Point of View

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.


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