- This event has passed.
May 16, 2018 @ 8:00 pm
- May 16, 2018
- 8:00 pm
Please join us at Books & Books at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the launch of “Center of Dreams: Building a World Class Performing Arts Complex in Miami” (U. of Florida Press, $24.95), where New York Times bestselling author Les Standiford tells the inspiring story of the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts. Discover how one spectacular building project revolutionized Miami, how one man’s moxie helped turn a fractious tropical city into a cultural capital of the Americas and how the vision for this building, which would become the most ambitious cultural arts complex since the Kennedy Center, began in an unlikely place and time.
We will be celebrating this unparalleled civic achievement, the result of the efforts of the late Parker Thomson and a number of others who labored to create the world-class center that many said could never become a reality. This event is free and open to the public! RSVP now to let us know you are coming!
About the Book:
Discover how one spectacular building project revolutionized Miami, how one man’s moxie helped turn a fractious tropical city into a cultural capital of the Americas. In Center of Dreams, New York Timesbestselling author Les Standiford tells the inspiring story of the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts.
The vision for this building, which would become the most ambitious cultural arts complex since the Kennedy Center, began in an unlikely place and time. Miami in the 1970s was divided by social and ethnic tensions. The city comprised a growing population of immigrants from the Cuban revolution, a well-established African American community, Florida “crackers,” and a continual influx of tourists and retirees. Critics said a cultural center would never be possible in a place of such extreme diversity.
But Parker Thomson, a lawyer and Boston transplant, knew his adopted city could become a world-leading community in the twenty-first century. He believed a performing arts center was critical to this vision. Everyone said his dream was impossible, he would never succeed, it couldn’t be done. Not in Miami. But Thomson persevered against political opposition, economic roadblocks, and engineering problems. It took thirty years to overcome the odds and the obstacles, but he finally made the dream a reality. With Thomson’s efforts, along with help from cultural leaders, iconic design work by architect Cesar Pelli, and support from philanthropist Adrienne Arsht, the center opened its doors in 2006 with a star-studded gala.
Today the Arsht Center is a cutting-edge venue of style and art, a landmark beloved by the city’s residents, and a magnet for tourists from all over the world. Presenting performances that celebrate the richness of Miami’s diverse population, it showcases emerging local artists and attracts international stars. Resident companies include the New World Symphony, the Florida Grand Opera, and the Miami City Ballet. Its improbable story is a testament to the influence of cultural advocacy, the importance of government support for the arts, and the power of the arts to repair and sustain communities.
About the Author:
Les Standiford is founding director of the Creative Writing program at Florida International University. He is the author of many novels and works of nonfiction, including Last Train to Paradise: Henry Flagler and the Spectacular Rise and Fall of the Railroad that Crossed an Ocean.