New Town SquareMiami, FL
As thousands of the world’s art lovers prepare to descend on Miami for the 10th annual Art Basel Miami Beach on Dec. 1-4, the Adrienne Arsht Center kicks off a new season that shows the performing and visual arts are not mutually exclusive.
True to its New Town Square initiative, the Center will be hosting both traditional shows – Idina Menzel, the star of Wicked and Glee, in concert and Broadway’s Shrek The Musical – along with atypical events, such as a Stress Relief Comedy Jam and a gathering of gourmet meals on wheels called Food Truck Fridays, which has become a monthly excuse for downtown professionals and residents to descend from their high-rises and hit the street together. The Center also will be showing off its architectural design and the public artworks throughout its buildings in a free tour, both in English and Spanish, on Dec. 3.
Since its inception in 2001, Art Basel Miami Beach – the most important art show in the United States – has helped transform Miami’s cultural scene. Featuring more than 250 galleries and more than 2,000 artists, the international event has spawned numerous off-shoot fairs and events throughout the city. More than 40,000 visitors come to Miami for the scene, generating an estimated half-billion dollars in economic activity.
Last year during Art Basel, with generous funding from Knight Foundation, the Arsht Center featured the Merce Cunningham Dance Company’s Legacy Tour, which paid homage to the multi-disciplinary collaboration between Cunningham and visual artist Robert Rauschenberg. Exclusive to the Miami engagement were the Rauschenberg costumes worn by the dancers as well as the site-specific installation for the Ziff Ballet Opera House created by the Miami-based visual artist Daniel Arsham. In addition to the performance, which brought audience members onto the stage for viewing, the Center and the dance company reached out to the community through master classes, lecture-demonstrations and a “Merce Family Hour.”
As Art Basel has helped transform Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood – a former warehouse district where chickens once outnumbered artists – the Arsht Center’s New Town Square initiative aims to utilize the arts to continue the transformation of downtown Miami’s Arts District.