The Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts wants you to come for the show and stay for the art.
With the help of a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the center has launched a permanent art collection and plans to sell limited edition prints in order to sustain the program.
On Oct. 26, the first new work — Red Poppies, a print from painter, printmaker and sculptor Donald Sultan — will be unveiled at the Miami building. Institutions including The Whitney, the Guggenheim and the Tate Modern in London have held solo exhibits of his art.
“I think it’s terrific for the space and the place,” said Sultan, who lives in New York City. “The main thing is that it helps raise money.”
The second work has already been commissioned, from art world darling and Miami native Hernan Bas. That print is set to debut early next year.
“We’re excited. It’s another moment in Miami’s evolution as a place that’s making art general to the community,” said Dennis Scholl, vice president/arts for the Knight Foundation. “Our goal is that everywhere you look, you have an encounter with art.”
The project kicked off with a $90,000 grant to be spread over three years from the Knight Arts Challenge; the Arsht Center is seeking $180,000 in matching grants. Arsht Center president and CEO John Richard said the project was a way to continue to emphasize art as a part of the facility; the Arsht partnered with the Lincoln Center two years ago to display works from the New York center’s List Art Collection.
Rather than creating additional partnerships with borrowed art, Richard said the goal of the Knight Masterworks Print Collection is to inspire the creation of new work. Prints will be sold for between $3,000 and $4,000 through the Benefit Print Project, which arranges for limited edition works to be created for nonprofit fundraising efforts.
Tom Lollar, a co-director of the company and former director of visual arts at the Lincoln Center, said the prints are “very collectible pieces,” signed and numbered by the artist. “It’s not like buying a poster at a museum gift shop,” he said.
Richard said he believes there is enough of a cross-section of fans of performing arts and visual arts that the new collection will get a warm reception.
“I think Miami is a city of culture vultures and there’s going to be a great appreciation simultaneously by people who appreciate both,” he said. “This is a really natural development.”