Point of View

December 10, 2010, 4:56 pm
Filed under: Awards and Recognition

The John S. and James L. Knight Masterworks Season  of dance, classical music and pops at the Adrienne Arsht Center wows Miami every season by presenting the world’s best orchestras, dance companies, and soloists.   Now the dynamic spirit of these creative masters—and the Masterworks series that brings them here—will be captured in art prints created by a recognized artist, with limited editions of the print available for purchase to benefit the Center.

The Adrienne Arsht Center was one of 27 South Florida artists and arts organizations to receive a 2010 Knight Arts Challenge Miami grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation this month, the second year in a row one of the Center’s ideas has won this award for artistic innovation. The $90,000 grant will help the Adrienne Arsht Center commission a prominent visual artist to create a work of art inspired by the Masterworks Season.  Each season, a new work of art by a different artist will be created, bridging the performing and visual arts worlds and building a series of commemorative prints that will be known as the Knight Masterworks Collection.

“It is thrilling for the Adrienne Arsht Center to embark on this new initiative – a creative endeavor whose reach will be felt well beyond the walls of our campus – creating a spectacular art collection that South Florida will be able to enjoy for years to come,” said M. John Richard, president and CEO of the Adrienne Arsht Center.  “We are extraordinarily grateful to the Knight Foundation for supporting our efforts to build a new tradition linking the power of visual and performing arts in a meaningful way for our community.” 

The Knight Foundation’s grant awards, announced in a ceremony on the Center’s Knight Concert Hall stage on Nov. 29, came as art lovers filled Miami for Art Basel and the Center kicked off its exhibit of the Lincoln Center List Art Collection, a retrospective of more than 30 works of art commissioned over the past 48 years by Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York. The works of Chuck Close, Jim Dine, Helen Frankenthaler, Robert Rauschenberg and other celebrated artists of our time are now on display throughout the Center’s halls, lobbies and public places, the first time this esteemed collection has been featured outside Lincoln Center. Galvanized by the historic art collection, the Knight Masterworks Collection will reflect the same inventive talent – Miami-style. 

Chuck Close; Self Portrait; 2007

“The List Art Collection has been part of the fabric of Lincoln Center’s culture and patron experience for nearly 50 years and remains at the forefront of art trends,” said Karen Davidson, Visual Art Director for Lincoln Center.  “We feel sure that the Adrienne Arsht Center’s Knight Masterworks Collection will follow this same pioneering path.” 

The matching grant that will help make this possible is the latest gift to the Center from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, whose generous support and mission to make the arts accessible to all of South Florida is evident in not only the name of the 2,200-seat Knight Concert Hall and the Knight Masterworks series, but in a significant number of projects that entertain and enlighten Miami’s diverse community, including the Center’s extremely popular Free Gospel Sundays series. Over the next few months, the Adrienne Arsht Center will consult with Thomas Lollar, Lincoln Center’s former director of visual arts, and select the first artist to contribute to the Knight Masterworks Collection.

“The Adrienne Arsht Center’s visual art series will reach into the talented ranks of Miami artists and give them a major venue to display their work,” said Dennis Scholl, Knight Foundation’s vice president/arts.

October 21, 2010, 7:18 pm
Filed under: Awards and Recognition, Board of Trustee

A reception was held earlier this month honoring the Performing Arts Center Trust’s Founding Chair Parker Thomson, who retired from the Board of Directors after more than 20 years of service. Former and current Board members gathered and thanked Mr. Thomson for his years of tireless dedication and unwavering perseverance.  Mr. Thomson was the first Chairman of the Performing Arts Center Trust’s Board of Directors and served faithfully on the Board for over 20 years. Among the accolades bestowed upon Mr. Thomson were a Certificate of Congressional Recognition from Senator Bill Nelson, a congratulatory letter from Governor Charlie Crist and a resolution by the Miami-Dade County Board of Commissioners declaring September 28, 2010 “Parker Thomson Day.” “Due to his leadership, the cultural landscape of Miami-Dade County has been forever transformed,” stated Valerie Riles, the Center’s Vice President of Board and Government Relations.

One of our community’s most brilliant lawyers, Mr. Thomson is a Partner at Hogan and Lovells and earlier this year he was named as one of Florida’s Super Lawyers by Law and Politics.

July 21, 2010, 2:33 pm
Filed under: Awards and Recognition

 This past month, the Adrienne Arsht Center was proud to accept recognition from Haute Living magazine for being one of the top 5 family-friendly venues of Miami. Distinguishing the Center as a welcoming and inspiring institution, Haute Living marks it as a family hotspot and a treasure trove of must-see performances. The magazine’s attention was drawn by the positive reaction of the Center’s summer musical for kids: Camp Kappawanna.


Just one year ago the Center’s Family Fest series was recognized by South Florida Parenting magazine as the best way to introduce kids to the performing arts. The standard then was set high, and the Center has lived up to its expectations and raised the bar even higher this summer season. The Center is continually striving to encourage excitement about the arts for young theatergoers. 

The world premiere of Camp Kappawanna was presented jointly by City Theatre (which commissioned the work) and The Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County. A celebration of timeless summer camp experiences, it featured hip, cool music and lyrics by Grammy® Award-nominated singer/songwriter Lisa Loeb and a script by rising national playwright and South Florida native Marco Ramirez.  The play was just one of many family-oriented performances at the Adrienne Arsht Center, and audiences can look forward to another year of theatrical fun for the whole family!

July 6, 2010, 7:45 pm
Filed under: Awards and Recognition

When John Richard arrived at the Adrienne Arsht Center as President and CEO in late 2008, he vowed to raise the organization’s prominence as one of the nation’s foremost presenters of arts education programs. He envisioned a day when the Center’s campus would be surrounded by a sea of yellow school buses. Today, less than two years later, the Center is earning public recognition for its mission-driven commitment to arts education initiatives.

Most recently, Miami Today, a leading local business and civic-oriented newspaper, included the Center and Richard in the education category of its annual ‘Best of Miami’ edition. The award stems from a nomination submitted by Miami-Dade Superintendent of Schools, Alberto Carvalho.

Adrienne Arsht Center President and CEO John Richard with fifth graders at Rock Odyssey performance.

The nomination honed in on the Center’s “Learning through the Arts” program, which exposes students to live theater in conjunction with their in-class curricula. As part of this initiative, this past spring more than 26,000 fifth graders were invited to the Center for free performances over two weeks of Rock Odyssey, an original musical production based on Homer’s Odyssey, created especially for elementary school students. A second installment of Rock Odyssey kicks off this fall.

As the Adrienne Arsht Center embarks on its fifth year, Richard and his team are redoubling the organization’s focus on arts education – with the goal of further advancing the Center’s mission and enriching the lives of students.

July 6, 2010, 7:44 pm
Filed under: Awards and Recognition

In the Miami New Times  “Best of Miami 2010” special edition, published June 16, Mad Cat Theatre’s new production of Broadsword, the first collaboration between the acclaimed Miami theater company and the Adrienne Arsht Center, was honored in two categories: Best New Play and Best Ensemble Cast.

Two of the Center’s most important goals are to seek out the best shows in the industry to present on its stages as well as to find opportunities to collaborate with local artists and theaters. In Broadsword, the Center found both when Scott Shiller, the Center’s Executive Vice President, saw the first incarnation of the play at Mad Cat’s Light Box theater and was thrilled by the artistic caliber of the show.  The Center approached the show’s creators—playwright and Miami-native Marco Ramirez (who’s now writing for TV’s “Sons of Anarchy”) and director Paul Tei (currently playing Paul on TV’s “Burn Notice”)—to propose a collaboration on a second production of the play. The Adrienne Arsht Center and Mad Cat Theatre co-presented the new Broadsword April 29 – May 9, 2010, at the Center’s much larger but still intimate Carnival Studio Theater, giving many more appreciative theatergoers a chance to witness Mad Cat’s dazzling brand of theatrical artistry.

Paul Tei (Left) and Erik Fabregat in the Broadsword premiere at the Adrienne Arsht Center

To top it all off, Broadsword was nominated for 5 Carbonell Awards and received high critical praise, including rave reviews in the New Times and the Miami Herald, which called it “must-see theater!”

It turned out to be a winning collaboration for all involved.

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 9, 2010, 4:41 pm
Filed under: Awards and Recognition

The Adrienne Arsht Center was awarded eleven ADDYs on Thursday evening by the Advertising Federation of Greater Miami, the local affiliate of the American Advertising Federation that represents 50,000 professionals in the advertising industry throughout the country.  That makes a grand total of 24 ADDYs in just two years!  The ADDY Awards is the industry’s most significant awards competition in the nation and honors companies and individuals whose talents exceed high standards and whose excellent work serves as a benchmark for the industry. The winners in Greater Miami go on to compete at a regional and national level.

“Winning eleven ADDY awards is a terrific honor for our marketing department and their partners. The ADDYs provide us with a great opportunity to demonstrate an approach to marketing that matches the creativity and sophistication on our stages. These awards validate our creative team,” stated John Richard, CEO and President of the Adrienne Arsht Center.

The winning Adrienne Arsht Center campaigns, selected from more than 600 submissions for local ADDY Awards, included the 2009 campaigns for Flamenco Festival, Fuerza Bruta, The Harder They Come, and others. The judges for this year’s ADDYs were flown in from around the United States representing a wide-range of innovative thinking.

Ricky Arriola Joins Committee on the Arts and Humanities
November 10, 2009, 6:42 pm
Filed under: Awards and Recognition

In a move that solidifies Miami’s place as one of the nation’s most dynamic and culturally-important cities, President Barack Obama has handpicked Performing Arts Center Trust chair Ricky Arriola to serve on his Committee on the Arts and Humanities.

Ricky Arriola HiRes

Ricky Arriola

The 26-person Committee – regarded as the nation’s preeminent body focused on arts and humanities education, cultural diplomacy, and economic revitalization through the arts and humanities – serves as a liaison between The White House and federal cultural agencies, as well as civic, corporate, foundation, and private funders that seek to further the nation’s investment in the arts and humanities. 

Other appointees include actors Sarah Jessica Parker, Forrest Whitaker, Alfre Woodard and Edward Norton, musician Yo Yo Ma, fashion luminary Anna Wintour, and philanthropist Teresa Heinz. First Lady Michelle Obama serves as the Committee’s Honorary Chair. Mr. Arriola is the only appointee from Florida. 

“I am confident that these talented individuals will be valued additions to our administration and will offer wise counsel in their respective roles,” said President Obama. “I look forward to working with them in the coming months and years.” 

As chair of Miami’s Performing Arts Center Trust, Arriola has been a driving force in the Adrienne Arsht Center’s emergence as one of the nation’s leading performing arts organizations. Today, the Center serves as a model public-private partnership, having balanced its budget for the second-consecutive year, paid off its last remaining bank debt seven years early, and elevated its role as a catalyst for economic development in Miami’s urban core.

“Ricky Arriola is one of the Adrienne Arsht Center’s most valuable assets,” said M. John Richard, President and CEO of the Adrienne Arsht Center. “As chairman of our board, Ricky has demonstrated an innate ability to at once set a clear vision for our organization while rolling up his sleeves and making a direct impact on Miami’s cultural community. I have no doubt that Ricky will apply the same degrees of leadership and passion as a member of the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities.”

The President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities has served every president since 1982. Achievements include the origination of the Presidential Medals in the arts and humanities; groundbreaking cultural delegations to China and Mexico; and the creation of signature programs, such as “Save America’s Treasures” and the “Coming Up Taller” awards, which recognize exemplary after school arts and humanities programs for the nation’s youth.

And the Award Goes to…
September 15, 2009, 9:32 pm
Filed under: Awards and Recognition

Since opening in 2006, the Adrienne Arsht Center has emerged as a cornerstone for the ongoing revitalization of Miami’s urban core. In addition to being a venue where people from all corners of the South Florida community come together to share the performing arts, the Center is a catalyst for community development. The support of both the public and private sectors has been integral in helping the Center sustain a high level of diverse programming, coupled with free performances and community events. Today, the community is realizing its return on investment in the Adrienne Arsht Center in the form of award-winning programs, educational initiatives, and area economic development. None of the awards listed below would have been possible without the strong support of the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners and the community-at-large.


• March 2009 The Adrienne Arsht Center took center stage at the Advertising Federation of Miami’s annual award ceremony, winning 13 gold and silver ADDY awards. The ADDYs recognize excellence in creative advertising and marketing.

• April 2009 South Florida Business Journal (SFBJ) named the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County the non-profit “Business of the Year.” South Florida Business Journal recognized five companies in the tri-county area for leading with confidence and demonstrating a commitment to their business goals, employees and the local community. The Center functions much like any other outstanding business nominated for this recognition. However, in the case of the Adrienne Arsht Center, community support – not profits or share prices – is fueling success. SFBJ selected the Center for its sense of collective community impact, sound fiscal management practices and commitment to serving the area’s diverse population.

• May 2009 The Center was awarded a 2009 South Florida Parenting magazine Kids Crown Award. Each year, readers vote for family-friendly places that they think offer the best activities, products and services in South Florida. This year the Center was recognized for its outstanding Family Fest series, selected as the best way to introduce kids to the performing arts.

• June 2009 Computerworld, the world’s leading source of information technology news, honored the Adrienne Arsht Center’s IT team with one of its most prestigious awards – the 2009 Laureate award, recognizing those whose visionary applications of information technology promote positive social and economic progress. The Center was selected for building a “future-proof” wireless networking infrastructure. This distinction marks the first time in the magazine’s 21-year history that this award was bestowed upon a performing arts organization. In addition to the selection as Laureate, the Center was a finalist for the 21st Century Achievement Award in the Media, Arts and Entertainment category.

• June 2009 The Adrienne Arsht Center was selected as one of South Florida’s top five venues by the South Florida Chapter of Meeting Professionals International (SFMPI) South Florida Chapter.

• August 2009 The Urban Land Institute’s (ULI) Southeast/Caribbean District Council named the Adrienne Arsht Center its 2009 “Project of the Year”. The award honors real estate projects that demonstrate positive community impact and sustainable land use. In selecting finalists for this award, ULI analyzed the Center’s performance as an engine for community impact, its role as a sustainable real estate project, and its success as a public/private sector collaboration

Adrienne Arsht Center is Named Urban Land Institute’s Project of the Year
September 2, 2009, 8:31 pm
Filed under: Awards and Recognition

The Adrienne Arsht Center has been selected as ‘Project of the Year’ by the Urban Land Institute’s Southeast Florida/Caribbean District Council. The ‘Project of the Year’ distinction – widely considered as the land use and development industry’s top honor – recognizes the real estate project that best embodies the mission of the Urban Land Institute: ensuring the responsible use of land in an effort to create sustainable, thriving communities around the world.

The Adrienne Arsht Center at night; Photo by Robin Hill

The Adrienne Arsht Center at night; Photo by Robin Hill

The award was presented during a special ceremony held on August 27, 2009 at the Seminole Hard Rock Resort in Hollywood, Florida. M. John Richard, President and CEO of the Adrienne Arsht Center, accepted the award on behalf of the organization.

“The Adrienne Arsht Center owes its success to much more than world-class performances; we are also a product of world-class design, construction, and foresight,” said Mr. Richard. “More than two decades ago, civic leaders, the cultural arts community, and the private sector came together and envisioned a venue that would entertain our community, host extraordinary programs for our youth, and spawn new investment in Downtown Miami, both public and private. That vision lives today in the form of the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts.”

The 2009-2010 ‘Project of the Year’ selection process evaluated nominees in the following areas: land use, community impact, public/private cooperation, and management. The Urban Land Institute received more applications for this year’s competition than ever before. Other finalists for ‘Project of the Year’ were the Fontainebleau Resort in Miami Beach, Florida and 55 Merrick Way, a mixed-use development in Coral Gables, Florida.

The Adrienne Arsht Center’s location at the center of one of the nation’s most dynamic urban centers was a key factor in its selection as ‘Project of the Year.’ Situated in Downtown Miami’s OMNI/Arts and Entertainment district, the venue’s campus straddles Biscayne Boulevard, one of Miami’s busiest traffic corridors. A product of infill development, the Center has been credited with attracting more than one-billion dollars of new investment to Downtown Miami.

arsht center lo res42

Civic leaders believe the Center has also been a magnet for new residents and visitors. “The world’s great cities are anchored by impactful cultural institutions, and Downtown Miami is no exception,” said Alyce Robertson, Executive Director for the Miami Downtown Development Authority (DDA), “With a growing number of people populating our urban core, cultural and entertainment offerings that bring residents and visitors together become all the more important. The Adrienne Arsht Center is mission-critical to Downtown Miami’s evolution into a vibrant, 24/7 urban district.”

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