Arsht In, Carnival Out

Miami’s Carnival Center for the Performing Arts will now be known as the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts after Arsht donated $30 million January 10th.

Venue execs might be hoping that by getting rid of Carnival’s name the funny business will disappear and they’ll begin to get down to business – as in making money. The venue lost about $2.5 million in its first year of operations.

The $472 million Center, which consists of the 2,400-seat Ziff Ballet Opera House, 2,200-seat Knight Concert and 200-seat Studio Theater, will receive the $30 million over the next three years, according to a statement.

The venue will receive $13 million immediately, with $4 million going toward Center programming, $7 million to pay off a bank loan and $2 million – recently given to the venue by Carnival Cruise Line – will be given back as part of the termination of their 10-year, $10 million naming rights commitment.

"It is expected funds from the Arsht gift donated in years two and three will add to working capital and complete funding of the Center’s $16 million dollar endowment giving the Center long-term financial security," a statement said.

The center will keep the original $10 million donation from Carnival, which was a gift from the Arison family, in exchange for naming of the Studio Theater, bridge and Art Deco Tower.

Suzette Espinosa, media and public relations manager for the venue, told Pollstar that when the venue’s deficit was announced last fall, the center’s artistic director resigned and President and Chief Executive Michael Hardy was fired. Lawrence Wilker replaced Hardy as the interim president and CEO.

Espinosa said that since Wilker took over, things are already looking up for the venue.

"Since the Center’s Board Chairman Ricky Arriola and Larry Wilker came

onboard, the Center has instituted a number of free community events that embrace and invite the entire community and visitors," she said. "On the second Saturday of every month, the Center invited the community to enjoy an afternoon of free concerts on the outdoor Plaza, cultural activities for kids, dance and music workshops for all ages, and more.

"The Center also offers free behind-the-scenes tours every Monday and Saturday

at noon. Tours are offered in English and Spanish. No reservations are required."

Wilker said in a statement that Arsht’s donation will ensure more positive news for the Center and its patrons.

"Today’s action gives the Center greater ability to fulfill its commitment to offering the highest quality and widest diversity of programming. The Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts now has all the tools it needs to emerge as one of the great performing arts centers of our time," Wilker said.