The Source for Media Coverage of The Arts in Miami.
Articles, reviews, previews and features on dance and music performances and events.
Sign Up
No one logged in. Log in

Arsht Center President John Richard Plans His Exit


Photo: Photo: Manny Hernandez
Written by: Christine Dolen
Article Rating

When M. John Richard decided to leave the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in late 2008 to become president and chief executive officer of Miami’s Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, he arrived in South Florida with a vision, myriad ideas and a long-term exit strategy.

“I knew in 2008 that I had a 10-year run in my tank,” says Richard, 65, who plans to retire from his Arsht Center post at the end of 2018. “I’ll be 66 at the end of my 10 years of service. Working here has been a dream job…and I’m dedicated to making 2018 my best year yet.”

Richard, who led a $187 million fund-raising drive to build the New Jersey center and served as the center’s executive vice present and chief operating officer during his 19-year career with the Newark-based center, is the third and longest-serving chief executive to lead the Arsht since its opening in 2006 as the Carnival Center. [Michael Hardy, the first president and CEO, was succeeded in 2007 by former Kennedy Center president Lawrence J. Wilker, who was interim president-CEO until Richard was hired.]

Designed by architect Cesar Pelli, with the buildings housing the 2,400-seat Ziff Ballet Opera House and 2,200-seat Knight Concert Hall hugging either side of Biscayne Boulevard between NE 13th and 14th Streets, the $472 million center built in a public-private partnership has become the heart of what Richard calls Miami’s “new town square” in its dozen years of operation.

Rechristened the Arsht Center in 2008 in honor of a $30 million donation from philanthropist Adrienne Arsht, the performing arts center has amassed some impressive numbers that suggest its impact.

By the staff’s reckoning, Arsht performances and events have been attended by more than 4 million audience members. More than 20,000 artists have given more than 5,000 performances. The center has commissioned 18 pieces of work in a variety of disciplines, hosted 17 world premieres on its stages and has had an economic impact estimated at more than $2 billion.

On Richard’s watch, the center has also emphasized accessible arts educational experiences for Miami students. In partnership with the Miami-Dade County Public Schools, the Arsht has hosted nearly 200,000 fifth graders at free performances of its musical “Rock Odyssey.”In October, the commissioned musical “Kitty Hawk” and its accompanying followup workshops brought STEM education – STEAM, if you add the “A” for arts – to life for 27,000 seventh graders.

But talk to Richard about any aspect of the Arsht Center’s multifaceted arts presence, and he’s as enthusiastic as the day he ditched chilly Newark for sunny Miami.

Fresh from seeing Zoetic Stage’s acclaimed world premiere production of Christopher Demos-Brown’s “Wrongful Death and Other Circus Acts” in the center’s black-box Carnival Studio Theater the night before, Richard says Zoetic – which was born at the center in late 2010 and now leads all South Florida theater companies with 17 nominations for the region’s 42nd annual Carbonell Awards – is a great fit for the Arsht.

“That’s a proud representation of our mission to be world-class and community-based,” he says.“That homegrown star power belongs in that black box.”

With its wide variety of programming, including presentations by resident companies Miami City Ballet, the Florida Grand Opera and New World Symphony, the Arsht under Richard has offered something artistic for everyone: Broadway in Miami, the Cleveland Orchestra in Miami, the Knight Masterworks Seasons, the Ziff Classical Music Series, Theater Up Close, Summer Shorts, the Hispanic Theatre Festival, Jazz Roots, Live at Knight, the Flamenco Festival, free Gospel Sundays, the Miami Symphony Orchestra, Piano Slam, AileyCamp Miami and more.Plus performances by thousands of world-famous artists and companies.

“We should be available to all populations,” Richards says. “Our programming should not only be relevant but should be a thought leader.”

In the future, he adds, “we want to push the envelope and use our venues in different ways.”

Richard, who will be honored at the center’s 12th anniversary gala in the Knight Concert Hall on March 24, has been a powerful and accomplished leader during his decade at the center, say board chairman Ira D. Hall and the center’s namesake philanthropist.

“John has accomplished much during his time at the center, and we are grateful that he has led the center to flourish as a cultural magnet,” Hall, who has appointed a search committee to find Richard’s replacement, said in a statement. “John’s stable financial management and commitment to providing access to the arts for everyone has helped us to accomplish our goals as an organization faster than many thought possible.”

In her statement, Arsht said, “While we are sad to bid John Richard farewell, we are also incredibly grateful for how far we have come under his direction and guidance.John’s commitment to the center and, more importantly, his love for greater Miami have been unwavering.”

Richard and his wife, Florida International University assistant professor Lynne F. Richard, plan to remain in Miami. Richard wants to take some time off, then “recalibrate” his efforts to pursue what he calls “passion projects.” But those will not, he says, require the kind of 24/7 commitment he made to the Arsht Center.

“This has been a day-and-night job. I love it. It’s the best job in America,” he says. “But I will not have a day-and-night job again.”

 


Leave a comment...
Must be Logged in
No one logged in. Log in
Leave a comment...
Was this helpful?
No Very

Captcha Image

About The writer

{module_webapps,16730,i,{tag_writer_id}}

When the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater returns to town this week, Miami native son Jamar Roberts will take center stage. As one of the company’s star dancers, he has long shined as a performer. B..

He says his dance comes from his dreams. French-Algerian choreographer Hervé Koubi’s most recent work, “What the Day Owes the Night” combines Sufi rhythms with cutting edge b-boy moves, class..

A world premiere always comes with a drum roll. And, throughout the years, Miami City Ballet has brought to light its fair share of resounding new works. Still, Brian Brooks’ freshly-minted O..

Wednesday night at the Arsht Center’s Knight Concert Hall the South Florida Symphony Orchestra in collaboration with the Martha Graham Dance company presented “Appalachian Spring Suite” and “The R..

Cooking may be Dan Froot’s favorite thing. This is saying a lot since Froot is also a composer, a dancer, a sax-player, a play-wright, an oral-historian -- an all-around performance artist an..

With the closing of Tigertail Productions last year, Miami lost one of its preeminent artistic champions. Under the direction of founder Mary Luft, Tigertail brought an endless parade of boundary-..

Anytime would be a good time to devote a dance program to the works of Jerome Robbins, our most versatile and celebrated American-born choreographer. But, given that 2018 marks the centennial..

Due to winter storms in the Northeast impacting travel, with great regrets the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company announced the cancellation of the Saturday, Jan. 6 performance. At age..

It is fitting at this time of the year that our thoughts often turn to what connects us not what divides us. Whether we are driven by religious or secular motives, many of us are in the spiri..

The end of the 19th century was a golden age for ballet. In 15 years of collaboration, two great Russian geniuses – choreographer Marius Petipa, and composer Pyotr Tchaikovsky – produced ballet st..

Here’s a riddle – name the 1892 box office flop panned by critics for lack of seriousness and for casting too many kids, which has now transformed into a force of nature timed to occur yearly..

It happens every year, right around Thanksgiving, productions of the Nutcracker pop up from coast to coast, marking the start of the holiday season. But on Saturday, Miami audiences have the ..

As Art Week approaches, Miami choreographer Marissa Alma Nick’s Alma Dance Theater is getting ready to add its distinctive voice, rehearsing for the upcoming performance of “Flowers” at the C..

Promising a night of airiness and ardor, Dimensions Dance Theatre of Miami will bring “Ballet’s Pointe of Passion” to the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center, where the company joins an att..

Great friendships can nurture and prod an artist to make greater work. Think Pablo Picasso and Wifredo Lam, James Baldwin and Toni Morrison, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. Such is also the case fo..

It’s a tall order to present a season as surprising as it is moving, as disturbing as it is delightful. Miami-Dade College’s Live Arts 2017-2018 season -- Ojala/Inshallah: Wishes from the Mu..

It was only a few decades ago that finding a professional, locally produced performance was an aerobic dance in itself. But after the Miami City Ballet (established 1985), the New World Schoo..

A 50th anniversary calls for gold in celebration. But Balanchine’s “Jewels”­—a sublime marriage of music and choreography from 1967—brings Emeralds, Rubies,and Diamonds. Those pre..

When the Limon Dance Company returns to Miami-Dade this weekend, it brings with it the powerful vision of founder José Limon. He was a man deeply concerned about and connected to the humanity..

When Cardi B, with her trademark no-filter attitude, raps in her recent hit “Bodak Yellow” – Now I don’t got to dance/I make money move – she has something to sing about, with her smash hit N..

Despite a packed show schedule, including performing with the Frankfurt Opera in “Rinaldo,” Sarasota native, dancer and choreographer James McGinn had a chance to discuss the upcoming dance-opera ..

Anniversaries usually celebrate the success of a partnership with symbolic gifts of crystal, china, silver and gold. For the Arts Ballet Theater of Florida, the company celebrates 20 years of..

The songs are familiar; the love story is also familiar but made fresh in “On Your Feet!,” the musical biography that comes to Miami this week. The narrative of Emilio and Gloria Estefan meet..

Dance lovers in Miami know that for the past two decades the International Ballet Festival of Miami (IBFM) has made the city in September a magnet for the brightest stars in the world of bal..

Orlando Taquechel, dance critic for two decades at the El Nuevo Herald (and now a contributor to Artburst), will have a book signing and discussion of his new book, “La danza in Miami (1998-..

The name Flamenco conjures the machine-gun snap of heels, arms arched overhead, the flick of red fabric and laser-like glares from beneath the starched black brim of a Cordobes hat. At the ed..

Watching Neri Torres rehearse is a study in focus and concentration. She demonstrates each step with an ease developed from years of immersion in the study and performance of Afro-Cuban ..

In the music of Las Cafeteras and Orkesta Mendoza, presented by Fundarte at the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center Saturday, the border is no place for walls but rather, a moveable feast. ..

Performance Hall at New World Center was packed Saturday, Feb. 3 for the New Work program, which NWS conductor and artistic director Michael Tilson Thomas introduced as “one of the more adve..

Having grown up in Buenos Aires with a strong interest in music, one would think that Jaime Bronsztein (http://jaimebronsztein.webs.com/) would have slid down the well-lubricated tracks towar..

A creepy old king ogles his beautiful stepdaughter. Powerless to stop him, her mother, the queen, protests drunkenly. The girl, age maybe 12 or so, falls for the only man who does not lust af..

At first their sound is reminiscent of Bob Marley. Just as plaintive but with added punch. But listen longer -- the more familiar the music feels, the harder it is to pin down. This is t..

People often imagine new artwork is the product of the solitary artist genius slaving away in lonely studios. The South Florida Symphony’s 20th anniversary program foregrounds a different vis..

At an age when many are winding down their working lives, Ignacio Berroa eagerly anticipates a new stage in his career. It would be understandable if the 64-year-old drummer, recognized a..

We know it’s the holiday season when trees light up, menorah candles start to burn, ubiquitous Christmas carols pipe through drugstores, “The Nutcracker” plays on every stage – and in recent ..

Late last year, on Dec. 20, 2016, Romero Britto and Mark Bryn hosted the Great Artists Series Cocktail Reception at the Britto Fine Art Gallery to celebrate the legendary impresaria, Judy Dru..

Después de una serie de actuaciones muy exitosas en varias ciudades del Este del país, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (AAADT) llega a Miami para ofrecer seis presentaciones del jueves 22 ..

La ofensiva espontánea protagonizada por BalletBoyz y Cie. Herve Koubi el fin de semana pasado en teatros de Fort Laudedarle y Miami, con dos propuestas artísticas absolutamente fuera de seri..

La atracción principal del tercer programa de la temporada 2017-2018 del Miami City Ballet (MCB) que se presentó el fin de semana pasado en el Arsht Center fue el estreno mundial de One Line ..

Llegados en vuelo directo desde Inglaterra, BalletBoyz (Premio Nacional de Danza 2013 a la Mejor Compañía Independiente) ofrecerá el sábado 10 de febrero una función patrocinada por Culture Shock ..

Por dos noches consecutivas, el Miami City Ballet (MCB), que dirige Lourdes López desde 2012, abrió las puertas de sus instalaciones en Miami Beach para ofrecer un encuentro Open Barre con e..

El segundo programa de la temporada 2017-2018 del Miami City Ballet (MCB) dedicado a los 100 años del nacimiento de Jerome Robbins (1918-1998), el gran coreógrafo norteamericano que triunfó ..

2017 fue un buen año para la danza en Miami. El Flamenco Festival nos permitió volver a ver a Jesús Carmona, el Internacional Ballet Festival of Miami (IBFM) sobrevivió al huracán Irma, Dance..

El Miami City Ballet (MCB) presentó por fin en el Arsht Center la nueva producción de su gran espectáculo navideño, el “Cascanueces” de Tchaikovsky y Balanchine, ahora con diseños origin..

La tradicional temporada de Cascanueces del Miami City Ballet (MCB) tendrá algo nuevo este año. La compañía que dirige Lourdes López ha decidido renovar los diseños de la superproducción que..