Paul Lehr awaits top US arts students in YoungArts Week as he guides National YoungArts Foundation in new home
It was a little over a year ago that Paul T. Lehr decided he wanted to find a home for the National YoungArts Foundation. The determined executive director did not waste much time after acquiring the Bacardi Tower in 2012 and is already working with world-renowned architect Frank Gehry to transform the site into an arts hub.
After reporter Laura Stace interviewed the energetic leader in his office in the historically listed blue-and-white tower at 2100 Biscayne Blvd., Mr. Lehr proudly gave the media group a tour and outlined preliminary plans.
The first and second floors of the blue-and-white tower will be used as gallery and exhibition space. The third floor is pegged to comprise two to three units for an artist-in-residence program, while the fourth, fifth and sixth floors are slated to remain as office space for the organization. Mr. Lehr said the seventh floor will be used as a performance space, and he wishes to partner an education provider with a culinary institute to create a restaurant.
The jewel box building west of the blue-and-white tower, now full of former Bacardi cubicles, is to be transformed into work space for artists of various disciplines, and a 20,000-square-foot white building on the property, not historically listed and also full of cubicles, is set to be demolished.
This space and the remainder of undesignated space on the 3.5-acre property will be used for a 500- to 900-seat performance center and lush landscaped gardens.
It is an exciting time for the organization with a new home and its YoungArts Week set to commence in just a few days.
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