Point of View

Six community leaders join Adrienne Arsht Center’s Performing Arts Center Trust Board of Directors
September 29, 2009, 8:55 pm
Filed under: About the Center

The Performing Arts Center Trust board of directors – an independent body of community and business leaders that manages the Adrienne Arsht Center – welcomed six new board members during its September 29 board meeting: Israel Alfonso, Ralph L. Gazitúa, Mitchell Kaplan, Nathan Leight, Beverly A. Parker, and Abigail Pollack.

Also announced was the panel’s 2009-2010 slate of officers: J. Ricky Arriola as Chair, Mike Eidson as Chair-Elect, Emery Sheer as Treasurer, James Herron as Secretary, and Penny Thurer as Assistant Secretary. This will be Mr. Arriola’s third consecutive year as Chair.

“It’s an honor to be invited by the Board to stay on for another year. It has been extremely gratifying to serve as Chairman of the Performing Arts Center Trust Board of Directors,” said J. Ricky Arriola. “The past year has seen the Adrienne Arsht Center reach many milestones, thanks in part to the Board’s guidance and leadership. In the past twelve months, the Center has hired a new CEO, balanced its budget, paid off its last remaining bank debt, boosted ticket sales, and built new relationships throughout the diverse South Florida community. I look forward to many more milestones in the coming year.”

The new board members are as follows:
Israel Alfonso, a Shareholder in the Miami law office of Greenberg Traurig.
Ralph L. Gazitúa, President and CEO of WTDC, a Miami-based logistics infrastructure company.
Mitchell Kaplan, founder of Books & Books, an independent bookstore and café chain with three locations throughout Miami and an international location in the Cayman Islands.
Nathan Leight, co-founder and the Senior Managing Member of Terrapin Partners LLC, and the Chief Investment Officer of Terrapin Asset Management LLC.
Beverly A. Parker, a founding principal of Washington Cable Supple, Inc., a company that provides products and services to the telecommunications, utilities, government, and construction markets.
Abigail Pollack, a legal consultant for Plural Productions, a Spanish production company working with Univision.

“The Performing Arts Center Trust Board of Directors is one of the Adrienne Arsht Center’s most valuable assets,” said M. John Richard, President and CEO of the Adrienne Arsht Center, “Beyond their management and development leadership, our newest board members will provide an important link with the South Florida community. Their work will support our mission as a world-class performing arts center that is community-based.”

Adrienne Arsht Center Signature Series Bring to Miami the Best in International Arts and Entertainment
September 29, 2009, 8:35 pm
Filed under: At the Center

The Adrienne Arsht Center invites the finest artists and productions from across the nation and around the world to entertain and enlighten South Florida audiences. The Center’s programming not only represents the best the world has to offer, but also the most diverse, so that the unique cultural and ethnic mosaic that is South Florida is reflected on its stages year round.

Adrienne Arsht Center performances—many of them grouped together into six thematic Signature Series—cover a wide range of the performing arts: theater, all kinds of music, dance, Broadway musicals, and evenings such as our Celebrity Chef appearances, that are uniquely our own.

Below is a highlights preview of the Adrienne Arsht Center 2009 – 2010 Signature Series

The 2009 – 2010 lineup includes the South Florida premiere of the soul-stirring The Color Purple (October 27 – November 1); a pre-Broadway engagement of the new family blockbuster 101 Dalmatians (December 30 – January 3), starring Rachel York as Cruella de Vil; Broadway’s biggest blockbuster Wicked (March 3 – 21); the long-running feel-good phenomenon Mamma Mia! (March 30 – April 4) and the Best Musical Tony-winning Spring Awakening (May 11 – 16), Broadway’s most talked about show in years.

Musical Hit Wicked

Musical Hit Wicked

Complementing the Broadway offerings are a series of Broadway Extras, special performances which this season includes the acclaimed Edinburg Festival and off-Broadway hit The Walworth Farce (November 4 – 7), a concert by Broadway Tony Award-winning star Brian Stokes Mitchell (December 12), and an evening of grand illusion with David Copperfield (January 12).

Now Adrienne Arsht Center patrons can enjoy delicious music in a swanky setting when Sherie Rene Scott (October 15 – 18), Karen Akers (January 21 – 24), and Christine Andreas (April 22 – 25), three Broadway stars and some of our finest interpreters of theater and popular songs, perform in the Carnival Studio Theater in the Ziff Ballet Opera House. Signature Barton G cocktails are served one-half hour before each performance.

Sherie Rene Scott

Broadway star Sherie Rene Scott

The world’s top chefs come to the Adrienne Arsht Center stage for “Inside the Actor’s Studio”-style interviews, live cooking demonstrations, and Q&A sessions with the audience. Season 2 features the star Latina chefs Ingrid Hoffmann and Daisy Martinez (October 16), Anthony Bourdain hosting Jacques Pepin and Eric Ripert in a “surprise ingredients” cook-off (November 13), and Emeril Lagasse and his signature “New New Orleans” cuisine (January 9).

1Emeril - photo by Ron Calamia

Chef Emeril

Six evenings, each devoted to a different type of jazz, featuring the music’s greatest stars and interpreters. The Blues (November 6) kicks off this year’s series with Buddy Guy and Dr. John and the Lower 911. Next up is An Evening with Dave Grusin (December 4), a celebration of his award-winning film scores and his masterful arrangement of West Side Story, with performances by Patti Austin, Jon Secada, Arturo Sandoval, Nestor Torres, Gary Burton, Sammy Figueroa, and the Mancini Institute Orchestra.

The Manhattan Transfer, New York Voices, and the legendary Jon Hendricks take the stage for Vocalese (January 15) followed by Jazz and Soul (February 26) featuring Al Jarreau and Ramsey Lewis; A Tribute to Frank Sinatra (March 19), starring Michael Feinstein and John Pizzarelli; and concluding with Piano Latino (April 16) with Eddie Palmieri, Michel Camilo and introducing Alfredo Rodriguez.

1Michael Feinstein

Musician Michael Feinstein

The John S. and James L. Knight MASTERWORKS SEASON represents the Center’s first full offering of classical music and dance programming: the four-performance Sanford and Dolores Ziff Classical Music Series and the three-part Dance Series, as well as a variety of special events—such as Sweet Honey in the Rock (December 11), Seraphic Fire’s Messiah (December 19), and Tony Bennett (January 8 ) that are made available to subscribers on a priority basis.

2009-2010 concerts includes the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra with Pinchas Zukerman (December 16); Itzhak Perlman in recital (January 12); the Detroit Symphony, conducted by Leonard Slatkin (February 14); and superstar pianist Lang Lang with the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival Orchestra conducted by Christophe Eschenbach (March 29).

Lang Lang

Pianist Lang Lang


Exciting contemporary dance from three unique companies—The Miami premiere of Israel’s Batsheva Ensemble (December 5 & 6); new works by The Joffrey Ballet (March 26 & 27); and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater back by popular demand (May 20 – 23).

Learning Through the Arts to Bring 24,000 Fifth Graders to the Theater
September 29, 2009, 8:23 pm
Filed under: At the Center

The Adrienne Arsht Center will begin a major new initiative in 2010 called Learning Through the Arts, in partnership with the Miami-Dade County Public School system as one of the founding members of the Cultural Adventures Passport Program. The program kicks off in April of 2010 with all Miami-Dade County 5th grade students coming to the Center, free of cost, to experience live professional performing arts performances. The Center’s first presentation will be Rock Odyssey, an innovative spin on the Homer classic that chronicles the epic journey in an accessible and theatrical rock opera style.

2Family Fest Nov

A professional team of educators has created specially designed lesson plans related to the show’s content covering a wide variety of academic subjects using the theater experience as a jumping off point for addressing Florida’s K – 12 Sunshine State Standards. The lessons provide a “way in” to academic subjects like math, science, history, language arts, and social studies for students who may not otherwise connect with traditional teaching methods. The Center’s commitment to excellence in educational programming will be immediately apparent in the high production value of this show including a professional cast, elaborate costuming, and beautiful sets.

1Photo by Mitchell Zachs

Several funders have already committed their support to the Learning Through the Arts program for this season, including Funding Arts Network and the Florida Department of State Division of Cultural Affairs.

The Learning Through the Arts programming is slated for expansion in subsequent years to include 7th and 9th grades to provide a quality live theater or concert experience in elementary, middle and high school.

Prelude by Barton G. is Dining Simplified for Adrienne Arsht Center Patrons
September 29, 2009, 8:16 pm
Filed under: Out in the Community

 The flair and fun that has for eight years defined the fame and popularity of South Beach’s Barton G. Restaurant is now crossing the causeway to plant a firm foothold at our own Adrienne Arsht Center. Introducing PRELUDE BY BARTON G., designed and delivered by Barton G. Weiss, whose entrepreneurial skill as an events designer and restaurateur has established his name among the great hosts of the industry. PRELUDE BY BARTON G. will be available as a full-service dining opportunity that will add a brilliant new luster to Miami’s thriving downtown community.

Open six nights a week just steps away from the theater, patrons can enjoy “Diner’s Decision:” the choice of any three dinner menu items for $39 or any two lunch/brunch items for $23. Among the dishes to enjoy are Short Ribs En Croûte, Butter Poached Baby Shrimp Salad, Seared Tuna with a Checkerboard of Red and Yellow Beets, and more. Barton G., known for his signature desserts at his restaurant on South Beach, has created new treats for PRELUDE including a sinful deconstructed Strawberry Shortcake with Ricotta Cream, a Caramel Apple Sundae with house made cinnamon ice cream and a quartet of crème brûlées in pistachio, mocha, tropical fruit and vanilla.

Prelude by Barton G rendering

South Florida’s most expansive by-the-glass wine list – available by the taste, the half glass or the glass – complements the menu of updated American classics. Diners can also sip a glass and enjoy a snack from our à la carte bar menu. The full-service bar also serves a complete range of mixed drinks.

Open to the general public, groups and Arsht Center patrons from 5 p.m. until late Tuesdays through Sundays, PRELUDE BY BARTON G. opens its doors at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts on October 23rd. Make reservations now at www.arshtcenter.org/prelude or by calling 305-948-7500.

Adrienne Arsht Center’s Festival Grab-Bag
September 29, 2009, 8:06 pm
Filed under: At the Center

As summer draws to a close, it’s time to look forward to the variety of festivals this arts season at the Adrienne Arsht Center. From Tel Aviv at 100 and Flamenco Festival to Miami Made, the Center’s festivals come in all shapes, sizes, and feature varying line-ups offering diverse programming.

In 2009, Arsht Center will present TEL AVIV AT 100 FESTIVAL OF THE ARTS, celebrating the centennial of existence, accomplishment and creativity of the first Hebrew city to be established in the modern era. These performances celebrate Tel Aviv’s great cultural accomplishments, and feature artists with a connection to Tel Aviv who are making an impact on performing arts around the world. Tel Aviv at 100 includes:

1Idan Raichel Project - photo by NitzanTreystman

The Idan Raichel Project (November 21) – With an enchanting blend of African, Latin American, Caribbean and Middle Eastern sounds coupled with a spectacular live show, the Idan Raichel Project has become one of the most unexpected success stories in Israeli music history.

Batsheva Ensemble (December 5 & 6) – Led by artistic director Ohad Naharin, Israel’s premiere contemporary dance company heralds a tradition of excellence, artistic integrity and creative freedom that has earned the company its reputation as one of the most inspirational and sought after companies.

1Batsheva Ensemble - Deca Dance - photo by Gadi Dagon

Israel Philharmonic Orchestra (December 16) – With guest conductor/violin soloist Pinchas Zuckermann & Amanda Forsyth, cello, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra is one of Israel’s oldest and most influential cultural institutions. The IPO has dedicated itself to presenting the world’s greatest music to audiences in Israel and around the world.

Itzhak Perlman (January 12) – Undeniably the reigning virtuoso of the violin, Itzhak Perlman enjoys superstar status rarely afforded a classical musician. Beloved for his charm and humanity as well as his talent, he is treasured by audiences throughout the world who respond to his remarkable artistry and irrepressible joy of making music.

FLAMENCO FESTIVAL MIAMI returns to the Arsht Center, February 13th -19th, 2010, for another year of unforgettable performances. Miami’s annual flamenco celebration, now in its 3rd year, features mesmerizing artistry from renowned dancers and musicians direct from Spain!

1Maria Pages - photo courtesy of Compania Maria Pages

This year’s festival kicks off with an Opening Night Gala on February 13 entitled Los Jovenes Flamencos. The evening is a special tribute to the new generation of flamenco artists who are bringing fresh life to the art form, with performances by Pastora Galvan, Manuel Liñan, Belén Lopez, Juan de Juan, and Rocío Molina.

Rocío Molina then takes center stage on February 17th with her new work, Oro Viejo. A revelation in flamenco dance, Molina has become a major star in the flamenco world at the age of 25. She is followed by the incomparable María Pages, on Feb. 18th and 19th, in Flamenco Republic. Known for her sinuous movement and her charismatic stage presence, she is one of the leading innovators in modern flamenco.
In March, the MIAMI MADE FESTIVAL will showcase innovative, groundbreaking work created by artists living and working in South Florida. The festival includes free workshops of works in progress, readings of unproduced plays, and discussions with artists and arts professionals, in addition to world premiere showcases presented during the annual “HERE & NOW” program, a joint commissioning project with Miami Light Project dedicated to the professional development of South Florida-based artists.

1Miami Made Festival

In addition, both City Theatre’s SUMMER SHORTS FESTIVAL and Teatro Avante’s INTERNATIONAL HISPANIC THEATRE FESTIVAL will return with another line-up of extraoardinary plays in Summer 2010.

A Groundbreaking Collaboration: Miami’s Four Premier Arts Organizations, One Joint Fundraising Effort
September 29, 2009, 7:54 pm
Filed under: Out in the Community

In an unprecedented collaborative effort, Miami’s leading performing arts organizations – the Adrienne Arsht Center, Florida Grand Opera, Miami City Ballet and New World Symphony, America’s Orchestral Academy – have joined forces to host an overnight luxury cruise aboard the Seabourn Odyssey on November 13 and 14. Through the generous support of The Yachts of Seabourn and the Carnival Corporation, the proceeds from the event will be shared equally among each of the four organizations, offering each organization an opportunity to raise significant funds while minimizing risk, a strategy that has become essential in the current economy.

Sea1bourn Odyssey - Overhead Photo

Arts Odyssey: A Collaboration will afford individual patrons and corporate sponsors a once-in-a-lifetime chance to support four organizations critical to the fabric of our community,” said Adrienne Arsht, event co-chair and chairman of the Adrienne Arsht Center Foundation Board.
Funds raised will support artistic programming, education and community outreach, apprenticeship and fellowship programs, and the continued enrichment of South Florida’s leading performing arts institutions
“We are an ensemble of four Miami arts institutions serving as ambassadors for our city. This collaboration is a national model of how the performing arts community can maximize its fundraising potential through cultivated teamwork,” said M. John Richard, president and CEO of the Adrienne Arsht Center.
The cruise will depart at 5:00 pm on Friday from Port Everglades, voyage into international waters, and return by 9:00 am Saturday morning. The event’s 400 attendees – a veritable who’s who of South Florida’s top arts enthusiasts, philanthropists, and business leaders – will enjoy dinner and dancing, as well as a spectacular performance by Bernadette Peters.

MKT 2007-09-07 Photo- Bernadette Peters 1

For more information about this momentous event, corporate and individual sponsorship opportunities, or to reserve a suite onboard Seabourn Odyssey during Arts Odyssey: A Collaboration, please contact the Adrienne Arsht Center at 786-468-2254 or via email at odysseygala@arshtcenter.org

SEASON IN REVIEW – Community Partnerships
September 15, 2009, 10:12 pm
Filed under: Out in the Community

If it takes a village to raise a child, how many people does it take to grow a performing arts center? Through countless relationships around the community, the Adrienne Arsht Center has been able to grow significantly over the course of the 2008-2009 season. In reaching out to the community, the Center realized the importance of successful partnerships for maintaining mission-based initiatives from programming to development.

Among these relationships include those that boosted the Center’s volunteer corps to incredible heights. A solid example of such a coming-together includes the UNITED WE SERVE VOLUNTEER MIAMI DAY held at the Adrienne Arsht Center on Friday, September 11th. This successful community gathering both memorialized 2001’s tragic event as well as offered opportunities for service agencies to recruit volunteers for diverse outreach projects.

UWS Pix 4

The inaugural event answered President Barack Obama’s call to service expressed in the national summer initiative United We Serve. Community service and volunteer organizations of all types came out to display their efforts in improving the community and invite people to recommit to service in their communities throughout the year. The office of Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Alvarez and HandsOnMiami were two of the Center’s major partners on the event, in addition to the Center on Non-Profit Effectiveness and DOVIA (Directors of Volunteers in Agencies).

The event’s success lies in creating solid relationships between the Adrienne Arsht Center and the twenty-two service agencies that lead the community forward. Included among these are AARP, Alliance for the Aging, American Red Cross, Arts and Business Council, Habitat for Humanity, Miami Council for International Visitors, Miami River Commission, Miami Veterans Center, Switchboard Miami and the Zoological Society.

Also prevalent in this particular success are the Miami Dade County Public Schools, Vitas Hospice, Trinity Cathedral, Dade League of Cities, Brown Mackie College, Barry University, University of Phoenix and several chambers of commerce, along with the agencies who participated for the circulation of the event announcement to their members and networks.

UWS Pix 3

Volunteerism and community reach plays a big role in many of these relationships, but it is not the extent of them. In addition to countless donors and sponsors who have supported the Center, a number of the Center’s Institutional Sponsors and in-kind donors have gone above and beyond their commitments, including:

The Center’s Official Airline, American Airlines, provided additional support for The Harder They Come as an Official Show Sponsor, with flights for the cast and tickets to Jamaica for a raffle; Heineken and Credelis supported the Green Room Society’s The Harder They Come After Party; Starbucks Coffee Company sponsored Jazz Roots 2008-09 and continue to provide support through their generous donation of Starbucks Gift Card; and Johnson & Wales University, Viking and Whole Foods made the 2008-09 Celebrity Chef Series possible, and will continue their support of the series in the 2009-10 season. Miami Twice Modern & Vintage Boutique also maintains a strong connection to the Center and often generously donates costumes and accessories to the Opening Night Broadway Cast Parties. A particular favorite were the festive and flapper-ish mobster costumes donned by staff for the opening night of CHICAGO this past May. 

One of strongest partnerships the Adrienne Arsht Center maintains is Miami Dade County Public Schools.  Through various departments within the Public School system such as Division of Life Skill and Special Projects (arts programming); Parent Academy; Division of Special Education (formerly Exceptional Student Education); Office of Community Services; United Teachers of Dade; Division of Early Childhood Programs; Dade Association of Dance Educators; and 40 individual schools to date, much has been accomplished in the past three years allowing the Center to reach out to the Community with creative, and inclusive free arts education programming. The relationship is a natural fit for the Center and schools with the need for arts programming in the schools.  With budget cuts and limited resources, the Center can compliment and augment the diminished programming the schools are offering.  By working with many divisions in the schools system, we are able to maximize the partnership.

Another demonstration of combined forces can be noted in the Arsht Center’s FREE GOSPEL SUNDAYS series. Now in its third year, this offering of free gospel shows would have been difficult to create without the help of Gospel AM 1490 WMBM and Jubilate, Inc. As leading media partner for the series, WMBM consistently spreads the good word about the Gospel events. Jubilate works with the Center programming staff to assemble the Free Gospel Sunday’s mass choir and connects the Center with the best and brightest local gospel choirs in the community.

Needless to say, it takes nothing less than a community to grow a performing arts center.

September 15, 2009, 9:56 pm
Filed under: About the Center, Lincoln Center

Dear POV Reader,

I came to the Adrienne Arsht Center last December with a profound sense of excitement and a clear vision for our institution. Our mission: to solidify Miami’s performing arts center as one of the best anywhere – an organization that was at once world-class and community based.

Since my arrival in Miami, I have learned that performing arts centers have an extraordinary ability to bring people together, a lesson that has been reinforced on an almost daily basis. We witness that community spirit every time we open our doors.

Along these lines, I recently wrote an essay about the impact that performing arts centers have on American cities, their economies, and their people – set against the backdrop of Lincoln Center’s 50th anniversary. When I was asked to reflect on my first nine months here, I decided the best way to express my thoughts about the Adrienne Arsht Center would be to share this article with you. After reading it, I think you will agree that our Center’s character is just as much a reflection of our community as it is of the venues that have come before it.

M. John Richard
President and CEO

Adrienne Arsht Center_photo by Robin Hill

Lessons from Lincoln Center
Lincoln Center’s 50th anniversary is an opportune moment to reflect on the influence of America’s performing arts venues.

Even before launching my career in the performing arts, I marveled at Lincoln Center’s impact. It is at once a world-class performing arts venue, a premier school, and the economic engine for an entire neighborhood.
But the Center’s success was anything but predetermined.

When Lincoln Center was built, the notion that several major performing arts organizations could thrive in one location was untested in the United States; New York’s complex would not adhere to the centuries-old single-purpose building archetype.

That twelve organizations are coexisting today with individual-but-intertwined objectives is part of the fabric of Lincoln Center. There is a synergistic element to the notion that thousands of people can arrive at the same place on the same night, enter three different iconic buildings, and share wholly different – but equally satisfying – experiences.

Most significant is what Lincoln Center is not: a model performing arts center. Because centers across the country each enjoy their own strengths and face their own challenges, there is no paradigm for success. A concert or production that is lauded in New York may not be well-received in Miami.

The common denominator that links all performing arts organizations is their ability to unite, excite, and transform people.

In a world where impersonal communiqués have become standard, Lincoln Center and the venues that have followed are twenty-first century town squares – places where we gather to share experiences and feel human.

We feel it when we watch children experience live theatre for the first time, when we are awestruck by a ballerina’s leap into space, and when we rise in unison for a standing ovation.

At Miami’s Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts (another multi-building, multi-organization institution), we have been sharing this feeling with increasing frequency since our 2006 debut.

This January, we opened our doors for a free simulcast of the Presidential Inauguration. Many of us felt a sense of suspended belief when 4,000 people gathered to watch the festivities unfold in our auditoriums. As people were cheering, hugging and crying all around me, I had to remind myself that we were in a crowded room in Downtown Miami, not on the National Mall.

I felt a similar rush this April when we hosted five performances of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre’s 50th anniversary production of Revelations. After attending the first four shows, I could not make it to the start of the final presentation. Still, I made it a point to arrive in time for the encore and the intoxicating swell of emotions that ensued.

As America’s youngest performing arts center salutes one of the nation’s most venerable institutions, we reflect on Lincoln Center’s seminal impact and determine how we can capture the magic it has created. Doing so involves capitalizing on the lessons learned during Lincoln Center’s first fifty-years just as the cultural icon undergoes some soul-searching of its own in the form of a $900 million makeover.

In Miami, the most applicable lessons that can be elicited from the Lincoln Center experiment involve bringing people together and fueling the rebirth of a community.

Much the same way a sixteen acre plot of land at 65th Street and Broadway injected new life into New York City’s Upper West Side, the Adrienne Arsht Center is driving people to Downtown Miami. What was once a pass-through destination en route to South Beach is now a magnet for real estate developers, business owners, residents, and visitors.

This transformation is making a measurable impact on our institution and the community. Ticket sales are strong, our programs are diverse, our membership base is growing, and we have revitalized our neighborhood to the tune of one-billion dollars in new investment.

The numbers only quantify a portion of the outcome.

Watch our patrons as they walk through our doors, the performers who grace our stages, the board members and volunteers who commit endless hours, the passionate members of our staff who pour their hearts and minds into the cause day-in and day-out. Watch them react when the child enters the theater, when the dancer takes flight, and when the crowd jumps to its feet. Look at their faces. Feel what they are feeling. That’s our impact.

The beauty of Lincoln Center lives in the minds of countless patrons. Its uncommon and historic undertaking is an occasion to pause and look to the future. Happy anniversary, Lincoln Center, and thank you for all you have accomplished.

Adrienne Arsht Center brings down the curtain on Season 3 and sets down the stage for No. 4.
September 15, 2009, 9:52 pm
Filed under: At the Center

The new reggae musical The Harder They Come wound up its American premiere run at the Ziff Ballet Opera House on Sunday, the culmination of another amazing summer at the Center that kicked off with the return of Celia: The Life and Music of Celia Cruz, continued with not one but two annual theater festivals—Summer Shorts and The International Hispanic Theatre Festival—and soared to new heights with the sensational Fuerza Bruta, the twice-extended, longest-running touring show in Miami history.

Now it’s time to bring down the curtain on Season 3 at the Adrienne Arsht Center and set the stage for No. 4. But before doing so, it’s worth looking back at some of the performance highlights of the past year.

Knight Concert Hall, Concert For Miami, Photo by Robin Hill

In 2008 – 2009, Adrienne Arsht Center proved once and for all that there is an audience for jazz in Miami with the runaway success of its new Jazz Roots, A Larry Rosen Jazz Series. More than 25 jazz legends—Dave Brubeck, Ivan Lins, Arturo Sandoval, Patti Austin, Chick Corea and Sonny Rollins among them—performed in the Knight Concert Hall and all six concerts sold out. Also introduced last season was the Celebrity Chef Series, which brought to the Center Anthony Bourdain, Tom Colicchio, and Alton Brown for “Inside the Actor’s Studio” style evenings of in-depth interviews, live cooking demonstrations, and “Ask the Chef” audience Q&A.

Not a new series–but drawing lots of new audiences—was Broadway in Miami, which turned out to be a perfect season to introduce kids to the joys of the Broadway musical with a lineup of family favorites that included The Wizard of Oz, Annie and Cats, plus the breathtaking spectacle of Cirque Dreams Jungle Fantasy. In fact, kids came to Center performances in record numbers—to see the Grammy-winning Dan Zanes as well as for the Free Family Fests featuring Miami City Ballet’s Carnival of the Animals, the Cleveland Orchestra’s Peter and the Wolf and a host of outdoor interactive arts activities and events.

For most of the year, the Carnival Studio Theater was home to major Miami premieres, starting with the international high-speed hit comedy, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged), followed by the funny-in-any-language Defendiendo al Cavernicola (Defending the Caveman), and the locally inspired but nationally acclaimed solo show Liberty City. And then came “Here and Now”, the annual spring fling of world premieres by South Florida’s most innovative artists, co-produced by the Adrienne Arsht Center’s Miami Made Festival and Miami Light Project.

Ballet Opera House , Photo by Benjamin Thacker, During Merce Cunningham Dance Company Feb. 06

And we’re not ashamed to report we had quite a number of one-night stands with a wide range of entertainers from around the world, ranging from the singular sensation of a Marvin Hamlisch concert and the show-stopping theatrics of an evening with Mandy Patinkin to the heart-pounding rhythms of Japan’s Kodo drummers and the Latin heat generated by Juan de Marcos and the Afro-Cuban All Stars, Peru’s Evan Ayllon, and Colombia’s dynamic duo, Jorge Celedon and Jimmy Zambrano.

By now, everyone knows that if it’s February it’s time to stomp their feet and clap their hands to a Flamenco beat. After just two seasons, the Adrienne Arsht Center’s Flamenco Festival Miami has become one of the most anticipated annual events on the South Florida arts calendar and last season’s starry lineup of Estrella Morente, Los Farruco, and the Antonio Gades Company only intensified the anticipation for the festival’s return in just a few months.

Finally, 2008-2009 marked the end of an era and the beginning of a new one in the history of classical music and dance in South Florida. After the Concert Association of Florida (CAF) closed its doors earlier this year, the Adrienne Arsht Center was able to preserve the bulk of the company’s remaining season by forming presenting partnerships with the performing arts organizations on CAF’s schedule. The New York Philharmonic, the oldest orchestra in the U.S.; the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, led by conductor and violinist Pinchas Zukerman; international superstar tenor Jose Carreras; the National Philharmonic of Russia; and the 50th anniversary tour of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater all played the Center to great acclaim and public rejoicing, giving birth to the Adrienne Arsht Center’s hotly anticipated inaugural John S. and James L. Knight Masterworks Season of classical music and dance, which premieres in December with the Sanford and Dolores Ziff Classical Music series performance of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.

Adrienne Arsht Center Concludes a Successful Education and Outreach Season
September 15, 2009, 9:39 pm
Filed under: Education, Out in the Community

Each season, the Adrienne Arsht Center is dedicated to offering exceptional Education and Outreach programs for people of all ages, featuring live theatrical experiences and active learning in the performing arts. These opportunities for exploration and self expression in the performing arts are designed to foster creative thinking skills, boost self esteem, and expand the horizons of the participants while introducing different aspects of music, dance, and theater. Through inclusive culturally diverse programming, the Center is able to serve a wide range of constituents and provide opportunities for audience development.

Programs for STUDENTS and TEACHERS
In an effort to be a resource for and expand the reach of the performing arts, Arsht Center has capitalized on the relationship with the Miami-Dade County Public School (MDCPS) system to provide teacher trainings for classroom and arts teachers and quality arts experiences for students throughout the county. Programming for schools includes Jazz Roots: Behind the Scenes, a multi-layered approach that provides music and classroom teachers the resources they need to engage and involve their students, while students get the live theater experience, exposure to world class jazz, and inspirational access to internationally acclaimed artists. Thanks to a Youth Arts Enrichment Program grant from the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and the generous support of various private donors, all activities and concert attendance was provided at no cost to the schools and served over 770 students and 72 teachers during the 2008-2009 season.

Ailey Camp 220

During the summer, a newly forged partnership with Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation produced AileyCamp Miami, a four-week summer day camp serving at-risk children ages 11-14 from Miami-Dade County public middle schools. The program included dance training, creative writing instruction, personal development and communication workshops, as well as recreational field trips. AileyCamp Miami concluded with an original performance created for and presented by all 79 campers in the Knight Concert Hall.

The Beyond Boundaries School Program offers in-school programs and residencies designed to give new insights into the creative process and the performing arts during school hours at MDCPS elementary, middle and high schools. The 08-09 season was no exception, featuring school performances and workshops presented by Dan Zanes (traditional American and Latin American music), Fushu Daiko (kodo drumming), April Yvette Thomas (theater workshops), and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (modern dance).


Teacher Training Program focuses on educating teachers to increase the artistic literacy of young people. The Center worked in conjunction with MDCPS to provide over 630 teacher opportunities for training in and about the arts to invigorate the teaching process and expand the tools and skills of classroom and arts teachers.

In partnership with VSA arts and MDCPS, the Arsht Center presents Accessing the Arts – VSA arts of Florida Partnership, a nationally recognized inclusive program designed to integrate the creative arts into educational and community programs for MDCPS students with disabilities. Consisting of nine one-hour sessions with a performing artist, the program culminated in a final performance at the Center’s Carnival Studio Theater staffed by a full production and technical crew. Professional development workshops were offered to participating teachers and the performances were followed by debriefing session to discuss best practices for working with special needs populations.

The Ticket Access Program (TAP) provides underserved patrons the opportunity to attend performances at the Center through ticket subsidies. Through Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs’ Culture Shock program, students ages 13-22 accessed performances for $5 per ticket in addition to tickets provided to over 40 different educational and social services organizations.

A study of the benefits of arts participation commissioned by The Wallace Foundation highlights the potential of early participation in the arts for young people. The report argues that “early exposure is often key to developing life-long involvement in the arts.” The Arsht Center recognizes this important educational building block for families and welcomes people from all walks of life to join us for programming that brings communities together in a family friendly place.

Family Fest, the award-winning free series that makes the performing arts accessible to all South Florida families, is comprised of free outdoor arts-related activities and performances in the Plaza followed by free professional music, theater, or dance performances inside the Ziff Ballet Opera House or Knight Concert Hall. The 08-09 season’s featured performances included Miami City Ballet’s Carnival of the Animals and The Cleveland Orchestra’s Peter and the Wolf. The outdoor activities included performances, hands-on demonstrations, and workshops that provided active and engaging opportunities for parents and their children. This unique program was awarded South Florida Parenting’s 2009 Kids Crown Award for the best way to introduce kids to the performing arts.

Other Free Events that catered to families from around the county included a community Sing-A-Longs presented in partnership with Miami Children’s Chorus, Gospel Sundays concerts featuring local choirs, and tours of the Adrienne Arsht Center campus.

Education programs for adults provide access to the artistic process and insights into the innovations and aesthetics of music, dance, and theater in a support environment that encourages further exploration of the arts. Active learning opportunities include workshops, classes, lectures, Q&A’s, interviews, and demonstrations related to the performances and presentations featured in the Center’s halls. This season’s programming included flamenco dance classes, a symposium focused on arts and aging, a lecture contextualizing the Center’s presentation of Liberty City, a technical workshops for sound engineers, and workshops facilitating accessible programming for special needs adults.

Through education and outreach programs for students, teachers, and adults, the Center is able to serve the community and provide opportunities for audience development. The Center’s commitment to making the performing arts accessible to all in South Florida is enhanced by its relationships with Miami-Dade County Public Schools, local performing and teaching artists, arts organizations, and resident companies.

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