Arts executives at two downtown organizations have formed the Miami Downtown Arts District, a nonprofit association aimed at fostering community engagement with the downtown and Brickell arts districts. Sean McCormick of the gallery and event venue McCormick Place Miami will serve as president, and Lee Ann Lester of Next Level Fairs will be vice president.
The group wants to serve cultural institutions, museums, galleries, local artists and studios, as well as businesses, event venues and restaurants that showcase the work of South Florida and international artists. The aim, Lester said in a statement, “... is to provide artists, gallerists and the public with dynamic art venues, regular art programs, and education to the greater Miami metro area.”
Among the organizations giving initial support to the group are Artisan Lounge, Life Is Art, MDC Museum of Art + Design at the Freedom Tower, Dimensions Variable, Stephen Gamson Studios, SeaFair, McCormick Place Miami, CU-1 Gallery, AIA Miami, Florida Grand Opera and The Art Experiences.
The association will hold a kickoff event at 6 p.m. Sept. 19, during DWNTWN Art Days Sept. 19-21, at McCormick Place, 111 SW Third St. Information on future First Friday Downtown Art Nights, a Nov. 7 Art Basel Miami Beach preview, and a Dec. 5 event highlighting Art Basel Miami Beach and Miami Art Week shows will be shared during the evening, which will also include live performances along with art installations. For more information, contact McCormick at 305-206-4734 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.facebook.com/MiamiDowntownArtsDistrict.
The Broward Center for the Performing Arts is seeking applicants for its popular Teen Ambassador Program, and this year teens from Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties are invited to apply. Running from September through May, the program brings high school students together to attend a monthly meeting as well as seeing and reviewing a show each month, with tickets supplied by the center. The students, who must maintain a minimum B average, also attend educational workshops with touring artists and share their experiences via social media.
Interested teens need to complete an application, signed by a parent or legal guardian, submit a copy of report cards from the previous school year and supply a letter of recommendation from an educator. The deadline to apply is 5 p.m. Aug. 29, and selected students will be notified by Sept. 17; a mandatory orientation for students and their parents will be at 6 p.m. Sept. 29 at the center.
The Broward Center is located at 201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale. For information, call 954-468-2689, email email@example.com or visit www.browardcenter.org/teenambassador.
Dacal to sing
Janet Dacal, who has starred on Broadway in In the Heights and Wonderland, comes back to Miami on Saturday for a late-night concert with the Alvarez Orchestra at the Brickell-area location of the Cuban restaurant Havana 1957. Collaborating with film composer and arranger Carlos José Alvarez, Dacal brings Cuban rhythms to an array of classic songs, including Over the Rainbow, My Funny Valentine, Fever, Guajira (amor Verdadero) and Un canto a mi Cuba.
The show happens at 11 p.m. at 1451 S. Miami Ave. Tickets are $15 for the bar area, $20 for table seating (which also requires a $30 per person food and drink tab). For information, call 305-381-6651, visit www.havana1957.com or www.janet.splashthat.com.
GableStage artistic director Joseph Adler has made one change to his just-announced 2014-2015 season. Instead of the Louis Armstrong play Satchmo at the Waldorf by Terry Teachout, Adler will stage I’ll Eat You Last in his Aug. 1-30, 2015, slot. The comedy by Red author John Logan is about Hollywood agent Sue Mengers, who was at least as much a personality as the stars she represented.
The six-play season begins Nov. 22-Dec. 21 with Bad Jews by Joshua Harmon, followed by Choir Boy by Miami’s Tarell Alvin McCraney (Jan. 24-Feb. 22), New Jerusalem by David Ives (March 28-April 26), Casa Valentina by Harvey Fierstein (May 30-June 28), I’ll Eat You Last and The Night Alive by Conor McPherson. Subscriptions are on sale at $225 for renewals, $260 for new subcribers. GableStage performs at the Biltmore Hotel, 1200 Anastasia Ave., Coral Gables. For information, call 305-445-1119 or visit www.gablestage.org.
The South Beach campus of Beauty Schools of America is aiming to beautify a large white wall at its main entrance with a mural by a South Florida artist. Applicants for the BSA SoBe Art Mural Challenge must submit their work by noon Oct. 31, and the winner receives a $2,000 prize in addition to having the mural at the site for two years.
Portfolios of no more than eight PDF file pages can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or dropped off at the campus, 1101 Fifth St., Miami Beach. Artists must be at least 18, and the proposal should include the applicant’s name, age, email, home phone and cellphone. Get details at www.bsafans.tumblr.com/bsaartmural.
Visual arts• Black and white illustrations by Miami-based collective Tropical Botanic Artists are featured in a new book by Michael Largo on bizarre botany, The Big, Bad Book of Botany: The World’s Most Fascinating Flora (William Morris Paperbacks. 416 pages. $18.99.), and they’re on view in the community meeting room at the Coral Gables Museum starting Wednesday. A book signing and reception with light refreshments and a cash bar will happen Friday from 6 to 8 p.m. The exhibition runs through Aug. 31 at the museum, 285 Aragon Ave., Coral Gables. Call 305-603-8067 or visit www.coralgablesmuseum.org.
• Berlin-based artist Leonor Antunes reveals a new, large-scale installation in the Papper Family Gallery at the Pérez Art Museum Miami on Thursday. Antunes’ work responds to the spaces in which they are placed, at times mirroring elements in the room or using its proportions as tools for the development of a piece, with signature materials including cork, leather, brass ropes and nets. Hear her speak about the site-specific work at 7 p.m. It’s free with admission to the museum, 1103 Biscayne Blvd., Miami. Call 305-375-3000 or visit www.pamm.org.
• ArtCenter/South Florida is offering ARTstudies, classes in painting, drawing, photography, printmaking and book arts, and jewelry and mosaics from Aug. 25 to Oct. 5. Each six-week program ranges in price from $225 to $265, and registration is required. Members receive 10 percent off tuition. Sign up by phone at 305-674-8278, online at www.artcenterssf.org or in person at 924 Lincoln Rd., Ste. 205, Miami Beach.
Christine Dolen and Galena Mosovich contributed to this report. Send news to cdolen@MiamiHerald.com (theater), jlevin@MiamiHerald.com (dance, pop and Latin music), jwooldridge@MiamiHerald.com (visual arts) or khamersly@MiamiHerald.com (jazz, classical music).