Point of View

February 24, 2010, 9:20 pm
Filed under: Education

South Florida actors and singers headed for the The Peacock Foundation Education Center at the Adrienne Arsht Center  the week of February 16th  to  audition for the  Learning Through the Arts’s Rock Odyssey, a new rock musical retelling of Homer’s epic The Odyssey.  Close to 100 people brought their sheet music and smiling faces to sing a few bars for the audition panel, hopeful they would receive an invitation to come back  to read for specific parts in the new production, including the roles of Odysseus, his wife Penelope, and various gods and warriors.  A total of 18 men and 16 women were called back to try out for the cast of  10. Final casting will be announced shortly and rehearsals begin in March.  

In partnership with Miami-Dade County Public Schools, the Adrienne Arsht Center’s Learning Through the Arts program will bring every child in the public school system to see three live performing arts events over the course of their public school education. Beginning this year with 5th graders, 25,000 students will come to the Center throughout two weeks in April—at no cost to the students or their school –to experience the  fully staged Rock Odyssey.  This high-quality, age-appropriate professional production is supplemented by curriculum materials and lesson plans provided for teachers to use pre- and post-show in the classroom. 

Rock Odyssey represents the heart and soul of the Adrienne Arsht Center’s institutional mission by engaging our community through the performing arts,” said John Richard, President and CEO of the Adrienne Arsht Center. “This unique program will give our community’s youth, many of whom have never set foot in the Center, an opportunity to experience the power of the performing arts first-hand. As we prepare to embark on our 5th year serving South Florida, we look forward to expanding our community outreach and educational programs through increased private sector support.”

Adrienne Arsht Center’s arts education programs are made possible by the public support of the Miami-Dade County Mayor and Board of County Commissioners, the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council.

February 24, 2010, 4:52 pm
Filed under: Miami Light Projects

The Adrienne Arsht Center’s Miami Made Weekend, March 5 – 7, promises three thrilling days packed with exciting mainstage performances and free, behind-the-scenes events, all spotlighting artists working and living in South Florida.  The weekend’s flagship showcase, Here & Now, co-produced with Miami Light Project, features three world premieres by local Miami artists commissioned jointly by the Adrienne Arsht Center and Miami Light Project to create new work especially for the festival.  Free, ticketed events include Incubator: works-in-progress; Outloud: play reading; and Talking Here & Now: panel discussions with leaders in the performing arts arena. 

Check out the sneak preview of the commissioned artists creating new work for Here & Now: 2010.

February 24, 2010, 4:47 pm
Filed under: Education

Thirty students from 11 Miami Dade County Public High Schools were the stars of the show on Friday February 12th in the Carnival Studio Theater.  Playing many jazz standards including “When I Fall in Love” and “It Don’t Mean A Thing If It Ain’t Got That Swing,” the Jazz Roots Student All Stars played to a near-capacity crowd in a special concert that was the culmination of a week-long arts-education residency with jazz great Ed Calle.  

With only 11 hours of rehearsal and lots of practice at home, the young people pulled out all the stops and played 12 songs for an enthusiastic crowd of friends, family and members of the community.  Under the expert direction of Mr. Calle, the solo and ensemble performances earned a standing ovation at the conclusion of the concert. 

The Jazz Roots All Stars, which required an audition to win a seat in the band, is a performance component of the jazz programs in the county schools and the Jazz Roots education initiative, which also includes behind-the scenes look at a pre-concert sound-check and free tickets to the concert that follows, plus discussions with acclaimed musicians, and individual and ensemble coaching by jazz professionals.

February 24, 2010, 4:43 pm
Filed under: Artist Talks

The reviews are in! Platanos & Collard Greens is a huge hit with Miami! With its soulful and laugh-out-loud way of addressing the meaningful and sometimes controversial issue of inter-cultural romance, the show has struck a chord with our community. More than 80 guests stayed after the show on Thursday, February 18, to participate in a community discussion entitled “Love Conquers All ” which focused in interracial relationships.

Questions and eager comments for our wonderful panel guests were plentiful. The discussion was moderated by the one-and-only Supa Cindy from 99 Jamz. She was a lively and entertaining moderator and was able to dig into the topic since her mother is Dominican and her father is Haitian. We also had Dr. Dionne Stephens, Assistant Professor of Psychology & African Diaspora Studies at FIU, Susan Abascal from Miami Urban Life and two cast members, Sandi Luna who plays Semana, the role of the Dominican mother, and Phillip Smith, who plays Freeman, the male lead.

February 24, 2010, 4:40 pm
Filed under: At the Center

Valentine’s Day was sweet for Livan Echevarria. Echevarria, a Miami hairstylist, won a new 2010 Volkswagen EOS in a random drawing on Feb. 14th that supported the Adrienne Arsht Center and its resident companies.

With romance and Rachmaninoff in the air, Echevarria’s name was plucked from 520 others during intermission of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s richly dramatic performance with music director Leonard Slatkin. Esserman International owner Ron Esserman announced the winning ticket from the First Tier balcony in the Knight Concert Hall lobby.

(L-R) Ron Esserman and John Richard

The award-winning hardtop convertible – on display for the past few months in the Adams Foundation Lobby at the Center’s Sanford and Dolores Ziff Ballet Opera House – was generously donated by Esserman International as part of Arts Odyssey, an unprecedented fundraising collaboration between the Adrienne Arsht Center, Miami City Ballet, Florida Grand Opera and New World Symphony, America’s Orchestral Academy. Chances for the car were sold for $100 each. Proceeds from the random drawing will be shared by the four Miami arts organizations.

Joining the exciting scene on the balcony, Adrienne Arsht Center CEO John Richard thanked Mr. Esserman for his outstanding support of the Center and the arts in Miami. Esserman is one of the Center’s founding donors.

The VW EOS coupe is aptly named after the goddess of wind and dawn, but it was music to the ears of this lucky winner.

February 24, 2010, 4:39 pm
Filed under: Artist Talks

NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman, along with Senior Deputy Chairman Joan Shigekawa, visited Miami on February 1, 2010, in his latest stop on the “Art Works” tour across America. Chairman Landesman was in Miami to learn the role of architecture and design in creating sustaining liveable communities, and over the course of his day, he was joined by arts advocates and patrons. 

The day’s events included a visit to the award-winning Design and Architecture Senior High School (DASH); a tour of the Design District and Wynwood Arts and Design District; a visit to the Little Haiti Cultural Center; and a stop at the Bass Museum. 

A roundtable discussion was held on the subject of “Greater Miami – A New Cultural Capital Shaped by Design, Architecture and Arts Pioneers.” The roundtable was hosted by The Wolfsonian – FIU, along with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs. The panel was moderated by Dennis Scholl, Knight Foundation’s Miami Program Director, and in addition to Mr. Landesman, included: President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities member and Adrienne Arsht Center Chairman J. Ricky Arriola; artist Edouard Duval Carrié; real estate developer and arts activist Tony Goldman; Adolfo Henriques, businessman and current chair of the Miami-Dade Cultural Affairs Council; Cathy Leff, Director of the Wolfsonian; and Michael Spring, Director of the Department of Cultural Affairs.

Topics included the ways in which the Adrienne Arsht Center has played a central role in enhancing the urban revitalization of the downtown entertainment corridor, and what Miamians need to do to continue the incredible growth in the arts. 

Chairman Landesman’s noted three areas of critical importance:

  • A strong public and private partnership of investing in the arts;
  • Making the case for the arts in our lives; and
  • Understanding that “art works” as part of the real economy.

“Art works” is part of the Chairman’s message – that art jobs are real jobs that are part of the real economy. With 5.7 million arts-related jobs in the United States, the arts is an economic driver, something Miamians and the city’s cultural leaders have come to understand. As Chairman Landesman suggested, if you bring art into a place, it changes the economy of that place.

February 18, 2010, 4:41 pm
Filed under: Out in the Community

Throughout the holiday season just passed, several Adrienne Arsht Center patrons held lunches at Prelude by Barton G. and Barton G. Weiss, himself, held a private dinner for The Barton G. Kids Hear Now Foundation. Launched in 2009, The Foundation was founded to assist in the health and continuing education of hearing-challenged children and their families, with an emphasis on the viability of cochlear implants, and vital therapy as an option for deaf children to become part of the hearing world. The Prelude event included the introduction of Kilian Hennessy’s fragrance line, with a percentage of Kilian sales donated to The Barton G. Kids Hear Now Foundation. 

More recently, Prelude by Barton G and Barton G. Restaurant on Miami Beach donated 5 percent of all receipts for an entire week to the Red Cross to help the victims of the earthquake in Haiti.

February 18, 2010, 4:39 pm
Filed under: Education

Hundreds of South Florida Students said “I Love You”—with music—this Valentine’s Day, thanks to the Adrienne Arsht Center, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.

The Adrienne Arsht Center set aside a limited number of discounted and FREE student tickets to a musical Valentine on February 14!  And the students came by caravan, bikes, motor-scooters, and busses to the Center to attend what has been called the most romantic symphony ever written, Rachmaninoff’s No. 2, performed by The Detroit Symphony Orchestra and conducted by the great American maestro, Leonard Slatkin!

Miami Dade College, Hialeah Gardens Middle School, Ferguson Senior High, University of Miami, and Florida International University, are among some of the schools who took advantage of this great opportunity. All involved share a commitment to introduce classical music to students through this effort, showing a generation of young people that this music is as accessible and as enjoyable as a pop concert.

What could be more romantic than an afternoon of beautiful music?

February 18, 2010, 4:35 pm
Filed under: AileyCamp

AileyCamp Miami 2009 brought 85 students from Miami-Dade County to the Adrienne Arsht Center to spend their summer learning about dance and themselves.  Three of these young people took this to the next level when they were invited to audition for the Academy of Arts & Minds Charter High School prior to the beginning of the school year. 

8th graders enrolled in the four-week AileyCamp last summer participated in a special class that was observed by Arts & Minds staff.  As a result some of the students were asked to apply to the school, located in Coconut Grove.  Three students, Brittany Gibson, Sydney Green-Cook, and Mackie Snell, followed through with the application and audition process and were offered places in the dance program in Art & Minds incoming freshmen class for the 09-10 school year. 

(L-R) Sydney Green-Cook and Brittany Gibson

Success was immediate for these former AileyCampers – each earning placements in level 2 and 3 classes and spots on stage in the school’s main stage performances.  The success of these students has promoted a more formal partnership between the Center and Arts & Minds. Due to their success, there will now be an 8th grader’s audition classes at the close of each summer’s AileyCamp to offer deserving students audition opportunities. 

And there was more good news for Mackie Snell. His family recently moved to North Carolina.  With the help of Arts & Minds staff,  Mackie received a full scholarship that includes tuition, room and board at the North Carolina School for the Arts, one of the top performing arts high schools in the country.  Our congratulation to Mackie and his family on this amazing achievement.

February 18, 2010, 4:18 pm
Filed under: At the Center

As a hurricane of celebrities, athletes and pop-stars hit the Magic City during Super Bowl week, the Adrienne Arsht Center could have easily been the eye of the storm! 

On Thursday, February 4 and Friday, February 5, a double-header power play took place at the Knight Concert Hall.  Grammy Award-winning R&B sensation NeYo and Grammy Award-winning hip-hop legend Nas brought down the house as their signature blend of cross-over Billboard chart favorites swung through the Adrienne Arsht Center’s magnificent venue. 

A pivotal moment in Adrienne Arsht Center’s history, NeYo and Nas are among the first R&B and hip hop superstars presented by the Center—illustrating the Center’s commitment to program a wide array of artists, from all corners of the entertainment industry, who represent and appeal to Miami’s uncommonly diverse community. Furthermore, these two powerhouse performers – groundbreaking artists at the peak of their form—was a great way for the Center to  kick off its Black History Month celebration, which also features the off-Broadway comedy Platanos and Collard Greens, a Free Gospel Sunday concert starring traditional gospel stars The Canton Spirituals,  and a joint Jazz Roots concerts by the legendary Al Jarreau and Ramsey Lewis.

With songs such as “Because of You” and “Closer,” Ne-Yo brought the house down with his memorable performance that had some dubbing him the new  Michael Jackson!  Rather a big comparison but NeYo did not disappoint.  With his 10-piece band dressed in classic formal attire, NeYo swaggered out in his tuxedo and bowler hat, took over the stage oozing charisma , and took “crowd participation” to a whole new level.  Interacting with fans, even taking photos with them while singing mid-key, it’s no surprise he’s been labeled the “best entertainer to watch”!

The following night came legendary hip-hop icon Nas along with a much-anticipated reunion tour of Goodie Mob, a quartet from Atlanta dubbed the “creator of Southern hip-hop.”  The late-night crowd was in full swing by the time Nas got on stage as he performed a powerful 70-minute set filled with his classic songs. And the crowd went wild with surprise appearances by reggae royalty Damian and Stephen Marley.  Nas and Damian gave the audience a quick preview of their upcoming album Distant Relatives.

It was a super two-night musical event: NeYo and Nas, two signature names in today’s pop culture,  graced the Adrienne Arsht Center stage back to back during the biggest and busiest week in Miami.  And we’ve got two words to describe both: Super Success!

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