The Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County officially launched its milestone 5th Anniversary Season on Tuesday, September 28th with the annual meeting of the Performing Arts Center Trust (PACT), an independent body of community and business leaders that manages the County-owned institution. Highlights of the meeting included the election of prominent Miami attorney Lewis “Mike” Eidson as Chair of the panel’s board of directors, a farewell message delivered by outgoing Chair Ricky Arriola, a special tribute to Founding Chair Parker Thomson, and board member Alan Fein’s election as Assistant Treasurer.
Mike Eidson, a partner in the Coral Gables law firm of Colson Hicks Eidson, was elected Chair by the PACT board of directors. A prominent figure in South Florida’s cultural arts community for the past two decades, Mr. Eidson most recently served as Chair-Elect of the PACT and President of the board of trustees of the internationally-acclaimed Miami City Ballet. His three-year term as Chair succeeds that of Miami businessman J. Ricky Arriola, who has held the post since 2007.
Among Mr. Eidson’s goals as Chair is the recruitment of additional private sector support, advancing the institution’s standing as a national leader in performing arts education, enhancing the Center’s reputation as a resource for its resident companies and Miami’s broader arts community, and strengthening its role as a magnet for economic investment in Miami’s urban core.
“The past four years have seen the Adrienne Arsht Center build a strong coalition of support among a range of constituencies, including our community’s arts groups, the business and civic communities, and the general public,” said Mr. Eidson. “Moving forward, the Performing Arts Center Trust will continue to support the Center’s mission as a world-class, community-based institution committed to diverse programming, innovative arts education initiatives, and furthering its role as a catalyst for economic development. Achieving these objectives will require the continuation of sound fiscal and operational management by our leadership team, the sustained commitment of our partners at Miami-Dade County, and additional support from our community’s private sector.”
Mr. Arriola’s term as Chair coincided with a number of institutional achievements that bolstered the Center’s financial standing and helped galvanize widespread public support in favor of the largest public/private partnership in Miami history, most notably the receipt of businesswoman and philanthropist Adrienne Arsht’s $30 million donation in early 2008. Accomplishments included the recruitment of several large private sector gifts; the successful presentation of the Center’s inaugural summer season in 2008; new sponsorship agreements with a number of South Florida’s most prestigious companies; the organization’s first-ever balanced budget; repayment of its last remaining bank debt seven years ahead of schedule; and the launch of “Learning through the Arts,” a partnership with Miami-Dade County Public Schools aimed at exposing Miami’s youth to live theater.
“Ricky Arriola’s leadership, professional skills, and clear vision of the Adrienne Arsht Center’s mission and direction has left an indelible imprint on this world-class institution and, in turn, on our community,” said Mr. Eidson. “Ricky’s service is a model for civic leadership and we are grateful to the time and talent he has committed over the past three years. His continued involvement and counsel as Immediate Past Chair will be a valuable asset for our board of directors going forward.”
The PACT’s annual meeting also paid tribute to Founding Chair Parker Thomson, who stepped down from the board of directors after more than twenty years of service. Among the accolades bestowed upon Mr. Thomson was a resolution by the Miami-Dade County Board of Commissioners declaring September 28, 2010 “Parker Thomson Day.”
“The Adrienne Arsht Center’s success to date is by no means serendipitous,” said M. John Richard, the Center’s President and CEO. “This institution’s history has been shaped by the leadership of people like Parker Thomson and Ricky Arriola, two of our community’s most dedicated and gifted civic volunteers. Looking ahead, we are fortunate that this transition of leadership will result in Mike Eidson’s chairmanship. The Adrienne Arsht Center and our community will be well-served by Mike’s passion for the arts and proven ability to build broad-based support for mission-based cultural organizations, such as the renowned Miami City Ballet.”
A Miami resident of nearly 30 years, Mr. Eidson, together with his wife, Dr. Margaret Eidson, has been among the South Florida arts community’s most engaged participants. In 2002, his support was honored with the Miami-Dade County Cultural Alliance’s Lott Award. He was elected Chair-Elect of the Performing Arts Center Trust in 2007 and served as keynote speaker at the Arts & Business Council of Miami’s annual “Serving the Arts” luncheon in early 2010.
Beyond his strong involvement in Miami’s cultural arts landscape, Mr. Eidson is a nationally-recognized trial lawyer who concentrates his practice in products liability, medical and legal malpractice, aviation litigation, and class action and multi-district litigation. His career achievements include serving as President of the 60,000-member American Association for Justice, President of the Dade County Trial Lawyers Association, and as a member of the board of directors of the Florida Justice Association. He is also a member of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers and a fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers.
Another vote cast during the Performing Arts Center Trust’s annual meeting saw board member Alan Fein elected to the role of Assistant Treasurer. Mr. Fein is a shareholder with the Miami law firm of Stearns Weaver Miller Weissler Alhadeff & Sitterson, P.A. His involvement in the local arts community includes roles as Founding Chair of Miami’s Arts & Business Council, City Theatre, Inc. and the Colony Theatre. He is also a former Chair of the Miami-Dade County Cultural Affairs Council.
The Adrienne Arsht Center’s 5th Anniversary Season performance calendar gets underway on October 8, 2010 with RAIN – A Tribute to the Beatles, followed by Miami City Ballet’s season debut on October 15, 2010. The opening night of Broadway hit DREAMGIRLS, set for October 19, 2010, will also mark the launch of the much-anticipated BOMBAY SAPPHIRE® Lounge, located at street-level in the Center’s landmark Carnival Tower. The Lounge will serve specialty cocktails and light bites five nights a week (Tuesday through Saturday) and on Sundays when performances are held.
October 28, 2010 will see 500 of Miami’s most influential arts patrons, philanthropists, and business and civic leaders gather for the Center’s 5th Anniversary Season Gala, featuring a special performance by Broadway performer and four-time TONY-Award nominee Raúl Esparza and the dedication of a newly-engraved donor wall honoring hundreds of individuals, families, businesses and organizations that have supported the Center to date. Chairing the Gala event are Honorary Chairwoman Adrienne Arsht, Margaret and Mike Eidson, and Marvin Ross Friedman and Adrienne bon Haes.