Miami Arts on the Move

By Michael Kaiser

Owing to a series of coincidences, I have spent a great deal of time in Miami over the past year. I have completed a two-year teaching program for arts managers of 60 local organizations, I have been consulting with YoungArts, a national organization that gives talented high school students remarkable opportunities to learn and develop and I have been working with Miami City Ballet to create a sustainable financial foundation.

In every case, I have been excited and energized by the artistic community in Miami.

When one lists the ten largest arts organizations in the ten largest cities in the United States, one notices that Miami is not home to the biggest arts organizations in the nation. Only one, the Adrienne Arsht Center, has an annual budget larger than $30 million. But one should not read too much into these statistics. Miami's arts organizations seem to be on the move, energized by the growth of the city and the diversity of the population.

Unlike in many other cities, where the arts are suffering and trying desperately to hold on to audiences and donors, many arts organizations in Miami believe their best days are ahead of them.

The New World Symphony has an astonishing (relatively) new building, designed by Frank Gehry, which makes the art accessible to all through an outdoor video screen and features a flexible concert hall with state of the art multi-media capabilities.

YoungArts just purchased the iconic Bacardi building and is set to create a campus for young artists and their mentors to work and perform.

The Miami City Ballet is emerging from a period of turmoil and has renewed vigor and new leadership.

The Arsht Center is becoming an important presenter and home to a comprehensive education program.

Teatro Avante's International Hispanic Theatre Festival has been going strong for 27 years and the Little Haiti Cultural Center has brought the community together for three summers with its African Diaspora Dance and Drum Festival.


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