County Grant To Go To Consultant For Gusman Revitalization
By Yeleny Suarez
A $25,000 grant from the Miami-Dade County Cultural Affairs Department will be used to hire a consultant to help revitalize downtown’s Gusman Theater.
The Miami Parking Authority last week approved use of the Cultural Affairs funds to issue a request for qualifications.
"The Gusman has been dormant for a long time. It really needs to be re-energized and re-thought in terms of the focus of the board – maybe the types of shows and ongoing fundraising for purpose of creating endowment for the theater," said Art Noriega, parking authority executive director.
Donated to the City of Miami in 1975, the Gusman Center for the Performing Arts is listed on the National Register of Historic places. Icons such as Elvis Presley and Sarah Vaughan have performed there, and today it is home to the Maximum Dance Co. Presents Ballet Gamonet and the Miami International Film Festival.
"Outside of the $25,000 for the development, we do have grant money and an additional $30,000 for the kickoff," said Gusman Theater Director Mike Wharton. "The Cultural Affairs Department will be loaning us someone to guide us through this process as well."
The county grant would rejuvenate the Friends of Gusman, an organization that initially helped form theater policy, assisted in determining programming and raised funds. The request for qualifications is intended to bring in a candidate to develop materials promoting a membership drive, propose incentives, recreate identity and branding and update the theater’s Web site, brochures and materials for partner businesses and corporate sponsors.
"We are still looking for money elsewheren and the authority’s public-relations and marketing agency, Atwater Creative in Coral Gables, will help with services," said Jami Reyes, a member of the parking authority board.
Information on requests for qualifications is available at the parking authority’s office, 190 NE Third St. Deadline for respondents is April 29. Ms. Reyes said a decision should come in about a month.