Q. At some point there will be a big construction project or multiple construction projects going on around you — Genting’s project, Espacio, all of that. Do you know how that’s going to affect what you do here or are you planning for operating next to a lot of construction cranes?
It is a little bit unnerving to be navigating through the development of our neighborhood when it’s showtime and there are construction theaters around us building new facilities. ...Our advocacy is going to be toward the great complements of what’s already here and being sure that the idea and the concepts are all part of the Miami 21 master plan. That has been served well through the creation of the Town Square Neighborhood Development Corporation.
Q. Even just practical things like parking and pedestrians and the Metro and all of that, are you able to plan into the future or is it just not clear what the next six to 12 to 18 months are going to be like?
Yeah, we are. It’s planning for the unforeseen and planning for what we do see at the same time, and we’re deep into the appreciation of the change of the I-395 corridor. We’re very mindful of other development projects that are happening in the neighborhood, in the not-so-near neighborhood. And you take each project as it comes at you, and at the same time we’re advocating for projects that we want to be directly involved in.
Q. When you look at fundraising for this coming year, what are your priorities, and are you doing anything new or different?
We expand the base, and we have to expand the participation from individuals and businesses in our support for annual programs spanning all genres, so many different swim lanes. But part of our work is showing the fruits of success. In the five years I’ve been here, three different financial institutions have found swim lanes at the Arsht Center that they are co-branding with us: the Broadway in Miami series, which is Bank of America; TotalBank is moving its sponsorship into the Flamenco Festival, and Wells Fargo is going to be doing Jazz Roots. There were no banks five years ago.… And I believe we have found the comfort zone where they may be competitors, but with the Arsht Center as co-branding sponsors, there is the ability with the Arsht Center and with the corporate sponsor to distinguish the connectivity and to be marketing successfully without it being competitive.
So on the corporate side we are gaining participation, we’re going to build upon that, it will help us to share with other companies the opportunity to be fully engaged in co-branding sponsorship arrangements.
And with foundations and individuals underwriting performances and underwriting series — so the Knight Foundation, it provides us with a challenge grant for the Masterworks series. And the Masterworks series, we have successfully over the last four years taken over that program genre, raising $600,000 in support of that series from individuals and foundations with sponsoring and underwriting specific concerts. ... That is sort of a prototype of how we are approaching all of our series, with sponsorship underwriting and specific events being underwritten. That carries over into arts education and community engagement as well.
The real effort now is understanding and developing relationships with the over 200,000 households who have at least attended a performance here. And we are looking carefully at the experiences people have and building on the good experiences that have been generated as a result of the quality of our presentations, the programming responses that have occurred....