The move will not affect CAF's programming or events, but will mean the combination the fundraising and administration of the two entities. CAF has had a difficult time over the last few years, with a $2.1 million deficit.
Judy Drucker, CAF's president, said of the merger, "We're very happy about it because it gives me a feeling that I have a big organization behind me."
Michael Hardy, president and CEO of the performing arts center, outlined the mutual benefits of the merger: "We gain one of the major classical groups in the area, and we think we can help them to become more financially healthy as well."
The merger brings one of the most significant cultural programmers in southern Florida into the Miami Performing Arts Center, which is scheduled to open in the fall of 2006. The center lost its leading tenant when the Florida Philharmonic shut down two years ago, but it has a commitment for a ten-year residency from the Cleveland Orchestra, and will also feature performances by Florida Grand Opera.
One looming question is what the new center's relationship will be with Fort Lauderdale's Broward Center for the Performing Arts, which currently hosts some CAF concerts and very few other classical-music events. Hardy said he was committed to continuing CAF's Fort Lauderdale concerts, but nothing is certain for now.
In related news, also reported in the Sun-Sentinel, the cost of the Miami Performing Arts Center, which has been plagued with delays and cost overages, has risen by an additional $34.3 million, bringing the project's total cost to almost $450 million. The extra funds will be covered by a county loan, which will be paid off with property taxes.