[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he Phillip and Patricia Frost School of Music at the University of Miami was awarded a $7.5 million grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation during a Mar. 8 community gathering at the Perez Art Museum Miami.
Alberto Ibargüen, president and CEO of the Knight Foundation, announced the funding. It will be used to name and support construction of a new John S. and James L. Knight Recital Hall at the Frost School of Music, located on UM’s Coral Gables campus.
This generous gift — when combined with other donor pledges, including $2 million from the Paul J. DiMare Foundation and $1.2 million from Dorothy and David Weaver — will enable the Frost School of Music to move forward with the final design and construction of the estimated $15 million project.
Knight Foundation’s naming gift also puts the Frost School of Music over its $40 million fundraising goal for Momentum2: The Breakthrough Campaign for the University of Miami.
The Frost School already is considered one of the top music schools in the country and will now “build a high-tech recital hall befitting its reputation,” Ibargüen said.
He announced the gift in conjunction with a total $25 million Knight Foundation investment in South Florida that also includes $5 million for the Perez Art Museum Miami, and $5 million for the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami. The balance will be allocated to fund challenge seed grants via the Knight Arts Challenge in South Florida through 2018.
“Great art defines and lifts the soul of a community. The arts create a sense of place and help bind us to each other with common experience. They help us explain the way we feel and represent who we are,” Ibargüen said. “Knight’s goal is to help build the community we all want to live in, a community where art is general and available to everyone, in all of our neighborhoods.”
The new Knight Recital Hall at the Frost School of Music, which is planned to seat approximately 200, will be designed for live acoustic and recorded music presentations, live streaming, multi-camera video projection and other high tech capabilities that will help meet the growing interactive performance needs of students and faculty of the Frost School, as well as the surrounding community.
The school presents more than 350 high quality concerts, recitals and events each academic year.
“This incredible endorsement from Knight Foundation will enable the Frost School of Music to build its vision of the recital hall of the future, with emphases on how to bring young audiences to classical and other treasured art music, partner with other arts organizations both regionally and nationally to premiere interactive multimedia creations, and broadcast the creativity of our students and faculty in groundbreaking ways,” said Shelly Berg, dean of the Frost School of Music.
Knight Foundation’s generosity recently has funded other key institutions in the Miami region, including a naming gift for the John S. and James L. Knight Concert Hall at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, and major support for New World Symphony, Miami City Ballet, and Miami International Film Festival. Through the Knight Arts Challenge it continues to fund grassroots artists and arts organizations annually “that are providing fresh and innovative work so that everyone has a chance to make their idea a reality.”
The Frost School of Music was a recipient of a $500,000 Knight Arts Challenge grant three years ago to build its Henry Mancini Institute’s “HMI: Outbound” community outreach music program, to bring high quality genre-blending chamber music programming to Fairchild Tropical Garden and numerous public schools in Miami- Dade County.
The University of Miami recently dedicated its new Patricia Louise Frost Music Studios, a 41,089-square-foot twin-building complex featuring 77 multi-purpose chamber music and teaching studios, two extralarge studios, a reception and information center, and a furnished breezeway. Designed by award-winning architects Yann Weymouth and HOK and built by Skanska USA, the facility is touted as the first building project in Coral Gables designed to achieve LEED Platinum certification, with sustainable features such as energy-efficient windows, rooftop solar panels, and cisterns that reduce water and electricity usage.
The complex was made possible by the benefactors, Phillip and Patricia Frost, whose landmark gift back in 2003 renamed UM’s music school in their honor. Featuring a new grand entrance into the school, the studios honor Patricia Frost’s lifelong commitment to music education as an elementary school principal and higher education advocate.