Collaboration Focus of ArtsTalk kicks off ArtsLaunch at Arsht Center

It was a day full of cultural activity at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing during their annual ArtsLaunch. Perhaps that’s why they choose to kick the day off with ArtsTalk: From Inspiration to Collaboration, a community conversation led by a panel of cultural experts.

Sharing their knowledge of successful and not so successful collaborative efforts within their organizations were:

  • Facilitator Stephanie Hughley, founding artistic director of the National Black Arts Festival
  • Adrienne Chadwick, deputy director for education at the Perez Art Museum Miami
  • Daniel Lewis, founding dean of dance at the New World School of the Arts
  • Dr. Deborah Plutzik Briggs, VP of marketing and philanthropy for the Betsy Hotel – South Beach

L-R Stephanie Hughley, Daniel Lewis, Dr. Deborah Plutzik Briggs and Adrienne Chadwick. Photo courtesy of Arts & Business Council of Miami

After some brief introductions of each panelist, the foursome quickly jumped into a conversation about their successes and failures of collaborative efforts. They lent their insight into what works and what doesn’t, and best practices when approaching potential collaborators.

Hughley stressed the importance of clearly defining the goals and objectives of the collaboration up front, spending time together and being willing to compromise “because it is an unselfish venture so we need to learn to not be so rigid and set in our ideas,” she said.

Plutzik Briggs from The Betsy Hotel urged those in the audience to know their potential collaborative partner, the kind of resource sharing that will be expected as well if this is a new idea for them. “If it is a new idea, be prepared to be a teacher and take them through the steps of what is expected from the collaboration,” she said.

PAMM’s Chadwick spoke specifically about their success with the IluminArts collaboration and how their visitation numbers soared following it. “We joined the visual arts and dance worlds bringing in Latin American and Caribbean artists, and through it created an infrastructure and now we are having a second event this year,” she said.

Lewis shared the challenges he thought he would face when he first came to Miami from New York to become founding dean of the dance school at the newly opened New World School of the Arts. His collaboration involved four partners that worked together to create the highly respected arts school that NWSA has become. “It was necessary for the four partners to negotiate and for it to work everyone has to bend a little. It actually worked and is now one of the role models around the country of a successful arts school,” he said.

All the speakers also shared examples of what they feel are local organizations where collaboration is key to their success, including O, Miami, Bacardi, and the Betsy’s own collaboration with Dranoff Piano 2. Lewis also suggested the Americans for the Arts website and their Eight Things for Collaborators as a great resource for creating great partnerships.

Photo courtesy of Arts & Business Council of Miami

Suzette Espinosa, vice president of communications for the Arsht Center, summed up the ArtsTalk saying, “The foundation of all arts is a spirt of collaboration. It was inspiring and energizing to see 60 arts administrators and artists gathered to share their unique ideas and also to learn from great collaborators like Stephanie, Deborah, Dan and Adrienne. The Arsht Center is thrilled to be able to convene our arts community in this way and it is our hope that ArtsTalk was the spark to Miami’s next great artistic collaborations!”

All participants also had an opportunity to write their dream collaborations on post it notes, which were placed on a step and repeat for all to see. The exercise was in the hopes that a dream collaboration may flourish from the morning’s gathering of those 60 individuals in the arts community.

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