Surfside’s Daniel Dietch is an art-loving, Phish-listening, skateboard-riding mayor

Mayor Daniel Dietch outside Surfside's Town Hall. Photograph by Nick Garcia.
Mayor Daniel Dietch outside Surfside's Town Hall. Photograph by Nick Garcia.

Good luck trying to pigeon-hole Surfside Mayor Daniel Dietch.

He’s a trained geologist and anthropologist who worked as an archaeologist in Israel before earning multiple master’s degrees, the latest an MBA from the University of Miami.

He skateboards to city meetings, he’s lived in the woods, and he listens to Phish. He consults on environmental issues, and he collects art.

Dietch is definitely multifaceted, which he says helps him to look at issues from different angles and see the big picture.    

Mayor Daniel Dietch rides past public art in Surfside. Photograph by Nick Garcia.

He appreciates art but leaves the creating to others

As mayor for the past seven years, Dietch’s big picture has been positioning Surfside as a haven for high-end properties like the Four Seasons Hotel at The Surf Club and Fendi Château, while simultaneously creating attractive public spaces and fostering a sense of community.

‘I want to foster local pride and celebrate local artists.’

The 48-year-old father of two also incorporates his love of art into his public and personal lives.

“I’m not creative in that way, so I have a real appreciation when someone can translate what they see in their minds into reality,” Dietch said.

As a family of skateboarders — Dietch and his sons have a ramp in their backyard — it was only natural that on a trip to New York, the Dietches acquired two Kehinde Wiley prints on skateboard decks.

Displaying local art in Surfside

Dietch likes collecting pieces that reflect where he lives. Local artists prominently displayed on his walls include Robert Flynn, Enrique “Sero” Cruz and Garth White, who graffitied the bedroom door of one of Dietch’s sons for his bar mitzvah.

The mayor’s love for art also is prevalent through the various public art displays around Surfside, like the town’s Turtle Walk that features 13 turtle sculptures, each painted by a different local artist. The sculptures stand five feet high and were commissioned to bring awareness to sea turtle conservation.

A wall at the 96th Street park stood blank for nearly 20 years until artist Douglas Hoekzema aka Hoxxoh was chosen to create a colorful mural. Even Fendi Château has joined in, donating a sculpture by Pablo Atchugarry.

“I want to foster local pride and celebrate local artists,” Dietch said. “Art shows the result of a creative process, and it brings excitement.”

More About Surfside Mayor Daniel Dietch

SAY PLEASE AND… Believes in sending handwritten thank-you notes, because his grandmother taught him to.

OLD HABITS Drinks coffee from the same blue-and-white travel mug he’s had since 1992.

HAVING FUN For the holidays, his family creates a goofy card for family and friends. One year they dressed as the British royal family.

WORDS OF WISDOM He regularly emails inspirational quotes to his sons.