The crown jewel of Miami’s performing arts scene is the Adrienne Arsht Performing Arts Center (1300 Biscayne Blvd., 305/949-6722), which opened in 2006 and, at 570,000 square feet, is the third-largest performing arts center in the United States. There are two principal venues in the center: an opera house and a concert hall, each of which can seat over 2,000 people. Additionally, there are two smaller performance spaces that hold about 200 people.
With so much real estate, the Arsht Center doesn’t conform to the same “on-season” intensity as many Florida performing arts centers, instead hosting high-profile performances throughout the year. Of course, winter sees a greater percentage of those, as the New World Symphony, Miami City Ballet, Florida Grand Opera, and the Concert Association of Florida all call the center home, but throughout the year a diverse slate of local arts groups and nationally known artists and performers can be seen here.
The beautiful Olympia Theater at the Gusman Center for the Performing Arts (174 E. Flagler St., 305/374-2444) is located in a gorgeous Jazz Age movie theater and hosts performances by local dance troupes, touring jazz and world musicians, and occasional Broadway-style extravaganzas.
Theater buffs should head for Coral Gables, where they’ll have plenty to choose from, including the slate of contemporary plays put on at the New Theater (4120 Laguna St., Coral Gables, 305/443-5909) and Gables Stage (1200 Anastasia Ave., Coral Gables, 305/445-1119) and the musicals at the Ring Theatre (1312 Miller Dr., Coral Gables, 305/284-3355).
The greatest concentration of art galleries in Miami can be found in the Wynwood Art District (between NW 20th St. and NW 36th St. east of I-95). There are more than 40 galleries in this neighborhood, which is also known as “Little San Juan.” On the second Saturday of the month, the district hosts an art walk, which allows casual art fans to explore galleries like the ultramodern Fredric Snitzer Gallery (2247 NW 1st Pl., 305/448-8976) and Abba Fine Art (233 NW 36th St., 305/576-4278) and more unique outposts like the cavernous Hardcore Art Contemporary Space (3226 N. Miami Ave., 305/576-1645) and the 3.2-acre (yes, acre) Bakehouse Art Complex (561 NW 32nd St., 305/576-2828).
Unsurprisingly, there are quite a few excellent galleries nestled among the urban decor shops in the Design District. Spots like Four Fine Arts (1 NE 40th St., 305/572-0400) and Diaspora Vibe (3898 N. Miami Ave., 305/573-4046) are well worth checking out.
Further to the south in Homestead is the truly unique Artsouth (240 N. Krome Ave., Homestead, 305/247-7308), an artist community spread out over nearly four acres, with more than 30 resident artists working and displaying their creations in the three on-site galleries.
© Jason Ferguson from Moon Florida, 1st Edition