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ArtPlace spoke with Rebekah Lengel, Managing Producer for Miami Light Project, about The Light Box at Goldman Warehouse, about Miami Light Project’s partnership strategies.

ARTPLACE: Who outside your organization has been key to your ability to move your initiative forward?

LENGEL: The success of Miami Light Project and The Light Box at Goldman Warehouse, is due to very strong partnerships with key stakeholders in our community. The decision and belief in creating a space like The Light Box- one that is a home for emerging artistic talent; where artists nationally, locally and internationally can develop new work; a creative work space shared by multiple non profits in an effort to create stronger and more collaborative business models; and a place for the general community to truly learn and experience art and art making in a meaningful way, directly from artists, is only possible with the buy in, support and belief by a large group of people. MLP has been very fortunate to have great partners in our landlord, Goldman Properties, our amazing Board of Directors and several key funders, including the Miami-Dade Department of Cultural Affairs, the Knight Foundation and the Ford Foundation.

In Tony Goldman, the late CEO of Goldman Properties, we were so fortunate to find a business partner who shared the vision of arts being essential to the development of a neighborhood. His experience in redeveloping SoHo and South Beach hinged on a success recipe that always had art as a central component. His support in the vision that MLP had for The Light Box at Goldman Warehouse was enormous- without him, and his willingness to support our goals and become a partner in our plans, we would not be here today. We had the vision and the experience as cultural presenters and producer- he was a builder of neighborhoods- his team knew the mechanics of zoning and building, and remain willing to lend their expertise whenever we ask.

ARTPLACE: What role does a funder play in these partnerships?

LENGEL: It’s easiest to simply point out the financial support that Foundations and other funding entities play in the development of spaces and artistic initiatives; however what is often not highlighted is the expertise that they lend. Truly, a funder wants to see an initiative succeed long after the funding cycle comes to a close- as such, we have found wonderful partnerships with our lead funders who have championed our work to other funding colleagues and also have very willingly shared their entrepreneurial, business and artistic expertise as we develop our own best practices for our new business model.

ARTPLACE: Are there secrets to good partnerships?

LENGEL: Shared goals are certainly important, but trust is key. Throughout our development of The Light Box, we have had very candid and clear conversations with all of our stakeholders; this has given us the opportunity to make sure that we all remain on the same page with our vision and goals. As in any relationship, business partnerships must be honest and genuine with their intention and goals, as well as reciprocal. As non profits, we are often the askers, but we mustn’t forget the strength that we have and all that we have to offer our partners; whether it be our artistic excellence, producing skills and innovative practices-we are, after all, often pros at making every dime, event and effort stretch to return the greatest impact!

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