CriticalDance Forum

Miami Performing Arts Center - Publicly Venting
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Author:  osiris661 [ Tue Jul 04, 2006 10:17 am ]
Post subject:  Miami Performing Arts Center - Publicly Venting

Alright, I have been meaning to write about this for some time now on this board and this morning, (Happy 4th everyone :) ) I have the time.
As you can probably tell from my profile, "Location: Key Biscayne" I live in sunny south florida. Land of never-ending development and the finest examples of ecological destruction anywhere in the USA. I was born and raised here and have watched this city slowly evolve into something that I just can't even describe. All I know is that it isn't the south florida I knew 15 years ago, or for that fact even 8 years ago. OK, enough of my ramblings about the general area and onto my point.

Miami Performing Arts Center Announces Plans for Grand Opening Weekend: "A Once-in-a-Lifetime Celebration" October 5th-8th, 2006. Four Days of Unforgettable Performances and Free Entertainment to Celebrate the Most Anticipated Event of 2006!

This is an announcement about the new performing arts center slated open here in downtown Miami this coming Fall 2006. Everyone seems really excited about the new center and fully anticipates it to put Dade County and many of its resident cultural organizations on the cultural map. I for one think this is a GIANT mistake and waste of taxpayer's money. There are a number of reasons I make this statement, let me explain. I know not everyone on this board is from south florida but for those of you who are, have you seen these structures???? I just can't get over the size of them, and with giant glass facades on three sides for each building, within a stone's throw from Biscayne Bay no less. For anyone that was around last year for "Wilma" or "Katrina" do you remember what the "Greenburg Taurig or Colonial Bank" (both with glass facades) buildings looked like after the cane's blew threw? If you don't remember, just go downtown right now and you can still see the hundreds if not thousands of boards covering up those two building's missing windows, and this is 10 months after our last cane season. Oh, I almost forgot the downtown courthouse with all of its STILL missing windows, I don't know who designed the Miami Performing Arts Center but it is a disaster waiting to happen. Additionally, why the overtown arena/omni station area? This is probably the worst place for a performing arts center to be put in all of dade county outside of Liberty City. For one, TRAFFIC! Second, it is very difficult to park anywhere near the facility without paying 10.00 or higher to do so, anyone remember the HEAT games at the American Airlines Arena right down the street? I know they are developing like crazy in that area (as they are everywhere) but it will be a miracle if all those condos sell, especially at the prices they are asking. There is a crisis at the moment with real-estate here in south florida and it aint gonna change anytime soon. Developers are being quoted in the paper's saying things like, well the downtown overtown arena area will re-vitalize the entire area thanks to the new performing arts center and all of the new high-rises. Nothing could be farther from the truth!
Now for my main point, "this is not an arts supportive area!", I wish I was wrong but I know this area, well, I know the dance companies and the kind of audiences/numbers they attract. This last year I attended 8 different dance performances here in Dade County. At all of them you easily could have purchased 40 or 50 tickets. One in particular, at the tiny Colony Theatre in the highest traffic area of south beach you could have purchased about 1/2 to 3/4 of the house's unoccupied seats. Why build a huge giant performing arts center when you can't fill venues like the Gusman? I would rather see my tax dollars go towards directly supplimenting the resident arts organizations in the area rather than build a structure that; won't sell enough tickets to justify the existance, potentially blow away or become structurally destroyed in a Cane which is inevitable, and give condo developers another excuse to build buildings that won't sell and cause an ecenomic downturn in the area.

OK, so there it is in a nutshell, feel free to write and prove me wrong, but remember this, time will tell.

Author:  osiris661 [ Thu Aug 24, 2006 1:15 pm ]
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Well, the MPAC grand opening is about a month away. I drove past the building yesterday and they are pretty much complete with the exterior construction, glass and all.

410 Million tax-payer, public and private dollars for this complex. I just can't believe it, that is almost half of a billion dollars. Imagine the endowment that could have been created for local area arts organizations with that money and how long it would have benefited all of them.

2700 seats for the ballet/opera hall is what I heard. I will be there (weather pending of course) October 5th through 8th for the grand opening. Anyone else on CD going???

According to news reports, the cleveland Orchestra is in town helping to tweak the acoustics of the center for ideal sound quality. I wonder if it is the entire Cleveland Orchestra or just some of them. The Cleveland Orchestra is pretty big.

Author:  osiris661 [ Sun Aug 27, 2006 10:24 am ]
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Well, the first CANE of the season is on its way, Ernesto is right below us here in the sunshine state. It could make landfall on Tuesday here in Dade county, or just miss us and go out into the gulf. Last update I saw had the pressure dropping and moving north northwest at 8 miles an hour. Hopefully it won't hit us and affect the opening of the MPAC.

Keeping an eye on this one :shock: :shock: .

Author:  osiris661 [ Mon Mar 26, 2007 1:09 pm ]
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Here are some interesting follow-ups,this town never ceases to amaze me! Both of these links are from the Miami Herald, one of our finest tabloids.

"Miami arts center is $3 million in red"

Performing arts center's miscues and red ink

I must admit, I thought they would atleast get through the first year without publicly stating losses or serious administrative problems. What a complete waste of money, IMHO.

Author:  LMCtech [ Wed Mar 28, 2007 12:33 pm ]
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I have a question.

Who is performing in this space?

Author:  Francis Timlin [ Wed Mar 28, 2007 12:44 pm ]
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LMCTech: can you fix the links to the Miami Herald articles so we can read them? Thank you!

Author:  osiris661 [ Thu Mar 29, 2007 10:38 am ]
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Sorry about the coded links, I had them starting with http:// but for some strange reason that would not allow you to copy and paste them bringing up the proper URL, I don't know why but that is the reason for them starting with www. However, you should be able to copy and paste the link as it is with the www. into your browser to navigate to those pages.

Anyway, regarding your question about "who performs there" LMC.
In the few months since the center's opening we have had a few dance companies visit including Merce Cunningham and American Ballet Theatre, as well as Miami City Ballet from accross the bay. I don't know specifics about all the programs but I do know that when american ballet theatre was just here their ticket prices were between 40.00 and 140.00 and the center lost money on them. I myself didn't go to see them and most balletomanes i know down here didn't go either because of the high ticket prices. I know people will see this and say 40.00 isn't bad to see a live performance but those ticket prices are for seats WAY up and you can't see well at all. Add the high cost of the ticket prices with the high cost of the parking and you are easily looking at a couple hundred dollars for the evening.

Did anyone notice the surplus of funds the center raised from "Parking" revenue in the newspaper article breakdown? 600% over projected expectations, yes, that is right, over 600%. The geographic area is just not ideal for this center, it is a VERY dangerous area of town, many people are wary about going there at night and I don't blame them, if they do go, they don't dare park on the street.

Aside parking and the bad location the biggest underlying problem facing this performing arts center is that this town will not be able to support a year-round performing arts center. That is not to say that south florida does not have/showcase fine arts and cultural activities but the audience for that is very small compared to our over-all population. This is mostly a tourist town, and all the tourists goto miami beach or out to clubs, or both, not much else. The rest of us who actually reside here are the ones that would keep a center like the Carnival Center afloat. Unfortunately, the planners for the Carnival Center didn't do their homework or just plain didn't care because there is sooooo much past data you can look at to know what the potential audience base would be for a performing arts center in Dade-County. Prior to its opening many argued that the "World-Money" population of Dade-County would support the center. What these people didn't factor into that equasion is that the "World-Money" population is only here for a few months a year on average. The hard reality is that the center was put on a parcel of land which is located in what is called the "Over-Town" area. It is a very depressed area with lots of homelessness, drugs, and crime on the streets at night, you walk 200 yards in any direction from the center and you are in a BAD area of downtown Miami. This is the primary reason for the unexpected "Security" costs outlined in the newspaper article breakdown. The reason that the planners choose this area is because there are probably 10 to 15 high-rise condo developments going up right next to the center as I write this message and the Carnival Center was supposed to be the corner stone for the developers to help sell this real-estate. Only problem is, they can't even sell a quarter of those units now because of the inflated property value, over-development, and current housing crash here in south florida. So, the immediate area remains unnocupied except for the street element at night, and, the center is loosing money hand over fist. In the end, local tax dollars will be poured down an already gigantic hole, all in the name of the arts.

The big questions is, what happens to our existing local arts organizations because of this? Surely, the half of a billion dollars the county has allocated for the center would have been put to much better use had those organizations received the money directly.

Author:  LMCtech [ Thu Mar 29, 2007 10:59 am ]
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The links work now.

Here's another article while we're at it.

Miami's arts center needs cash in a hurry

Thanks, osiris for your local's view. I always trust our criticaldance eyes on the street more than a newspaper article. What a disaster. It sounds like something got pushed through a committee very fast on a shallow promise and a percieved political gain. Makes me mad. And it will probably just succeed in making a more difficult fund raising atmosphere for the established arts organizations because of the public's once-bitten-twice-shy attitude that will probably develop.

Please keep us up to date about how this affects all you real artists down there.

Author:  osiris661 [ Fri Mar 30, 2007 8:52 am ]
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Thanks for fixing the links LMC, I didn't realize that I could just post direct html links, I thought that wasn't allowed with newspaper articles, hhmmmm.

You beat me to this new article that came out yesterday. I love how these local politicians compare Miami's recent building boom to that of NYC when they built such locations like Carnegie Hall, Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Zoo, and the Subway system. They are definitely living in a different Miami Dade County than I am. I could go on and on about the area and our many many local political and financial problems but that is not really dance related so I won't.

One thing is for sure, we have a BIG beautiful state-of-the-art performing arts center down here, right on the water. Come on down and check it out! We spared no expense!

Author:  LMCtech [ Fri Mar 30, 2007 11:46 am ]
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I smell some bitter herbs....

Are high ticket prices dictated by the venue or the company performing there? $40 for a nosebleed seat to see ABT seems a bit much. Nosebleeders at the SF Opera House are only $25. 'Course that buildings been paid off for a while.

Author:  ksneds [ Fri Mar 30, 2007 5:54 pm ]
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The high prices for ABT are at least in part dictated by the theatre, since ABT is a 'guest' company at the Met (which 'belongs' to the Met Opera). I've heard - though not had it confirmed - that ABT has to give over a sizeable chunk of both ticket profits and profits from sales of merchandise during intermissions to the MET. So I think they are given basic price structures and then tack on their own overhead, which must come from some complicated equation balancing their need for $$ and what they think people will pay.

As an interesting contrast, for the spring season as part of the Lincoln Kirstein celebration, a grant has been given to the NYCB so that all Row C-O fourth ring seats will be at half price ($15) for the every performance during the season. I can't think of a better way to honor a patron of the ballet!


Author:  osiris661 [ Sun May 27, 2007 11:28 am ]
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Carnival Center Seeks 4 Million from Dade
The Carnival Center for the Performing Arts wants $4 million in hotel bed taxes to stay open through September<br>

Here is the URL to read the story

Author:  LMCtech [ Tue May 29, 2007 2:08 pm ]
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Sheesh, insult to injury....

Osiris, any word from the street? Do you think Dade Co. is receptive?

Author:  osiris661 [ Sun Jun 10, 2007 11:17 am ]
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Osiris, any word from the street? Do you think Dade Co. is receptive?

The word on the street from the locals has been one of disgust long before this complex was completed. It has been that way for a variety of reasons, many I have outlined in this thread from earlier posts. At this point I don't think much can be done because the complex has already been built. I guess they can try to restructure the operations of the complex to atleast not go into the red but other than that I am not too sure how else you can remedy the long list of problems that plague the new performing arts center.<p>

It is funny, last night I took a bike ride to Miami Beach and my route takes me directly in front of the performing arts center before I go over the McArthur Causeway. As I was on my way back home at about 10:30/10:45 PM I passed by the loading dock of one of the theatres, I think it was the main hall and not the ballet/opera house. While going past the side entrance to the loading dock which is approximately two semi truck sizes tall and wide and about 50 yards from where I was riding my bike on the sidewalk I nearly froze from the amount of air-conditioning that was pouring out of the back of the theatre onto the street from the loading dock area. In fact, there were a few homeless people sleeping right there, more than likely because of how nice and cool it was. I just started to laugh to myself because it is just unbelievable that this kind of neglegence is taking place. I guess they did not take into account the cost of air-conditioning the street area around the complex. This is obviously a mistake on someones part but because of it they probably went through a couple of hundred dollars just last night with the electricity costs to air-condition outside of the theatre. Additionally, there are lights and Plasma TV's all around the complex that remain powered on constantly, even whn the theatre is "dark", simply put, it is gross neglegence. Eventually the center and its planners are going to have to sleep in the bed that they have made for themselves. Many of us locals down here in Dade County will be watching.

Author:  LMCtech [ Mon Jun 11, 2007 11:37 am ]
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Wow, that IS bad. It would seem heads will need to roll to start the process of recovery...

Please keep us updated. I'm fascinated.

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