Letters to the Editor

Growth of our cultural community must continue

The Jan. 19 editorial, Artful departure, regarding the departure of Thom Collins and his accomplishments as director of the Pérez Art Museum Miami is an extraordinarily well-deserved send-off for one of our community’s outstanding cultural leaders.

However, I want to provide an important clarification to the editorial’s contention that PAMM “has unsuccessfully sought help from the county” for its operating costs.

Here are the facts:

  • Miami-Dade County’s operating subsidy to PAMM this year is $2.5 million;
  • This is the single largest contribution from any public or private entity in PAMM’s operating budget; and
  • While due to a tough budget year, the county had to reduce funding this year to many of its departments, the Department of Cultural Affairs included, it did not reduce funding to PAMM — the FY 14-15 subsidy is the same as the FY 13-14 county support.

PAMM made a well-supported case for additional county support for this year. When it became clear that due to overall county budget constraints this could not happen, Mayor Carlos Gimenez took the initiative to have us collaborate with the Omni Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) for additional funding. I worked on this with Collins and CRA director Pieter Bockweg and ultimately, the Omni CRA allocated $1 million that is enabling many of PAMM’s educational, outreach and marketing programs to happen this year. We are grateful for the CRA’s partnership and support.

I am proud of the county’s leadership in providing significant funding to help build and operate PAMM. While we will miss Thom Collins, his legacy is an amazing flagship art museum that is helping to establish Miami-Dade County as one of the world’s newest and most dynamic international cultural centers.

We remain committed to working with PAMM and the hundreds of other non-profit cultural organizations to ensure that our cultural community continues to grow and that our families and kids have arts opportunities second to none.

Michael Spring, director, Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs