Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts
The Ziff Ballet Opera House on opening weekend, as seen from across the street at the Knight Concert Hall
|Former names||Carnival Center|
|Address||1300 Biscayne Blvd.|
|Public transit||Adrienne Arsht Center (Metromover)|
|Type||Performing arts center|
|Capacity||Sanford and Dolores Ziff Ballet Opera House: 2,400
John S. and James L. Knight Concert Hall: 2,200
Carnival Studio Theater: 200
|Opened||5 October 2006|
|Florida Grand Opera|
Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, commonly called The Arsht Center, is Florida's largest performing arts center and is located on Biscayne Boulevard in the Omni neighborhood of Downtown, Miami, Florida, United States. It is the second largest performing arts center in the United States.
The Center was partly built on the grounds of a former Sears department store; it was an Art Deco building constructed in 1929, predating the Art Deco hotels on Ocean Drive. It was added to the United States National Register of Historic Places in 1997 as Sears, Roebuck and Company Department Store. However, by 2001, the only surviving part of the original structure was a seven-story tower built by Sears, the space's successor. The department store space itself had been demolished. It was decided to preserve the tower and incorporate it into the new performing arts center.
The Center opened as the "Carnival Center" with a grand opening on October 5, 2006 with many famous performers, politicians and movie stars attending, including Gloria Estefan, Jeb Bush, Andy García and Bernadette Peters.
On January 10, 2008, it was announced that philanthropist and business leader Adrienne Arsht donated $30 million to the facility that would make it financially stable. In recognition for the gift, the former Carnival Center for the Performing Arts was renamed "The Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County", or the Arsht Center for short.
In December 2008, M. John Richard joined the Center as President and CEO after more than 20 years at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC). Under his leadership, the Arsht Center has come to call itself Miami’s "New Town Square."
In 2011, four influential community leaders announced the founding of the Town Square Neighborhood Development Corporation (“TSNDC”) -- a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and independent entity that will oversee the development of Miami’s emerging Arsht Center District. TSNDC is led by a small but powerful volunteer board: Armando Codina, chairman of Codina Partners, as chair; Manny Diaz, former City of Miami mayor, as vice chair; Michael Eidson, chairman of the Performing Arts Center Trust Board of Directors and partner of the South Florida law firm Colson Hicks Eidson, as treasurer; and Parker Thomson, founding chair of the Performing Arts Center Trust Board of Directors, as secretary. Working in partnership with neighboring communities, the TSNDC takes an active role in overseeing the development and redevelopment of the Arsht Center district by advocating for best solutions as infrastructure is developed; addressing future Arsht Center expansion needs; and supporting the Arsht Center itself as a catalyst to improve the livability of the surrounding urban neighborhoods through cultural programming and entrepreneurial business ventures.
Events and performances
The Center is known as a presenter of world-class performances, an openly-accessible community resource, a source of education for children and adults, and a catalyst for economic growth in downtown Miami. In 2013, the Center marked its sixth consecutive fiscal year with a balanced budget.
The Arsht Center’s community-based mission has led to the launch of new programmatic series that feature the top artists from around the world and across South Florida. Series include Jazz Roots, the Knight Masterworks Season - Ziff Classical Music Series and Ziff Dance Series, Theater Up Close, Live At Knight, Flamenco Festival and more. The Center hosts approximately 400 performances and events each year which attract an average of 450,000 people to Miami’s urban core. More than 85% of the performances at the Center are presented by the Center.
The Center’s internationally acclaimed resident companies, Florida Grand Opera, Miami City Ballet and New World Symphony, and America’s Orchestral Academy present many of their Miami performances at the Center.
The Center also offers many free community-based performances and programs designed to make the performing arts as accessible to as wide an audience as possible. These include free Family Fest series, Free Gospel Sundays and more.
Since its inception, the Center has supported South Florida artists and the creation of new work through commissions, access to artistic advice from Center staff and other arts professionals, and public presentations. The Center also collaborates with local arts presenters to support culturally and artistically diverse entertainment.
Education programs, many of which are planned with Miami-Dade Public Schools, Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs, the resident companies, and community-based organizations, offer unique opportunities for young people and adults to learn about and enjoy the performing arts both in the Center and out in their communities. Examples include Ailey Camp, a six-week full scholarship summer camp which debuted in 2009 and the Learning Through the Arts program, which provides live music, theater and dance components via the public school system’s Passport to Culture initiative. Rock Odyssey is the flagship of the Learning Through the Arts program and bring 25,000 fifth graders to the Center every year to enjoy a live rock-and-roll musical based on Homer's Odyssey - all free of charge to students and schools.
The $470 million Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, part of a gradually progressing redevelopment project in downtown Miami, has spurred more than $1 billion in economic impact in the neighborhood.
There are three main venues:
- Sanford and Dolores Ziff Ballet Opera House which seats 2,400.
- John S. and James L. Knight Concert Hall
The concert hall seats 2,200. Its stage extends into the audience and there is seating behind the stage for 200 additional spectators or for a chorus. The orchestra level can be transformed into a "Grand Ballroom" with a festival floor configuration for dining and dancing for up to 850 people. The floor is installed over the seats.
- Carnival Studio Theater
A flexible black-box space designed for up to 200 seats.
In addition, there are two smaller multi-purpose venues:
- Peacock Rehearsal Studio holds 270 people.
- Parker and Vann Thomson Plaza for the Arts, an outdoor social and performance space linking the two main houses across Biscayne Blvd.
The Adrienne Arsht Center Presents a diverse group of more than 400 performances each year, all selected and presented by the Center's in-house programming team.
These series include Broadway in Miami, Jazz Roots, the Masterworks Season (Classical and Dance), Flamenco Festival Miami, Live at Knight, Miami Made Festival, and the Center’s Summer Season, among others.
The Center’s internationally acclaimed resident companies: Florida Grand Opera, Miami City Ballet and New World Symphony, America’s Orchestral Academy present many of their Miami performances at the Adrienne Arsht Center.
The Center also offers many free community-based performances and programs designed to make the performing arts as accessible to as wide an audience as possible.
Resident companies and programming
The Arsht Center’s community-based mission has led to the launch of new programmatic series that feature the top artists from around the world and across South Florida. Series include Jazz Roots, the Knight Masterworks Season - Ziff Classical Music Series and Ziff Dance Series, Broadway in Miami, Theater Up Close, Live At Knight, Flamenco Festival, Free Gospel Sundays and Family Fest.
Broadway in Miami Series
The 2013-2014 Broadway In Miami series is supported by the Bank of America and includes We Will Rock You, Elf the Musical, Once, Warhorse, Evita and Blue Man Group. Past shows have included: Mary Poppins; STOMP; Fela!; Les Misérables, the 25th Anniversary Production; Rock of Ages; Memphis; Priscilla, Queen of the Desert; The Addams Family; Shrek, The Musical; Million Dollar Quartet; Come Fly Away; The Lion King; the 2009 revival of Hair; In The Heights; Jersey Boys; Disney's Beauty and The Beast; Dreamgirls; RAIN – A Tribute to The Beatles; Forbidden Broadway; Spring Awakening; Mamma Mia!; Wicked; 101 Dalmatians Musical; Oprah Winfrey Presents The Color Purple; Chicago; Cirque Dreams Jungle Fantasy; Cats; Annie; The Wizard of Oz; Avenue Q; Monty Python's Spamalot; Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street; My Fair Lady; Twelve Angry Men starring Richard Thomas and George Wendt; Wicked; Chita Rivera: The Dancer's Life; RENT; Dirty Rotten Scoundrels; and The Light in the Piazza.
- Lopez-Bernal, Gabriel. "What’s in a Name? A whole lot more than you’d think…", Transit Miami, 2007-05-23. Retrieved on 2009-07-09.
- Tommasini, Anthony. "Miami Vivace: New Arts Center Opens Its Arms", The New York Times, 2007-02-04. Retrieved on 2007-02-04.
- "Donation prompts Carnival Center renaming", South Florida Business Journal, 2008-01-10. Retrieved on 2008-01-12.
- Arshts Center's official website
- Dade County listings from National Register of Historic Places
- Performing Arts Center of Greater Miami at Florida's Office of Cultural and Historical Programs
- Performing Arts Center District