyCamp Miami.


Saturday, June 13, exemplifies what life at the Center has been like these days. By early morning, kids ages 11 – 14 had started arriving for their AileyCamp interviews, in hopes that they would be chosen to be a part of this extraordinary education and outreach initiative, a joint partnership of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and the Adrienne Arsht Center. By end of day, after morning and afternoon sessions in the Knight Concert Hall and various other locations, a panel made up of Alvin Ailey staff, teachers, Miami-Dade County School administrators, and Adrienne Arsht Center staff, volunteers and a board member had seen and talked to 114 kids, first as part of a group dance “audition” and then in one-on-one interviews. Eventually 85 youngsters were chosen for the four-week summer day camp that will stretch their bodies, minds, and souls in preparation for the wide-ranging challenges of life as a high school student.

Curtain time for the first of the day’s three Summer Shorts performances was 1 p.m., and so by early afternoon, more kids were arriving at the Center, headed to the Carnival Studio Theater for the series of delightful short family-friendly plays that made up this year’s Shorts 4 Kids. The more mature-skewing Signature Shorts followed that evening at 7 p.m., and then at 10 p.m., undershorts, the late-night series of naughty and bawdy plays designed exclusively for adults, brought the anything-but-short Shorts day to a close.

In the meantime, 60 people attended the Dramatist Guild Town Hall meeting in the B. and Donald Carlin Banquet Hall, sponsored by the Theatre League of South Florida, an alliance of theatrical organizations and professionals dedicated to nurturing, promoting, and advocating for the growth and prestige of the South Florida theater industry.

Anissa Gathers as Celia photo by Manny Hernandez-6

Over at the Knight Concert Hall, the international hit musical, Celia, The Life and Music of Celia Cruz, gave life once more to the divine Cuban queen of salsa, and Anissa Gathers, whose performance as Celia has been the toast of three continents, had them singing and dancing in the aisles at both the 5 and 9 p.m. shows.

And by early evening, the Fuerza Bruta Saturday night marathon had begun. Two shows in one evening of this dazzling, outrageously disorienting production would be enough to keep front-of-house staff, volunteers, and stage crew working nonstop, what with patrons arriving and entering through the back of the theater rather than the front; standing, moving (and quite a few dancing) on stage rather than sitting in the auditorium; and performers running, flying and swimming mid-air rather than rooted to the stage floor.


Then there is the G-Lounge by Barton G., a party space complete with DJs, bars, food, and art, carved out of what is normally the backstage of the Ziff Ballet Opera House. Designed as an introduction to and extension of the Fuerza Bruta experience, it actually has taken on a life of its own and has quickly become a must-go-to club in a city that isn’t exactly lacking in hot spots.

So that was Saturday, June 13, at the Adrienne Arsht Center: “Lazy?”—hardly. “Hazy?”—perhaps, after a G-Lounge cocktail or two. “Crazy?”—absolutely!

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