Long before Miami’s art scene blossomed into its own district and a downtown cultural venue, attorney Parker Thomson was a vocal advocate for the arts.
On Saturday, his crowning project — the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts — plans to honor the late Thomson with a public celebration of his life and his contributions to making the arts complex a reality.
The celebration will be at 3 p.m. in the center’s John S. and James L. Knight Concert Hall, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., adjacent to the outdoor plaza that bears his and his wife’s names. Family members are asking attendees to register on Eventbrite.
“As we reflect on the impact Parker had on our community, we are grateful for his unselfish devotion and indelible contributions,” John Richard, the center’s president, said in a statement. “His vision of a performing arts center that serves as a uniting force for our community has vastly improved the quality of life in Miami-Dade County.”
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Thomson, who lived in Coral Gables, died Friday at age 85.
Thomson, who served as the founding chair of the center’s trust, began advocating for a city performing arts center as early as 1984, when he encouraged Miami city commissioners to agree to a study on what such a complex should include. After becoming the chair of a trust tasked with planning such a center, he helped secure the public funding that opened the Arsht Center’s doors in 2006.
Today, the center hosts both touring Broadway shows and local outreach programs, in addition to performances from the Miami City Ballet, the New World Symphony and the Florida Grand Opera.