Jordan Levin’s excellent July 15 article, Behind the curtain: Edward Villella’s firing as Miami City Ballet boss, filled me with a mix of sadness and disappointment. It also brought back many memories. I moved to South Florida in 1984 and co-founded with my wife, Kimberly, New Theatre, a small arts organization that I led for 20 years until my retirement in 2006.
Since my arrival in South Florida and up until my departure for Cincinnati three years ago I saw a lot of water run under the proverbial bridge and many arts organizations go under. A short list would include: the Ruth Foreman Theatre, Jan McArt Theatre, Brian C. Smith Theatre, Area Stage, Acme Acting Company, South of Broadway Theatre, Coconut Grove Playhouse, Florida Stage and, most recently, Boca Raton’s Caldwell Playhouse, now in receivership.
To that list of theatres add Maximum Dance and Ballet Gamonet, among dance companies. The Coral Gables Art Museum at the Biltmore and the Cuban Museum are both gone. The Florida Philharmonic is no more. Am I leaving some others out? Probably.
The article maintains an even-handed tone. Kudos for that. I wish that things were different for and in South Florida, but every report I read on the fiscal state of arts organizations in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties is dismaying. I don’t think the fault lies with the artists at the helm of these organizations, but with their vastly uninformed and largely self-serving board members who micromanage and do little real fund-raising.
Rafael de Acha, Cincinnati