The Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts stands as a pillar of community commitment to the development of art & culture in South Florida.
By Elaine Lembo
Pull out your 2016 datebook because one of the largest commissioned visual and performing arts series, 10@10, is set to launch – in celebration of the Adrienne Arsht Centers 10th Anniversary. The best part? It all takes place at the Center. This isn’t just a birthday party recognizing each year of robust programming — it’s a milestone in the history of the acclaimed venue.
The commissions will be original pieces from longtime Arsht Center collaborators, highlighting the rich cultural relationships the Center has fostered over the last 10 years and highlights the Center’s commitment to commissioning new work. In addition, an education or community engagement component will be incorporated into each new work to support the Center’s mission of making the performing arts accessible to all.
It almost goes without saying that such an extensive and ambitious undertaking couldn’t happen overnight; actually “One could say that our 10@10 commissions have been in progress since the center’s inception. We have a terrific and talented team of programming professionals, led by our vice president of programming Liz Wallace, who expertly crafted a series of world-class performances, including many premieres, that reflect Miami’s unique cultural mix.” says Arsht Center chief executive officer M. John Richard.
Robert Battle, artistic director of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, who months ago helped announce the ten original commissions that make up 10@10 with John Richard and then executive vice president Scott Shiller, will bring “Awakening,” his first piece for the company as director, to Miami on February 8, 2016. “The Arsht Center is certainly a marvelous edifice that hosts a variety of world-class performances, but more than that, I see it as a light for the entire Miami community, which I consider my home,” said Battle. “There’s a part of me that’s still that little boy growing up in Liberty City, who remembers vividly being forever changed by what I saw and felt the first time I experienced the Ailey company as a student in Miami. I hope that my new work, with its message of rebuilding and forging ahead, continues that legacy of inspiration.” Battle also plans to host two choreography workshops in 2016 for the local South Florida community.
The Commissioned pieces include:
Siklòn, a work commissioned by the Arsht Center for the Cleveland Orchestra and created by Israeli-born composer Avner Dorman. The Orchestra will give the world premiere performance led by Giancarlo Guerrero March 17, 2016. The piece will celebrate the diverse influences that contribute to Miami’s musical landscape.
Oh Vida! a tablao, or cabaret, in an intimate setting with tapas and drink service, that will feature a tribute to Cuban legend Beny More performed by Cuban-born Miami resident Gonzalo Rubalcaba and Spanish vocalist Esperenza Fernandez. In collaboration with Miguel Marin, founder of the international Flamenco Festival, the tablao takes place on March 4, 2016, during Flamenco Festival.
The world premiere of a new concert from the Arsht Center’s signature series, Jazz Roots -– performance slated for early in the 2016-2017 season.
A world premiere piece by the Haitian dance company Ayikodans, who found a home at the Arsht Center after the 2010 earthquake. It will be performed February 4, 2016.
Miami’s ultimate theater binge-watching experience: encompassing three commissions, The House Theatre of Chicago will present the Hammer Trinity, a trilogy of plays inspired by the mythology of King Arthur. The three plays will be performed in weekday repertory as well as a weekend marathon performance in March 2016.
“Miamor,” a new limited edition print by artist Kenny Scharf and the third installment of the Knight Masterworks Print Collection. The piece, part of the Center’s visual arts program, was showcased in December 2015 and joins Hernan Bas’ “Downhill at Dusk” and the collection’s inaugural work, “Red Poppies,” by Donald Sultan.
A new theatrical work will be created as an extension of the Center’s flagship arts education program. Once completed (launch date is 2017-2018) the musical, which will highlight innovation throughout American history, particularly the Wright Brothers and their pursuit of flight, will be performed free of charge for all 7th grade Miami-Dade County Public Schools students.
Richard’s devotion to making the Arsht Center Miami’s “new town square” is a double-pronged mission of remaining community-based yet world class at the same time. And it has been a lively adventure, for over the last decade the Center, the culmination of thirty years of vision and collaboration of public and private interests that cost $473 million to build when it opened in 2006 had seen its share of highs and lows. Things took a turn for the better in 2008, when banker and philanthropist Adrienne Arsht donated $30 million to the Center. Stages that had been left dark in summer 2007 now carried more than 125 performances seen by nearly 130,000 in 2008. Parking rose to 3,000 spaces.
Today the Center presents nearly 500 events annually across state-of-the-art performance spaces. More than 20,000 artists have entertained over 3 million guests. Operations have generated over $2 billion in economic impact. Some 30,000 young people annually benefit from the free arts education programs.
Central to its programs are 12 signature series, including the largest jazz series in South Florida, the biggest flamenco festival on the U.S. East Coast, and a robust program of new theatrical works as well as free programming for the community, from Free Gospel Sundays to Family Fest.
As Miami has evolved into a destination for arts and culture, so has the Arsht Center as a beacon for original programming that speaks to our diverse audience” says Richard. “We have helped introduce millions to new artistic experiences on our six state-of-the-art stages and through our robust arts education initiatives, and look forward to continuing to drive the development of the performing arts landscape for many more years to come.”
Tickets are now available for Ayikodans, Alvin Ailey’s “The Awakening,” Cleveland Orchestra’s performance of Avner Dorman’s piece Siklòn, the 2016 Flamenco Festival and The Hammer Trinity. They may be purchased through the Adrienne Arsht Center Box Office by calling (305) 949-6722, or online at www.arshtcenter.org.