Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami Hosts 15th Anniversary Reunion Gala

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Dean Colson, Aileen Ugalde, Tharrie Zietsman, Johann Zietsman, Adrienne Arsht, Conchi Argiz and Tony Argiz at the Adrienne Arsht Center Annual Gala 2021 at Arsht Center on May 22, 2021 in Miami, Florida. Photo by Sergi Alexander / Eyeworks Production.

The Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County hosted its 15th Anniversary Reunion Gala on May 22, 2021. The Gala’s Honorary Chair was Adrienne Arsht; Gala Chairs were Tony & Conchi Argiz and Aileen Ugalde & Dean Colson. The greatly anticipated celebration reunited arts supporters who have been longing to reconnect with each other and with the live performing arts for more than a year.

Set in the heart of downtown Miami, the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami- Dade County is committed to welcoming and connecting ALL people to the arts, to the Arsht Center and to each other. Its stages are alive year-round with artists from around the world, innovative programming from our resident companies and local arts partners, free community events that reflect Miami’s unique identity and arts education experiences for thousands of Miami children each year.

Mayor Daniella Levine Cava with Dr. Robert Cava and Adrienne Arsht.

Since opening in 2006, the Arsht Center, a 501C3 non-profit organization, has been recognized as a catalyst for billions of dollars in new development in the downtown area, a leader in programming that mirrors South Florida’s diversity, a host venue for historic events and Miami’s hub for arts education.

Each year, they serve more than 50,000 young learners and offer more than 100 culturally diverse and inclusive education programs — many enhanced by the Arsht Center’s relationship with Miami-Dade County Public Schools, local teaching artists and Miami-based arts organizations.

Michelle Adkins and PACT Board Member Rodney Adkins.

The Arsht Center is also a home stage for three resident companies — Florida Grand Opera, Miami City Ballet and New World Symphony — and a launch pad for local artists to make their mark on the international stage. Their 300+ events each year include the Center’s Signature Series of classical, jazz, Broadway, local theater and much more. We present a robust series of touring Broadway musicals direct from New York, the largest jazz series in South Florida, a major annual Flamenco Festival and an award-winning Miami-based theater program. In addition, our Family Fest, Free Gospel Sundays, CommuniTEA LGBTQ+ celebration and Heritage Fest are among dozens of free events that bring together people from all corners of our community.

Chucho Valdés Performs at the Adrienne Arsht Center 15th Anniversary Reunion Gala.

Hosted in limited capacity to ensure everyone’s health and safety, the 15th Anniversary Reunion Gala welcomed 165 South Florida arts and culture supporters and community leaders to celebrate the arts and raised more than $1 million to support the Center’s arts education and community engagement programs, including AileyCamp Miami, Rock Odyssey, Kitty Hawk and the newly announced The Ninth.

The introduction of The Ninth, the third and final component of the Arsht Center’s award- winning Learning Through the Arts program, inspired Kimberly Green, Mireille Charles and the Green Family Foundation to donate $15,000 to support its launch. Premiering in 2022, The Ninth is an immersive theater and hands-on workshop experience that will tour Miami- Dade County public high schools to reach up to 25,000 ninth graders. The Ninth will be the first arts-driven, youth mental-health-awareness program of its scale in the nation.

Kimberly Green and Matt Argondizza.

“The Green Family Foundation recognizes the importance of good emotional psychological and social wellbeing in teens, influencing their interaction with others and their ability to handle stress and social interactions. The Arsht Center is uniquely positioned to reach Miami-Dade County’s teens through innovative and creative interventions. We are proud to support their efforts,” said Kimberly Green.

Richard Milstein and Eric Hankin
Donna Johnson and AACF Board Member Eric G. Johnson.

The evening also included support for an expansion of the Center’s internship program. Benefactor Adrienne Arsht announced from the stage a donation of $25,000 annually for four years to support the Arsht Interns program and challenged guests and the community to match the gift. Beginning in 2022, the Center’s Internship Program will become fully paid, reducing financial barriers and making this important career opportunity more accessible to all.

Ms. Arsht’s gift inspired additional on-the-spot matching donations with more than $300K raised during the evening’s efforts.

Trish & Dan Bell with Adrienne Arsht.

The Arsht Center Gala began with an outdoor cocktail reception on the Thomson Plaza for the Arts featuring Pommery Champagne and Bacardi cocktails followed by a special viewing of Lasting Impressions: The 3D LED Experience, a next generation installation of sight and sound that transports guests into more than 100 of the world’s most recognizable masterpieces using one-of-a-kind technology, directly on the Ziff Ballet Opera House’s 18,000 square foot stage. Guests were then treated to a fabulous dinner inside the Knight Concert Hall and an incredible live performance by Latin Jazz legend Chucho Valdés and his quartet. The quartet was generously sponsored by Tony & Conchi Argiz.

Mayor Francis and Gloria Fonts Suarez.
Nancy and Jon Batchelor.
Adrienne Arsht with Scott and Jessica Goldman Srebnick.

Additional event highlights included a standing ovation for more than 100 local healthcare heroes who also attended the Gala thanks to the generosity of University of Miami Health System. “In these challenging times, these heroes have tended to our physical health while the Arsht has tended our soul. It is such a joy that we all get to experience the uplifting power for the performing arts together. We have much to celebrate and be grateful for,” said Aileen Ugalde, Chair of the Arsht Center’s Trust Board of Directors.

Cheryl and Y. David Scharf.
Lucille Zanghi and James Dow.

The past year has underscored the importance of philanthropy as an anchor of sustainability in turbulent times. Donor support has made it possible for the Arsht Center to continue the mission-critical work of providing free programs and initiatives that connect all members of our community to the arts during a time when we need it the most. Proceeds from the Gala will ensure the programs continue to serve the community in 2021 and beyond.

The Arsht Center’s 15th Anniversary Reunion Gala was supported by Bacardi, Pommery and The Miami Herald.

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