Interim Carnival Center CEO Larry Wilker on whirlwind pace as he initiates remedies to bring financial health to the center
At the reins of what many call the white elephant of Miami-Dade County, Carnival Center for the Performing Arts interim President and CEO Lawrence Wilker plans to spend his six-month tenure beefing up funds and stepping up programming.
As president of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC, Mr. Wilker in less than five years paid off $7 million in debt and almost tripled fundraising from $13 million to $38 million per year. The Carnival Center finished its first fiscal year with a $2.5 million shortfall, even after a $4.1 million bailout from Miami-Dade County.
In addition to steering the center out of debt, Mr. Wilker, who took over also as artistic director, said he plans to bring more high-profile programming to a facility that, in its short history, has emphasized local and internationally themed performances.
He'll also spend his time on a quest to find a permanent leader for the center, someone, he says, "of great imagination, preferably someone who is a first-class programmer, understands the big picture, and has a vision for what this place can be in a couple of years."
Mr. Wilker was interviewed in his Carnival Center office by Miami Today staff writer Risa Polansky.
This is an excerpt from the weekly profile article published in Miami Today. To read the entire article in full, order this issue or subscribe to the print edition of Miami Today.