Point of View


In Loving Memory – Dolores Ziff
January 24, 2011, 9:20 pm
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We are saddened by the passing of a very special member of the Adrienne Arsht Center family. Dolores Ziff was not only one of our Center’s major donors but also one of our most loyal patrons. Dolores had an indefatigable devotion to the arts and embraced the diversity of the Center’s programming. The passing of so great a woman will surely be felt throughout our entire community.

Her name is permanently engraved on our Donor Walls – and her spirit will live with us at the Center forever. The example she set will long continue to influence and inspire us.

This past January 18th, the Adrienne Arsht Center dedicated a performance by Joshua Bell in loving memory of Dolores and her surviving family: her beloved husband Sanford and the entire Ziff and Keator families. “Her boundless enthusiasm will be missed but she will always be with us in spirit,” remarked M. John Richard. Our thoughts and prayers are with them at this time. In addition, the Adrienne Arsht Center created a tribute page for the Sunday edition of The Miami Herald.

A memorial celebration of Dolores Ziff’s life was held at noon, Jan. 22, in The Church by the Sea in Bal Harbour. Dolores Ziff adored all flowers, especially peonies, but preferred donations be made to Camillus House in Miami.



HIGH SCHOOL VOLUNTEERS AT THE CENTER

There are a wide variety of opportunities for members of the community to volunteer at the Adrienne Arsht Center: as ushers, tour guides and wranglers, and as much needed support in the administrative offices, and at promotional events and outreach festivals throughout the city. In each case the volunteer is given wonderful insight into the business of guest and community service.

It’s particularly gratifying to see young people seek out and embrace these opportunities for involvement, and acquire the understanding that you always gain something, when you give something.

Recently, the Center had the pleasure of welcoming a group of 20 students of Miami Sunset Senior High School’s ESOL class (English as a Second Language), named the Close Up Club. The Close Up Club committed themselves to support the activities of the four-event FAMILY FEST, the Center’s ongoing series of free arts-related activities and performances, made possible by the support of Florida Blue Cross, Blue Shield and the Miami Downtown Development Authority.

Each student opened themselves up to the opportunity, unsure of who or what environment they might encounter, but with a great deal of courage and the desire to reach out and serve.

They ranged in ages, as did their proficiency in English – but they were unwavering in their committment to lend a hand. We are grateful to these fine young people, ready to challenge themselves, as well  as how the world sees them.

Nestor Cedeño, ESOL Department/Close Up Sponsor says, “I can say that as an ESOL teacher, I always tell my students that the best practice happens OUTSIDE of the classroom.”



INTERNSHIPS: A LEARNING EXPERIENCE IN THE ARTS

Have you ever wondered what happens behind the curtain at the Adrienne Arsht Center? There are more than 100 individuals who work in “backstage” careers that help to put a production on the stage. Many of these professionals had an “aha” moment which inspired them to pursue a career in the arts while participating in student internships at a performing arts organization.

The Adrienne Arsht Center wants to help high-school and college students find their “aha” moment with our Marketing Internship program. Every semester, the Adrienne Arsht Center’s marketing department takes on several students to share in the whirlwind excitement of promoting Center events and productions.   

In this program, interns don’t just alphabetize a file cabinet. Interns are introduced to the many facets of the performing arts and promotion process, focusing on many types of productions and events, budgeting, developing ideas, working with print, radio and TV and helping to plan communication strategies for various campaigns.  

Adrienne Arsht Center interns have come from schools nation-wide and leave the program with a ready-for-anything mind-set, strong business sense, and passion for theater. 

Adrienne Arsht Center Interns learn the value of the creative process as the underpinning of the theatrical industry while supporting the overall marketing efforts of a world-class performing arts center in one of the most diverse communities in the world. Examples of projects students have been involved with include everything from planning viral marketing campaigns and events to assisting with large-scale events like Fall for the Arts.

“More than anything, the program is a learning experience. It’s like trying on a job to see if it fits,” explains Trish Brennan, Human Resources Vice President. Brennan explains that because the experience acts as experimental work – a “trial run” of real life – interns usually “get hooked.” It is not uncommon that interns find their calling through this exposure, nor is it unusual for internships to turn into permanent, paid jobs.



EVERYTHING’S COMING UP ROSIE!
January 24, 2011, 9:18 pm
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What could be more Miami than Rosie Herrera?  Raised in Hialeah, a graduate of New World School of the Arts, this bilingual choreographer is equally at home performing in a South Beach cabaret or at the prestigious American Dance Festival in front of the world’s leading dance cognoscenti.

This past week, Rosie Herrera returned to her artistic home at the Adrienne Arsht Center with two Miami premieres and a company of dancers plucked from every corner of the Magic City – a b-boy, drag queen, ballerina, and gender-bender, just to name a few!  Her work represents a bright new voice in Miami dance theater, and points to the next generation of great artists living and working in South Florida.  Herrera’s two new pieces, Various Stages of Drowning and Pity Party, both co-commissioned by the Center and American Dance Festival, delve right into the soul of this young choreographer and the city she calls home. 

Click here to check out a video of Miami’s freshest crop of homegrown talent.



LOCAL STUDENTS WILL HELP “THE SPARROW” FLY AT THE CENTER

Created by the award-winning team at The House Theatre of Chicago, The Sparrow is one of the most original and acclaimed new works to emerge from the Chicago theater scene in decades. In April, the Adrienne Arsht Center presents this story of tragedy, triumph, superpowers and good ol’ fashioned high school popularity contests at the Carnival Studio Theater, April 7 – May 1.

The Adrienne Arsht Center is reaching out to Miami-Dade high school and college students in drama and journalism programs to engage them in this national hit play. On February 19, The Sparrow creator and House Theatre founder Nathan Allen will be chatting directly with students via Skype about the inner workings of the show. Journalism students will receive press kits, credentials and an invitation to review the show in the Adrienne Arsht Center’s first “student press-only viewing.” Some student journalists will have their reviews published in local publications, the upcoming Sparrow micro-site, and on the Adrienne Arsht Center’s POV newsletter blog!  

Drama students will not be left out! Allen will recommend scenes for classroom exercises and they will be invited to participate in the maiden “Ghost Class” program. Similar to Spring Awakening’s “Guilty Ones,” the “Ghost Class” is a group of young Sparrow enthusiasts who will build interest and spread the word about the show. From posting on Facebook, to passing out flyers, to creating viral videos on YouTube, these students will serve as ambassadors for the Adrienne Arsht Center and its highly anticipated production of The Sparrow. In addition to prizes such as tickets to the show and merchandise, one lucky “Ghost Class” member will be selected to win a walk-on role on Opening Night!



International Superstar Joshua Bell Wows Audiences at Adrienne Arsht Center

On January 18th, 2011, Adrienne Arsht Center audiences experienced a magnificent evening of classical music as violinist Joshua Bell, together with pianist Sam Haywood, joined forces in a spectacular concert of Brahms, Schubert and Grieg. 

The recital—their only appearance in South Florida this season—quickly evolved into mutual admiration between artists and listeners as audiences gave several standing ovations and Bell, before launching into the first of the evening’s three encores, said: “We’re having a great time here. This is a wonderful place!” 

The recital capped a full evening of activities surrounding this much-anticipated performance. The Adrienne Arsht Center hosted a pre-concert lecture about Bell’s career and his music, featuring host Julie Amacher from Classical South Florida 89.7FM, while immediately following the recital, the Center’s most enthusiastic supporters of classical music, the Encore Circle, were treated to a special VIP reception to meet Joshua Bell inside the Bombay Sapphire Lounge. Meanwhile, a sizable crowd congregated outside in the Thomson Plaza for the Arts to ask the evening’s star to sign their CDs and programs. Mr. Bell graciously accommodated the request of everyone in line, which by the end of the evening, had numbered more than 150.

Since his explosive debut at the age of 14 with Riccardo Muti and the Philadelphia Orchestra, Bell has enjoyed an international career as a leading soloist, chamber musician and recording artist.  He has been featured on the soundtracks of several notable films, including Iris, Music of the Heart and The Red Violin; the last of which earned an Oscar for Best Original Score.  Bell’s popularity spans well beyond the traditional classical music audience, as he has appeared on the Grammy Awards Telecast, “Late Night with Conan O’Brien,” “The Tonight Show,” PBS’s “Great Performances” and VH1. 

Perhaps his most recognizable performance, though, was the one in which he was purposefully trying to remain anonymous.  In January of 2007, Bell teamed with The Washington Post to create a social experiment that has since exploded across the internet, becoming an instant YouTube sensation.  At 7:51 AM on January 12, as residents of Washington, D.C. went about their morning commute at the L’Enfant Plaza Metro Station, Joshua Bell (clad in jeans, a long-sleeved T-shirt and a Washington Nationals baseball cap) began playing his 1713 Stradivarius violin, its case at his feet, in which Bell had placed a few of his own dollars as seed money.  For the next 43 minutes, Bell played six classical pieces while 1,097 commuters passed by.  Of those, only 7 people stopped to listen, 27 placed money in his case (a whopping 32 dollars and change), and only 1 individual recognized him — leaving 1,070 people whose daily routines were undisturbed by one of the world’s greatest virtuosos disguised as a street musician in their Metro station.  The experiment was turned into a thought-provoking cover story in The Washington Post by Gene Weingarten entitled “Pearls Before Breakfast.”  Weingarten’s controversial piece posed philosophical questions to Americans regarding aesthetic beauty, context, taste level, perception and priorities.  It was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing.

Bell continues to expand his audience with his most recent CD, At Home with Friends.  As in several previous solo recordings, this latest release features richly varied repertoire and collaborations with artists such as Tiempo Libre, (who recently played the Knight Concert Hall in the Jazz Roots series) Josh Groban, Kristen Chenoweth, Sting and Regina Spektor.  Bell even performs a violin/sitar duet with sitarist Anoushka Shankar.  Joshua Bell’s remarkable talent and eclectic musical interests have launched him to international superstar status.  The Adrienne Arsht Center is thrilled to have presented such an incredible artist to South Florida audiences as part of its ongoing John S. and James L. Knight Season/Sanford and Dolores Ziff Music Series 




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