Mitchell Kaplan to receive 2016 Artesmiami Lydia Cabrera Award

Mitchell Kaplan, founder of Books & Books Bookstore and co-founder of Miami Book Fair, will receive the prestigious ArtesMiami Lydia Cabrera Award on Friday, Oct. 14, at a luncheon presented by U.S. Century Bank, one of the top 10 Hispanic-owned community banks in the U.S.

The award, named in memory of Lydia Cabrera, world-renowned writer and expert in Afro-Cuban culture, honors individuals who have made a significant contribution to the cultural development of South Florida. It includes a $1,000 cash prize and a ceramics work of art by Miami artist Rodrigo de la Luz.

The luncheon will take place at noon at Fleming’s, 2525 Ponce de Leon Blvd. in Coral Gables. The cost is $125 per person and $95 for ArtesMiami benefactors (donors of $100 or more). It is the first time that a non-Hispanic receives this award.

Aida Levitan, PhD, ArtesMiami founder and president, and Luis de la Aguilera, president and CEO of U.S. Century Bank, will present the award to Kaplan at the luncheon.

ArtesMiami board directors, benefactors and more than 120 local leaders are expected to attend. Also invited are previous winners of the ArtesMiami Lydia Cabrera Award, including Nat Chediak, Carlos Alberto Montaner, Olga Connor, Luis de la Paz and Gloria Leal.

“Mitchell Kaplan has dedicated his life to keeping alive the literature and culture of our community and nation, ” Dr. Levitan said. “Thanks to his vision and his passion for the arts, Kaplan has enabled South Florida writers and artists to shine at Books and Books and the Miami Book Fair International.

“We especially want to thank him for his support of many Hispanic poets and writers who have been invited to present their works at his bookstore,” she added.

“U.S. Century Bank is proud to support ArtesMiami and this important award,” Mr. de la Aguilera said. “This award is essential because it highlights the position of Miami as a major cultural center thanks to leaders like Mitchell Kaplan, one of the great promoters of literature and art in South Florida. U.S. Century Bank supports and appreciates ArtesMiami because this organization enriches our cultural environment.”

Kaplan responded to the news of the honor, “I am very pleased to receive this recognition from ArtesMiami and to be the first non-Hispanic award recipient. I love this community, where I was born and raised, and its multicultural richness. What we have done at Books and Books is to give back to all the many who support our independent bookstores. I thank ArtesMiami for this great honor, which places me in very good company.”

Space is very limited so it is recommended that reservations be made for the luncheon right away at

ArtesMiami Inc. is a nonprofit, 501(c)3 organization dedicated to supporting and promoting Hispanic artists and cultural organizations, thus contributing to the cultural development of South Florida. For more information visit

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