It’s been a decade since Adrienne Arsht’s $30M contribution to Miami’s cultural life

It's been a decade since Adrienne Arsht’s $30M contribution to Miami’s cultural life

Adrienne Arsht and Mike Eidson are pictured at the Arscht Center
(Photo by Seth Browarnik

Miami-Dade County’s performing arts center opened its doors in 2006, but it was not until Jan. 10, 2008, when national business leader and philanthropist Adrienne Arsht made her historic $30 million gift, that the young center’s future was secured. In recognition of her foresight and commitment, the center was named the Adrienne Arsht Center of the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County.

“The sheer impact of Adrienne’s gift on the Miami community over the past 10 years is extraordinary,” said John Richard, president and CEO of the Arsht Center. “Her landmark contribution helped secure the Arsht Center’s future and paved the way for advancing our cultural and diverse programming as well as our award-winning arts education programs, and catapulted the Arsht Center into one of the most renowned performing arts centers in the country.”

Arsht first became involved with the center through its foundation and pledged her initial gift in 1998 in the sum of $250,000, which went toward funding Water Scores, the fountains created for the outdoor Parker and Vann Thomson Plaza for the Arts. Subsequently, Arsht made additional gifts funding many milestone occasions, including the center’s groundbreaking event.

In the years since her $30 million contribution, Arsht has continued to invest in the Arsht Center, Miami’s cultural crown jewel. She has provided $5 million which has raised an additional $10 million from community philanthropists. As honorary chair of the 10th anniversary Gala in 2016, she once again challenged the philanthropic community to support the Center by matching every $100,000 gift.

The challenge raised more than $2.5 million, making it the center’s most successful gala.

“Following Ms. Arsht’s landmark gift, we’ve welcomed millions through our doors for enlightening performing arts experiences,” said Ira Hall, chair of the Performing Arts Center Trust Board of Directors. “Today, the Arsht Center is woven into the fabric of our Miami community, serving as a cultural hub that educates, invests and produces programming with emerging talent.”

During the decade that has passed since Arsht’s contribution, the Arsht Center has more than fulfilled the promise to offer diverse and high-value programming that appeals to audiences of all ages and backgrounds. The Arsht Center also hasserved as a performance home for its three resident companies, provided educational arts experiences for 300,000 children, hosted 17 world premieres and commissioned 17 new works from high-caliber artists such as Alvin Ailey’s Robert Battle and composer Avner Dorman. In the past 10 years, the Arsht Center has welcomed more than four million guests and generated more than $2 billion in economic impact.

In 2016, during the Center’s 10th anniversary, it reached three big milestones: first, it launched a series of 10 commissions called “10@10” to commemorate its first decade, which became one of the largest number of commissions to be completed all in the same year by a performing arts center less than 10 years old.

Then, the Center’s AileyCamp Miami program received the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award, which is the nation’s highest honor for creative youth development programs. Finally, in 2017, the Center launched its first ever STEAM-focused musical for seventh graders, called Kitty Hawk, which serves as part of the Learning Through the Arts program.

“There is no greater gift to bestow upon a community than complete access to the arts,” said Tony Argiz, chair of the Adrienne Arsht Center Foundation. “Adrienne’s gift will forever positively impact future Miamians while continuing to inspire homegrown, new talent.”

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