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.