Archives for February 2012

Miami Beach Urban Studios (MBUS) – the New FIU Creative Think Tank

 

MBUS, a new addition to The College of Architecture + the Arts of Florida International University (FIU), is home to some very exciting programs and innovative learning opportunities for its students. The College is comprised of seven departments, ranging from Architecture, Landscape Architecture and Interior Architecture to Art and Art History, Communication Arts, Music and Theatre.

I had the pleasure of speaking with Dr. Brian Schriner, Chair of our Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce Arts and Culture Council, and Dean of the College, about the Miami Beach Urban Studios (MBUS) in the newly acquired 16,000 square foot space at 420 Lincoln Rd.  Dr. Schriner explained that some of the reasons they have opened this satellite location is to integrate the Arts and Architecture students with the vibrant city of Miami Beach, and include practical experience via internships and community activities on Miami Beach.  Through this program, the students will acquire a very different perspective from their studies on the main campus location in Miami.

The building itself is located in the center of the pulse of Miami Beach – Lincoln Road, at the main “artery” of Washington Ave.  Creativity and artistic inspiration, paramount to every student in this College, are heightened by the energy and sensorial stimuli that abound in South Beach.

MBUS includes a public gallery, design studios, performance and rehearsal spaces, offices and class rooms.  It is a notably well-designed space, with synergies enveloping the activities and physical needs of the diverse practices.  For example, the rehearsal rooms are integral to the overall layout, yet allow for the requisite sound isolation from the surrounding student workspaces, which have an open format that is conducive to a more collaborative and multidisciplinary creative process.

One of the most exciting aspects of the MBUS is the new Office of Engaged Teaching, Scholarship, and Creative Activities (ETSCA), established by Dr. Schriner.

The focus of the Office of ETSCA is to leverage the Arts to “create, innovate and inspire a more beautiful, sustainable, healthy, and just tomorrow.” It is committed to research and activities that will impact the health and sustainability of local and global communities; it will bring together various FIU offices, local governments, business leaders, students, alumni and faculty to accomplish its mission.

“The establishment of the new ETSCA will certainly prove to be of great benefit to not only Florida International University, but the entire local community,” said Schriner.

The access to this location on Lincoln Rd has been made possible by the generosity of Ambassador Paul L. Cejas, for whom the main campus Architecture School is named.  A strong supporter of FIU for over twenty years, Ambassador Cejas is strongly committed to the future development of the Arts and Architecture.  The new MBUS is an important testament to the possibilities of future innovations within these fields.

Each discipline in The College of Architecture + the Arts draws on creativity and the connection of the world via art.  The educational process draws from understanding the history of the respective subject matter, and bridging the present into the future of new developments.  What better place to learn and innovate than in the heart of Miami Beach?  The Arts and Culture Council is thrilled to support the efforts and successes of this new “think tank,” in particular as it aligns completely with our Mission Statement:

“To proactively enrich and elevate the importance and success of arts and culture within the City of Miami Beach.”

The “New” New World Center… Twenty-five Years in the Making, Celebrates its First Year Anniversary

 

“What I hope is that the intensity of this experience will stick with people, that it will inspire all they encounter in life.” Michael Tilson Thomas

 

The New World Center, which debuted on January 25, 2011, marks the centerpiece jewel of performing arts for Miami Beach.  The elegant and dramatic Gehry-designed concert hall is a most suitable home to the spectacular vision of modern performances created under the brilliant direction of its mastermind and highly- awarded conductor and artistic director, Michael Tilson Thomas.  In addition to conducting the New World Symphony (NWS) orchestra, and his dedication to helping young artists hone their talent, Tilson Thomas has earned ten Grammy Awards, is the musical director of the San Francisco Symphony, and principal guest conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra.

 

Some years ago, I had the immense pleasure of listening to Mr. Tilson Thomas play the piano in his studio loft on Lincoln Road- above the former home of the NWS.  That evening is one of the highlights of my life, in the close and intimate setting, transported by the music, in the presence of this great man.  His vision and talents are simply remarkable.  His contributions to the future of classical music are inestimable.

 

The NWS, now housed in the New World Center, was created by Tilson Thomas in 1987 as an orchestral academy for young musicians.  The NWS provides a prestigious and rare opportunity for highly talented young musicians to fast-track their careers. Each year, they provide thirty three-year fellowships to graduates of leading universities and music schools. The orchestra performs approximately seventy concerts a year.

The launching of the new Center last year has more firmly placed Miami Beach on the map as a cultural destination.  The range and depth of programs, with the savvy means of appealing to people of all ages and demographics, is the hallmark of a cultural institution that plays the most important role imaginable of creating a future audience for classical music, and other forms of performing arts, for generations to come.

 

The programming ranges from traditional, to new world, new age, with amazing audio-visual layers that utterly delight the senses.  Performances are often accompanied by preview lectures given by visiting guests and by the young and uber-talented musicians alike, rendering the performances more vivid and personal.

 

Music performed by the NWS comes alive, presenting the audiences classical performances in a modern and memorable format.

 

A propos, the First Anniversary Gala will tie its musical presentation to Alfred Hitchcock’s classical films, and aligns with the “real life” timing of the 2012 Academy Awards.

 

The Black-Tie Gala promises to be filled with surprises and delights, beginning with the NWS signature Blue Carpet arrival greeting the 400 patrons, and the added audio-visual drama of the state of the art 7,000 square foot projection wall on the exterior of the New World Center.  A seated dinner will be staged in various locations of the building, which will be transformed for the evening to evoke Hollywood glamour and Film Noir ambiance. Thierry’s Catering will prepare a sumptuous meal and Triton Productions will create enchanting décor, accompanied by musical interludes throughout dinner performed by the talented New World Symphony Fellows. Afterwards, the Gala dinner guests will be joined by another 200 guests, and all patrons will be ready to dance the night away in the ’40s jazz club tunes of a full Big Band.

Tickets start at $1,250 for the Gala, with a limited number of $150 tickets available to VIP members of Friends of NWS’- the institution’s young patrons group. All proceeds from the Gala will benefit New World Symphony and its mission of preparing gifted young musicians for careers in professional orchestras, while providing meaningful cultural programs to the South Florida community.

New World Symphony presents 2012 Gala: An Evening of Suspense

Music and Scenes from Films of Alfred Hitchcock

Friday, February 24, 2012 at the New World Center