Miami's Carnival Center Turns to Kennedy Center Execs for Advice

Classic Arts News   Miami's Carnival Center Turns to Kennedy Center Execs for Advice
CEO Michael Kaiser and other executives of Kennedy Center visited Miami's Carnival Center early last month to offer guidance to the beleaguered center, the The Miami Herald reports. The center endured an estimated $5.4 million loss in its opening year.

The mayor of Miami-Dade County, Carlos Alvarez, held lunch and dinner meetings with the Kennedy Center team to discuss finances, fundraising activities, marketing, outreach and programming, among other things.

Alvarez said he learned about the "importance of planning, ... having good art [and] good performances ... In other words — how that all relates to the ability to fundraise and the ability to generate good publicity and good marketing.''

To that end, Carnival Center president and CEO Michael Hardy said, Kennedy Center officials talked "specifically about adding high-profile programming, nationally and internationally recognized programs."

Kaiser feels that the Carnival Center's private support is severely lacking, said Miami-Dade Commissioner Carlos Gimenez in Miami Today. Hardy believes that an arts education program like the Kennedy Center's can help improve the Miami center's reputation and stimulate private funding.

A long-range plan should be set by November.

"The main benefit of planning is that the center has more time to find funding and build media support for major projects," Hardy said.

Carnival Center is at work on commissioning a contemporary opera called "Macandal" in the next three years. "[We] should be doing that with five or six new programs," Hardy said Kennedy officials told him.

Miami-Dade commissioners recently approved a $4.1 million bailout in June. Carnival managers have so put in place organizational changes and a hiring freeze to compensate for losses in revenue.

"It's obvious that [Carnival needs] added support," said Gimenez.

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