Hundreds of South Florida’s philanthropic, business and civic leaders convened for the Adrienne Arsht Center’s annual Gala on Friday, Apr. 26.
Harry Connick Jr., one of the entertainment world’s most celebrated, multifaceted talents performed an intimate concert on the main stage of the John S. and James L. Knight Concert Hall.
A highlight of the evening was the surprise announcement that Gala chair and Arsht Center Foundation board member Swanee DiMare and her husband Paul DiMare would make a $1 million gift to the center, marking the first major donation by a Miami philanthropist in response to a recent anonymous challenge gift. The stage in the Knight Concert Hall will be named in their honor.
“Swanee and Paul DiMare are model philanthropists,” said Mike Eidson, chair of the Performing Arts Center Trust Board. “This momentous gift is a clear indication that the DiMares understand the impact that our strong public-private partnership is having in our community and our need for private financial support.
“Their gift will continue to fuel our education and community engagement programs, ensuring the arts remain a transformative resource for our children and families. Renaming the Knight Concert Hall stage in their honor is a well-deserved token of recognition that will symbolize their generosity for generations to come,” Eidson added.
“Harry Connick Jr. performing as our headliner helped us break Arsht Center fundraising records, making this the most successful Gala in the institution’s history,” said Swanee DiMare, event chair. “Paul and I could not be more excited to be a part of the Arsht Center family. This is an institution we plan to support for many years to come, and we encourage our community to do the same.”
The institution’s name benefactor, Adrienne Arsht, served as the honorary Gala chair. Co-chairs Margaret and Mike Eidson, and Rick Schatz, chair of the Adrienne Arsht Center Foundation, also were part of the gala leadership committee.
The center created a signature Arsht experience for nearly 400 guests, offering an intimate Gala evening inside one of the world’s great concert halls starring one of today’s most successful artists. Connick performed hits from the Great American Songbook, wowing the audience with his voice and charming sense of humor. He praised the hall’s acoustics, noting it was among the best-sounding venues in which he has ever performed.
Visit www.arshtcenter.org for more information.