Tuesday, December 1, 2009

ArtsBuzz: Florida Stage moving to Kravis, MCB gets live orchestra back

An artist's rendering of the revamped Rinker Playhouse for Florida Stage.

Florida Stage moving to Kravis Center

Florida Stage is making a long-anticipated move to West Palm Beach.

Beginning in July 2010, Florida’s largest professional theater company dedicated exclusively to new and emerging plays will take up residence in the Marshall E. Rinker Sr. Playhouse at the Kravis Center, the company said Monday night.

Officials with both entities said the move is a win-win for the 23-year-old Manalapan-based Florida Stage and the multipurpose Kravis Center complex.

“The Kravis Center is one of the most visible and prestigious performing arts centers in the country,” said Louis Tyrrell, producing director of Florida Stage. “We are thrilled at the opportunity to make our home there.”

Judith Mitchell, chief executive officer at the Kravis, was equally enthusiastic.

“We are delighted to welcome such a quality theater company to Kravis Center,” Mitchell said. “Florida Stage will represent another artistic discipline at Kravis Center as we continue our quest to offer something for everyone.”

The existing 310-seat Rinker Playhouse will be reconfigured to a more intimate 275 seats, with new risers, theater seats, lighting and sound. The existing Manalapan space has 258 seats.

“We wanted to maintain the intimacy while expanding the scope, reducing overhead and expand the audience potential at a venue with a much higher profile,” said Florida Stage spokesman Michael Gepner. “The current space from stage to lighting grid is only 12 feet. In the new one it will be 30, which greatly enhances the technical possibilities, and for the first time we’ll have backstage space.”

Parking is free and covered at the Kravis Center, Gepner added.

Florida Stage will continue to operate as a separate and autonomous company, with independent staff and Board of Trustees and its own box office.

For more information, call 561-585-3404 or visit www.floridastage.org.

MCB to get live orchestra again

The Miami City Ballet will get its orchestra back next season, thanks to a grant announced Monday.

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation announced Monday the awarding of $3.7 million in grant money to invigorate South Florida arts organizations. One of the 20 projects chosen out of 1,562 submitted was a live orchestra for the 2010-13 seasons of Miami City Ballet.

A budget crunch forced MCB to substitute recorded music beginning in the middle of the 2008-09 season. The $900,000 grant will create jobs for 45 musicians, the Knight Foundation said.

Other grants were awarded to arts groups in Miami’s Wynwood district for a communal office and gallery space at the LightBox at Goldman Warehouse. Funds also were awarded to launch an online site for selling locally produced music and expanded programming at Sweat Records, a store and independent music center in Little Haiti.

Additional 2009 winners include individual artists, small nonprofits and venerable arts institutions such as the Fairchild Gardens, the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens and the Wolfson/FIU Museum in Miami Beach.

For more information, visit www.knightfoundation.org.

Grants boost Boca Ballet, Flagler Museum

President Obama’s federal stimulus program has reaped benefits for two Palm Beach County arts organizations.

Boca Ballet Theatre said recently it will receive $25,000 from a federal stimulus grant, funded through the Recovery Act of 2009 and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Awarded a $25,000 grant from the same program was the Henry Morrison Flagler Museum of Palm Beach.

“This is a big deal and a big honor for Boca Ballet Theatre,” executive director and co-founder Dan Guin said. “It was a very tough selection process. It is a powerful affirmation of both our cultural excellence and financial stability, particularly during this tough economic time."

Only 27 arts organizations of about 3,000 that applied for the grants have received stimulus money, he said.

The Flagler grant is being used to support an assistant staff position in the museum's education department, public affairs director David Carson said.

Florida Secretary of State Kurt Browning hailed the grants, specifically aimed at saving jobs in the arts, and the organizations that won them.

“The positions preserved by these grants are crucial to Florida’s economic recovery, and contribute to a high quality of life for Floridians and visitors to the state,” Browning said.

The grant "made us feel good about who were are,” Guin said. “We don’t waste money, and they expect us to make it.”

Boca Ballet Theatre was co-founded in 1990 by Guin and his wife Jane Tyree, who serve as co-artistic directors. The company’s mission is to educate its youth in classical ballet and concert dance with focused training, interaction with professional dancers and participation in full-length ballets and contemporary choreography.

For more information, visit www.bocaballet.org.

The Imitator (2007), by Enrique Martinez Celaya.

Boca Museum of Art reaccredited

The Boca Raton Museum of Art was recently reaccredited by the American Association of Museums.

Of the more than 17,500 museums in the United States, the AAM, founded in 1906, has accredited only 778 institutions in the 35-year history of the program. The accreditation means the museum’s exhibits and programs reflect the highest standards of the Washington, D.C.-based AAM.

“The Boca Raton Museum of Art takes great pride in achieving re-accreditation by the American Association of Museums,” executive director George Bolge said in a statement. “This recognition is a reflection of the work performed on a daily basis, providing outstanding exhibits and valuable educational programs and resources for our community and beyond.”

AAM president Ford W. Bell said the Boca Raton community "can take pride in knowing they have in their midst one of the country’s top museums.”

Currently showing at the museum, founded as the Boca Raton Art Guild in 1951 and now located in Mizner Park, are An Unfinished Conversation: Collecting Enrique Martinez Celaya (through Jan. 19), and African, Oceanic and Meso-American Treasures From the Museum's Permanent Collection (through May 2). Call 561-392-2500 or visit www.bocamuseum.org.

-- Briefs compiled by Skip Sheffield

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