Miami Visionaries Awards arts and culture finalists

Arts and Culture visionary: An individual whose efforts are positively affecting the arts or culture through his/her work or volunteer efforts.


▪ Lin Arison, philanthropist and co-founder of New World Symphony and YoungArts.

▪ Mike Eidson, past chairman of the Adrienne Arsht Center, past chairman of Miami City Ballet.

▪ Dennis Scholl, collector, arts supporter, former vice president/arts of Knight Foundation.

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Here’s what their nominators wrote about these finalists.

Philanthropist and author Lin Arison typically makes her contributions anonymously. As a result, few know how truly generous she has been to the Miami cultural community. Together, she and her late husband Ted, founder of Carnival Cruise Line, in the 1980s planted the seeds for Miami’s cultural renaissance, co-founding both the New World Symphony and YoungArts. Since his death, Lin has continued critical funding for YoungArts, the New World Symphony, Miami City Ballet, Miami Dade College and other organizations, and though the amounts are secret, those in the know put the total well over $100 million. Without her there would be no New World Symphony and Soundscape on Miami Beach or YoungArts campus on Biscayne Boulevard. Her efforts have won her a National Medal of Arts.

Attorney Mike Eidson has been instrumental in leading many of Miami’s cultural and arts organizations, and has worked relentlessly to build the city’s reputation as a world-class arts and cultural destination. In addition to serving as immediate past chairman of the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts for five years, Eidson founded The Miami Chamber Music Society (which hosts 19 concerts and lectures, including a grand finale, each season at the Arsht Center) to bring fine classical music uniquely combined with opera, dance and visual arts to Miami. He also founded and continues to be the driving force behind the Coconut Grove Playhouse Foundation, which aims to reestablish Miami’s distinction as home to one of America’s most storied theater companies by restoring the historic building and reviving the theater company to operate it. He co-founded the Town Square Neighborhood Development Corp., in 2011 to build a vibrant urban area around Miami’s cultural district. Chairman emeritus for the Miami City Ballet’s Board of Trustees where he served as president and chairman for nine years, Eidson is a member of the Cleveland Orchestra Miami Residency Board. A serious art collector, he donated to the Pérez Art Museum Miami’s opening show, and is the largest donor to Zoetic Stage, an award-winning local theater company that Eidson helped bring to the Arsht Center. Eidson and his wife donate time and money to numerous other performing art companies in Miami. For decades, Eidson’s tireless efforts have gone above and beyond in shaping the city’s culture and arts landscape.

No one has had a greater impact on the cultural landscape in South Florida than Dennis Scholl. His early efforts were to expose the visual arts to the community, including helping bring Art Basel to Miami, and more recently donating 300 works from his personal art collection to the Pérez Art Museum Miami. His recent tenure as the VP of Knight Foundation allowed him and the Knight team to oversee close to $100 million in arts grants to the South Florida community. His grantmaking at Knight was innovative and reached deep into the local ecosystem of artists, including numerous first-time recipients of philanthropic funding and many individual artists. This effort helped our community embrace its cultural significance. His recent work as a documentary filmmaker shines a light on some of Miami’s important early artists who have been overlooked, such as Overtown’s Deep City Records and prima ballerina Rosario Suarez.