Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Art deco

I just returned from Miami where their new performing arts center is shooting for an October 2007 opening. Since a fall 2001 groundbreaking, it's said to be about 92 percent complete. Interestingly, they began talking about building a performing arts center in Miami around 1980, the same time as Tampa.

Cost for the south Florida complex now is estimated at $446 million. The original construction estimate was $260 million. By most accounts, Miami's Performing Arts Center will be a spectacular addition to downtown Miami. The complex's 570,000 square feet sit on 5.9 acres on Biscayne Boulevard.

"The 2,400-seat Sanford and Dolores Ziff Ballet Opera House and the 2,200-seat Carnival Concert Hall will be Miami venues for the Concert Association of Florida, Florida Grand Opera, Miami City Ballet, and New World Symphony, as well as premier venues for a wide array of local, national, and international performances ranging from Broadway musicals and visiting classical artists to world and urban music, Latin concerts, and popular entertainment from many cultures," according to the center's web site. "The Studio Theater, a flexible black-box space designed for up to 200 seats, will host intimate performances of contemporary theater, dance, music, cabaret, and other entertainment."

Its acoustician is Russell Johnson of ARTEC, Inc., who did the same job for our Center here in Tampa.

Reading about their project made me appreciate anew the foresight of those Tampa dreamers who moved to action and opened this facility in 1987. Cost then was $57 million for three theaters (and space in the building for a fourth, which was opened in the early 90s.) Since then, the Patel Conservatory, including a fifth performance space, opened in December of 2004 for another $8 million.

We're looking to serve our one millionth patron soon, and beginning to plan our 20th anniversary celebration. I hope you'll come celebrate with us.

- Michael K

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