Point of View

June 6, 2011, 3:29 pm
Filed under: About the Center, Volunteerism

The Adrienne Arsht Center offers internship opportunities for motivated, self-actuating young people in programming, marketing, production, operations and administration. So far, more than 55 students from around the country have participated in the Center’s program.

None of these internships are dreary paper-pushing positions. “Interning at the Center is a real-life experience. We don’t just simulate a workplace, we give you responsibilities and a body of work, and the expectations are pretty high,” says Trish Brennan, Vice President of Human Resources. For a young performing arts center, internships are one of the best ways to connect with communities by literally investing in talented and capable youths.

At 17, Claudia Cereceda, from iPrep Academy, has been working at the Center as a front-of-house intern twice a week since November and is “involved in just about everything,” reports Theater Manager Alice Fifelski. “She’s not treated as a kid, but as an equal. She’s one of us. She’s given responsibility, and she can handle it.”

The internship led Claudia to an evening in April when she served as house manager for one of the spring season’s flagship shows, The Sparrow. A job description for house manager at the Adrienne Arsht Center can read like an adventure novel. House managers are at the front line of making the theatergoing experience as pleasurable and rewarding as possible for every patron who walks in the door. They are often asked to make split-minute decisions to resolve unforeseen issues involving ticketing, seating, accessibility, and visibility—you name it—right on the spot—before, during and sometimes after the show!

Claudia tells us what her experience as an intern has meant to her.

What have you learned?

“Being the front-of-house intern has taught me so much about what goes into putting on a show. I’ve learned that there’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes that a regular audience member isn’t always aware of…and it’s quite a demanding job!

How has your time at the Center brought you closer to the community?

“One thing I admire about the Arsht Center is their commitment to community outreach programs. Events like the Free Family Fests are a great example of how the Center is working hard to spread culture into our community.”

In a sentence, how would you summarize the experience?

“I’ve been truly blessed to be able to intern at the Adrienne Arsht Center because the people here are so caring and they’ve all helped to make this a great experience for me.”


Few cities can offer—in an entire year—the depth and breadth of performances on our stages this month alone. Allowing us to accomplish this is the Center’s brilliantly conceived collection of halls and stages, all designed to bring out the best in everything from the most complex productions to the simplest and most intimate solos.

The John S. and James L. Knight Concert Hall is a sonic wonder. Its miraculous acoustical design gives it unparalleled flexibility. There’s no better place to hear large-scale orchestras and choirs—the experience is grand, impressive, overwhelming. Yet in that same hall you can also detect every nuance a solo artist might articulate—be they a classical pianist, jazz trumpeter, world-famous comedian or pop superstar.  The Carnival Studio Theater—with just over 200 seats—gives audiences a unique perspective—up close and personal. You can’t miss a beat when the performer is just inches from your seat. Our Sanford and Dolores Ziff Ballet Opera House is the envy of cities everywhere. It’s enormous, state-of-the-art stage, incomparable sightlines, and compact horse-shoe design makes it an ideal showcase for the grandest opera, dance, and musical theater performances.

February at the Center has been a veritable festival of programming: a Jazz Roots celebration of Miles Davis , the Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie playing Beethoven and Brahms, the Tony Award-winning actress Melba Moore in Crowns, Spain’s magnificent Ballet Nacional de España, the witty banter of NPR’s “Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me,”and much more. Finally, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater visit to Miami this week is all the more special as it celebrates not only the 50th anniversary of the ever-surprising Revelations, but also Judith Jamison’s final season as the iconic leader of one of America’s true cultural treasures.

This is just a taste of the brilliant 5th Anniversary Season we have planned for you, and I look forward to seeing your smiling faces.

October 12, 2010, 6:20 pm
Filed under: About the Center, Out in the Community

What has 7,000 people, 150 local arts and community service organizations, 8 bands, and 20 epicurean selections — on wheels?  The FALL FOR THE ARTS FESTIVAL!  An astounding 7,000 Miamians – from toddlers to seniors – took over the Adrienne Arsht Center campus for an afternoon of free performances on Sunday, September 12.  They interacted with exhibits from more than 150 local arts and service organizations, children’s activities, gourmet food truck treats, and unlimited opportunities to engage and volunteer with local non-profits.  FALL FOR THE ARTS FESTIVAL was an unprecedented collaborative effort to showcase the coming arts season, and celebrate the vibrant and diverse culture and community of Miami. 

During the course of the day, the Adrienne Arsht Center and participating organizations gave out more than 40,000 flyers and brochures and more than 150 arts and community service organizations connected with thousands of potential patrons.

CBS 4 anchors Lissette Gonzalez, Marybel Rodriguez, and Jawan Strader served as special guest MCs, and kept the vibe cool even on the sultry Miami afternoon. The free main stage performances by Grammy Award-winning urban Latino fusion band Ozomatli and New Orleans kings of funk Rebirth Brass Band had audiences on their feet dancing and cheering. 

Families filled the Adrienne Arsht Center’s Parker and Vann Thomson Plaza for performances on the family stage, face-painting, and craft-making throughout the festival.  On the family stage, Peru Expresion, Fushu Daiko, and the thrilling break-dance crew Flip Side Kings delighted and inspired audiences of all ages.  Inside the Carnival Studio Theater in the Sanford and Dolores Ziff Ballet Opera House, the Center offered free acting and break-dancing workshops.  Nearly 1,000 Miami kids attended, and learned to “pop and lock” with mom and dad watching – and sometimes even joining in the fun!

The Adrienne Arsht Center also offered free workshops and seminars throughout the day, with nearly 200 Miami community members in attendance.  The Center also called on their volunteer to ensure smooth operations throughout the festival, contributing more than 600 combined hours of service in just one day!

“The Adrienne Arsht Center was absolutely delighted to partner with The Miami Herald, El Nuevo Herald, the Knight Foundation, and our many media sponsors on this grand-scale festival, transforming our campus into a ‘town square’ for arts, culture, and meaningful community building,” said M. John Richard, President and CEO of the Adrienne Arsht Center.  “We feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to collaborate with the community in an impactful way, providing an opportunity for arts organizations to engage with the community, build new audiences, and hopefully to inspire Miami’s next generation of arts lovers.”

Link to UVU video http://ka.uvuvideo.org/_Fall-For-The-Arts-Festival-2010/video/1329944/86294.html

Meet the Arsht Center Interns
June 28, 2010, 9:25 pm
Filed under: About the Center

The Adrienne Arsht Center offers students the opportunity to be a part of its creative marketing team through its internship program each semester. Interns are guided through a learning experience as they participate in meetings, review budgets and brainstorm ideas. This summer, the Center’s marketing department welcomes a tremendously diverse and motivated group of young people.

Meet Youssouf Coulibaly, a Visual Effects and Motion Graphics student at the Miami International University of Art and Design. He applied for the internship hoping “to become a professional in Graphic Design” and “to learn the business.” While assisting the E-Commerce Marketing Specialist, Youssouf has been working on tasks such as design of layouts for placement on the internet.

Kristin Farnsworth, an International Finance and Marketing student at the University of Miami, arrived at the Center hoping to blend her interests. “This is an opportunity I saw to involve both my love of the arts and my interest in marketing,” she commented.

As a Marketing student at Florida International University, Zeinab Salmanzadeh came to the Center seeking to work within her field of study. “The most important thing to me is to believe in the product or service that I am marketing,” she says, “like what we do at the Center, where the community benefits from our service.” Since her first day at the Center, Zeinab has been assisting the Promotions Manager in preparing promotions for Tap Dogs, the tap dancing sensation!

Agustin Trotti has been assisting in creating event budgets and working closely with TV stations. A Marketing student at Florida International University, Agustin came to the Center looking for an internship that would not only allow him to develop skills in marketing, but also grant him the opportunity to apply his new skills.

An English student at Florida International University, Anna Xiques was eager to use her writing skills in her internship experience. “My interest in the arts and a desire to work in a creative environment led me to the Center,” she said.  “Working with the Center’s Creative Director on copy writing has helped me gain insight on writing skills that play an important role in marketing.” “I have been given the opportunity, on many occasions, to revise and edit written materials before they are printed. It is an honor to feel like such an important asset to this organization.”.

With a welcoming team and a lineup of promising shows and events, the internship program is proving to be an exciting experience.

For more information on Adrienne Arsht Center internship opportunities, e-mail kking@arshtcenter.org.

June 3, 2010, 7:15 pm
Filed under: About the Center

Some things are worth the wait, and this is no exception. On October 29th the Center will unveil the newly engraved Grand Donor Walls at a special 5th Anniversary Season Gala.

This summer, the names gracing these walls will be permanently engraved in stone, honoring the vision and investment of our founding donors. Current donors can upgrade their place on the wall, and new donors can still invest. But the window to be a permanent part of this historic landmark is closing soon, and the opportunity to be included among the 500 named donors ends June 30th.

Beginning with New York’s Lincoln Center, donor walls have been an integral part of world-class performing arts centers across the nation. The walls honor the people who bring to life and sustain these extraordinary centers that inspire and enrich the communities they serve. 

The Adrienne Arsht Center’s Grand Donor Walls will offer patrons a unique opportunity to contribute to the growth and development of an institution that is transforming Miami.

There is still time to be a part of this lifelong legacy.

For more information on how you can be a part of our Grand Donor Walls, contact Churé Gladwell, Senior Director of Individual Giving at (786) 468-2242 or cgladwell@arshtcenter.org.

May 24, 2010, 2:28 am
Filed under: About the Center, Awards and Recognition

Luxury lifestyle publication Haute Living  included four members of the Adrienne Arsht Center family on its annual list of  Miami’s most influential people.  Congratulations to all. 

Performing Arts Center Board Chair, Ricky Arriola – Mr. Arriola is CEO of Inktel Direct as well as Chairman of the Performing Arts Center Board of Directors.  A well–respected entrepreneur, he is credited with the Center’s recent financial success and getting the Center out of the red and into the black.

Adrienne Arsht Center Foundation Board Chair, Adrienne Arsht – For 10 years Ms. Arsht has served as Chairman of the Board of TotalBank of Miami.  Under her leadership TotalBank’s assets grew to over $1.4 billion.  In 2008 she donated $30 million to Miami’s performing arts center in order to place it on sound financial ground.  In recognition of her donation the Center now reflects her name.

Performing Arts Center Board Chair Elect, Mike Eidson – One of the most renowned trial lawyers in the nation, Mr. Eidson recently served as the President of the 60,000 –member American Association for Justice.  He is the Chairman Emeritus of the Board of Miami City Ballet and will take the reins of the Center’s Performing Arts Center Trust Board of Directors this fall.

Adrienne Arsht Center President and CEO, John Richard – In October 2008 Mr. Richard, an arts management veteran with more than 20 years of experience, became the Adrienne Arsht Center’s CEO.  Mr. Richard is at the helm of a first-rate management team that is committed to the financial success of the Center while making it world-class as well as community-based.

March 29, 2010, 2:59 pm
Filed under: About the Center

On March 4 & 5, 2010 a five-person Adrienne Arsht Center team of senior management attended the National Arts Strategies’ (NAS) presentation of “Leading Innovation” through their Business of Arts and Culture program in Washington D.C.  The team lead by John Richard, President and CEO, included Suzanna Valdez, Vice President of Advancement, Andrew Goldberg, Vice President of Marketing, Liz Wallace, Senior Programming Director and John Burnett, Vice President of Finance and CFO.  Attendance at the seminar was fully funded by NAS through the support of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Fidelity Foundation and The Kresge Foundation.  Other organizations attending included:  Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center of the University of Maryland, The Juilliard School’s department of Vocal Arts, Smithsonian Institution, and Hyde Park Art Center.  The Seminar was lead by Professor David Owens of the Vanderbilt University’s Graduate School of Management.  Professor Owens teaches graduate-level business courses in strategic management and innovation and is a former product designer and design engineer at IDEO, a premier global product engineering firm specializing in innovative thinking.

The seminar took the view that an innovation strategy should be a fundamental component of an arts organization’s overall strategy.  The aim was to help the organization’s leadership understand how the corporate environment and process for innovation affect artistic and strategic goals and how these factors both enable and constrain organizational success. 

The seminar started with a look at what is meant by innovation and an overview of a model to help an organization be intentionally innovative.  This included a general model of a process of innovation.  To further our understanding of how the innovation process works, we then looked at constraints that are inherent in the process.  These constraints include individual, group, organizational and external constraints.  An individual’s personal characteristics can be a help or hindrance in the creative process.  Group dynamics can also play a supportive or constraining role in the innovation process.  Emotion and culture can constrain a group’s willingness to generate, assess and improve its ideas.  The very act of organizing can cause organizations to excel at innovation or be systematically constrained in their efforts.  Group and organizational dynamics support and limit innovation.  Innovation is also affected by sector-level factors such as resources availability, competition and labor relations.  Also, national culture, demographic changes, societal mores and the political landscape can impact innovative efforts.  We concluded with a review of sector-level and societal dynamics that are critical to the arts and culture sector.

Innovation takes place within a complex organizational context, but it can be analyzed and understood through a structured framework.  The context for innovation can thus be improved upon by leaders to expand on organization’s core capabilities for management and program innovation.  A structured process for innovation can create a systematic ability to generate new ideas, identify the best ones and effectively put these innovations into action.

The Adrienne Arsht Center team truly enjoyed and was energized by the exercises and discussions at the conference.  Part of the team got to talk with Professor Owens while waiting for their plane home to warm Miami.  As John Burnett said “Dave Owens is really remarkable.  His energy and passion made “Leading Innovation” substantial and real. The case studies included corporate environments, and the way the discussion was structured made these cases relevant and incredibly applicable. The curriculum respected our industry.” The Adrienne Arsht Center team came back from Washington eager to use the process on numerous projects including the ongoing strategic plan, back-office enhancement plans and various marketing and fundraising initiatives.

January 28, 2010, 10:11 pm
Filed under: About the Center

The Adrienne Arsht Center strives to bring the very best in performing arts to the South Florida community.  The breadth of our programming reflects the diversity of our Miami community and  represents a dazzling array of  world class performing artists from all corners of the globe. We place great importance on programming that is relevant, accessible, and inviting for the widest possible audience living in and visiting South Florida

Supporting local performing arts  companies illustrates our view that “world class” and “local” are not mutually exclusive–some of the nation’s leading up-and-coming creative artists live and work in our own backyard! As we grow and mature as a cultural hub for our community, we have developed our programmingl with an eye topresenting on our stages the vast creativity and diversity reflective of the cultural mosaic that makes South Florida unique..

Since its inception, the Adrienne Arsht Center has proudly provided a global stage for three critically acclaimed resident companies—Florida Grand Opera, Miami City Ballet and New World Symphony, America’s Orchestral AcademyOur partnerships with the The Cleveland Orchestra and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater strengthens as they further immerse themselves in our community through the Orchestra’s annual residency education programs and Ailey Camp Miami. Furthermore, the Center has developed deep relationships with many South Florida artists, helping them in the creation of new work through commissions, access to artistic advice from Center staff, and public presentations.

This year, we are working with some bright, homegrown talent and local organizations in these efforts including award-winning local choreographer Rosie Herrera, award-winning local playwright Michael McKeever, , Dranoff International Two Piano Foundation, City Theatre Summer Shorts Festival and the International Hispanic Theater Festival, one of the jewels of Miami’s theater scene. 

In April, Miami’s Mad Cat Theatre Company and the Adrienne Arsht Center will team up for a co-presentation of Paul Tei and Marco Ramirez’, Broadsword, to be performed in the Center’s   Carnival Studio Theater. After their initial 2009 workshop production was heralded by critics, and a second workshop further developed the work at the Kennedy Center; the Adrienne Arsht Center will take on the risk of presenting the latest incarnation of this home-grown theater piece,, resulting in a win-win for both organizations, the playwright, and the community.

The Adrienne Arsht Center’s Miami Made Program, which expanded from a commissioning program into a full festival in 2009, funds free workshops of works in progress, readings of unproduced plays, and discussions with artists and arts professionals.  Additionally, it serves as a showcase of world-premieres 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. Here & Now annually subsidizes Miami’s most innovative, ground-breaking works, and marks the debuts of many promising local talents.

The Center’s new works range from the Center-produced Miami Libre, which featured dozens of South Florida’s spiciest musicians, singers and dancers, to the  current work-in-progress and collaboration with Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Rock Odyssey, which will première at the Center in April to every 5th grader in the County– that’s over 2,400 kids! – for free. The Adrienne Arsht Center expands the boundaries of “world class” performing arts by nurturing and supporting artists, particularly those working and living in our own community. 

More than 355,000 people attended performances at the Center last season. This season we anticipate half a million patrons will walk through our doors, and it’s our job to make sure that the programming contains something special, exciting, representative and personally compelling for everyone in our diverse South Florida community.

January 14, 2010, 4:03 pm
Filed under: About the Center

In December, Miami New Times saluted the Adrienne Arsht Center as one of Miami’s Ten Defining Moments of the Decade: “It was clear Miami was coming of age culturally, but we lacked a traditional, central arts center to host orchestras, ballets, Broadway shows, and the ilk.  BOY, DID WE GET ONE.  The Adrienne Arsht Center is the third-largest performing arts center in the nation, only behind one in Denver and New York’s famed Lincoln Center.”  

Last Spring, the Center proudly welcomed its one millionth patron and the Center’s many sell outs have included the 2008-2009 Jazz Roots Inaugural Season, while Fuerza Bruta, twice extended in the summer of 2009, became the longest-running touring production in Miami history.  In 2009 the Center also launched its first full season of music and dance programming, the first ever Ailey Camp Miami, in partnership with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Company, and the Grand Opening of Prelude by Barton G., Miami’s newest dining hot spot.  

The last month of the decade found the center in festive holiday swing with Broadway in Miami’s new family treat, The 101 Dalmatians Musical, playing its most successful national tour engagement to date  at the Ziff Ballet Opera House. Serphiac Fire performed Handel’s Messiah in the Knight Concert Hall and The John S. and James L. Knight Masterworks Season’s Sanford and Dolores Ziff Classical Music Series got off to a gorgeous start with a concert by  the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra. Capping off December was Miami City Ballet’s perennial holiday favorite George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker

January brings a new decade and legendary entertainers to the Center: Tony Bennett on the Knight Concert Hall stage January 8 is now the highest grossing one-night show in the Center’s history.  Bennett calls the venue “one of the most beautiful in the world.” Itzhak Perlman in Recital wowed a capacity audience on January 12. The 2009-10 Celebrity Chef Series ended with a BAM! January 9 with Emeril Lagasse, and 2010’s first Family Fest kicked off  with a special pre-sale and activities for Wicked, Broadway’s Musical Blockbuster, coming to the Ziff Ballet Opera House March 3-21, and a free performace of Cinderella by the Miami City Ballet School.  

The legendary Tony Bennett onstage at the Knight Concert Hall at the Adrienne Arsht Center.

2010 will see the opening of the Bombay Sapphire Lounge in the historic Carnival Tower.  And, for the first time, the Center presents off-site at the white big top at Bicentennial Park beginning January 19 with its co-presentation of Cavalia, a unique live entertainment featuring a magical encounter between man and horse.

With so many choices, a visit to the Adrienne Arsht Center could be the easiest New Year’s resolution you’ve ever made!

Building Endowment, Building Legacy
December 13, 2009, 8:42 pm
Filed under: About the Center

Building an endowment has become increasingly important as the Adrienne Arsht Center begins its fourth season.  A strong endowment will create a perpetual stream of funding support that will be used to enhance operations, present innovative programming, and help keep our world class facility like new. Endowment support will also enable the Center to continue presenting and producing original, high quality performing arts experiences that appeal to the diverse members of our community and have an impact on generations to come.  Ticket sales and other earned revenue alone do not cover all the Center’s operating costs.  To guide this movement, the PACT Board of Directors and the Adrienne Arsht Center Foundation established an Endowment Committee which is charged with authorizing investment guidelines for PACT Board approval, recommending asset allocation policies, recommending Operating Contribution policies and evaluating the endowment’s performance.  The committee members are four all-star investment professionals.


Photo by Robin Hill

  • Rob Barlick Jr., an Associate at Goldman, Sachs & Co where he manages investments for high net-worth individuals, endowments and foundations, has over $1.5 billion in client assets under his supervision.  He received his M.B.A. from Harvard Business School. 
  • Marko Dimitrijevic, founder, president and chief investment officer of one of the longest established hedge fund advisory firms, Everest Capital, has 25 years of experience in international investment management and research. He received an M.B.A. from Stanford Graduate School of Business, where he was an Arjay Miller Scholar.
  • Nathan Leight, co-founder of Terrapin Partners LLC and chief investment officer of Terrapin Asset Management LLC, has over 25 years of experience in asset management and investment banking.  Mr. Leight graduated cum laude from Harvard College.
  • David Rocker, founder of the hedge fund firm Rocker Partners, has over 40 years of experience as an analyst and portfolio manager. He received his M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.

Once the asset allocation policies have been established the committee plans to interview and hire professional asset managers.


Photo by Mitchell Zachs

“The Endowment will serve as another building block that will ensure that the Adrienne Arsht Center will continue to be a strong and integral part of the Miami-Dade County cultural life..” said John Burnett , Vice President of Finance and CFO for the Arsht Center.

%d bloggers like this: