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Front Page » Top Stories » Arsht Center Presenters To Raise Money On Overnight Cruise

Arsht Center Presenters To Raise Money On Overnight Cruise

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Written by on July 30, 2009

By Zachary S. Fagenson
The Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts and its resident companies are about to have their ship come in.

Four hundred supporters of the performing arts organizations will take to the seas mid-November for the first, and maybe the only, "Arts Odyssey: A Collaboration" fundraiser. Each group could take home hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The cruise, underwritten by the Carnival Corp.’s luxury cruise operator The Yachts of Seabourn, will take donors on an all-inclusive trip Nov. 13 and 14 aboard the Seabourn Odyssey.

The ship will depart Port Everglade at 5 p.m. Friday and return the following morning at 9.

Proceeds from the overnight event, according to Arsht Center President M. John Richard, will be disbursed evenly among the performing arts center, the Miami City Ballet, The New World Symphony and the Florida Grand Opera.

"We believe, collectively, we can take a cruise to nowhere together and find a treasure chest," said Mr. Richard. "We’re hoping when we find it, that we’ll find over a million dollars in value and, hopefully, more."

This could also be the organizations’ only opportunity to host a fundraiser in such lavish style. The ship was launched last month in Venice and is returning to Port Everglades for the winter to cruise the Caribbean.

"As part of welcoming [the Seabourn Odyssey] here, we wanted to make it available for some kind of charitable organizations and we have a history of working with arts organizations here," said Seabourn spokesperson Bruce Good. "We don’t have any plans [for any events] beyond this one."

The cost of the trip, according to an outside public relations firm, starts at $5,000. The price of sponsorship could run into the six-figure range.

Mr. Good said he could not estimate the cost of Seabourn’s donation. But the ship, built in Genoa, Italy, by luxury-yacht maker T. Mariotti, has 225 rooms, each with an ocean view and most with private verandas.

In addition to such amenities as mini-massages on deck and an 11,000-square-foot-spa, the 400 guests will be entertained by an undecided celebrity and will have the opportunity to choose from a menu of events during the coming season such as an in-home concert with the New World Symphony or a backstage tour with the Miami City Ballet’s Artistic Director Edward Villella.

The event is being managed by the arts center’s foundation, chaired by naming donor and former TotalBank chair Adrienne Arsht. This year, the Performing Arts Center Trust, the center’s policymaking body, brought most of its fundraising efforts into a new development committee and tasked the foundation with the large-scale fundraisers.

The "Arts Odyessey," however, is a rare opportunity to raise a record-setting figure.

"Typically, with major special events, the majority [of] expenses that a charity incurs is the expense of the venue and the food and beverages," Mr. Richard said. "As a result, net profit from the event becomes difficult to exceed 50% to 75%" of money generated.

But because Seabourn is covering the lion’s share of cost, Mr. Richard said the four organizations would be able to take home 80% to 85% of the money raised.

Even without sponsorships, if the ship filled to capacity for the two-day event, each organization would take home about $400,000, a number, Mr. Richard said, that "will highly impact [the organizations'] offerings next season."