Point of View

Building Relationships with Miami’s Diverse Communities
October 15, 2009, 9:47 pm
Filed under: Out in the Community

The Adrienne Arsht Center continues to build relationships with Miami’s diverse communities by presenting programming that reaches into every corner of Miami-Dade County. Last season, Arsht Center celebrated the success of JAZZ ROOTS; the second year of Free Gospel Sundays; the one-woman play Liberty City, starring Miami native April Yvette Thompson; and sold-out performances of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. The diversity of programming for Miami’s black community resulted in record attendance and was due, in large part, to the fruitful partnerships with businesses and community organizations like Bloomingdales, Air Jamaica and the Opium Group of Nightclubs, the tourist boards and consulates of Jamaica, Haiti and Barbados, 100 Black Men of South Florida and the Sunny Isles Jazz Festival. 

Carnival on the Plaza; Photo by Mitchell Zachs

Carnival on the Plaza; Photo by Mitchell Zachs

This past summer the Center was also able to forge into Miami’s diverse Caribbean communities. With the U.S. premiere of the reggae musical The Harder They Come, the Center welcomed thousands of new patrons from Miami’s Caribbean community. Outreach included a partnership with the Miami Carnival Host Committee, producing a festival hosted live by WZAB radio’s ‘Caribbean Connection’ show host Mike Andrews. The Center also added ticket outlets in the Caribbean community, reaching first-generation Jamaicans, Trinidadians and others who normally purchase tickets through their neighborhood grocers. 

Free Gospel Sundays. Photo by Mitchell Zachs

Free Gospel Sundays. Photo by Mitchell Zachs

This weekend kicks off the third year of the popular Free Gospel Sundays, A Musical Celebration with Gospel AM 1490 WMBM and Jubilate, Inc., supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Free Gospel Sundays is a series of free concerts in glorious celebration of our community’s best and brightest gospel choirs and soloists.

The first show on October 18 sold out in just three hours and features CeCe Winans, one of the most popular and influential artists working in contemporary gospel music. 

On October 27th, the Center welcomes the Miami debut of The Color Purple, which is selling very quickly. The congregations of New Jerusalem, Friendship and New Birth Baptist churches, whose choirs are scheduled to perform a cappella in the Ziff Ballet Opera House lobby during the run of the Broadway musical, have invited the Arsht Center to be part of their Sunday services. They will also incorporate music from The Color Purple in their services. 

With an exciting season of exceptional programming that crosses ethnic and socio-economic lines, the Arsht Center continues to make the performing arts attractive and accessible to diverse audiences. These efforts build a bond between the Center and some of Miami’s diverse groups and unite the community in an appreciation of the diversity that is South Florida.


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