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Cutler Bay arts venue renamed in honor of Commissioner Dennis Moss

Written By Josie Gulliksen
November 15, 2022 at 2:22 PM

New name honors iconic civil servant Dennis C. Moss. Logo courtesy of The Moss Center.

The South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center was built in Cutler Bay to bring the arts to an otherwise underserved community. Leading the way from idea to completion of the center was Miami-Dade County Commissioner Dennis Moss, who represented District 9 for nearly three decades and is a strong supporter of the arts.

Eric Fliss, managing director of Moss Center recalls working with Commissioner Moss when the center was being built.

“During my conversations with him, he had regular meetings with myself and Michael Spring, director of the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs, just to stay informed about the process and how we were moving forward with the construction of our buildings,” said Fliss.

Commissioner Moss wanted to hear directly from Fliss and Spring about any hiccups experienced during the building process.

“It was important for him to stay current with the two of us and be able to answer questions from constituents about the center. He was a great ally for me and for the department as we built the center, ensuring the center got its fair share of public funding,” said Fliss.

Moss’s vision and arts advocacy is what inspired county commissioners to officially rename the center at a Miami-Dade County Board of Commissioners meeting this summer.

“We at the center had no opposition to the name change, it happened at a commission meeting where they voted on it. Moss was an iconic civic servant and everything he did in that role was for the greater good of his community. That is what you want from a leader,” said Fliss.

From a branding standpoint, the former name South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center Fliss says was a bit difficult to remember so having the Moss Center name was good, and much easier to remember.

With the new name came a revised logo which is a variation of what they’ve always leaned into evoking the shape of the building. “We’ve altered it just to make the Moss name more prominent but not make it something completely different,” said Fliss.”We were very specific about this and happy the new name is also easier to work around.”

Visitors will also notice a new inclusivity symbol being incorporated around the arts venue just in time for their recent presentation of the sensory inclusive show “It’s OK to be Different,” based on the children’s book by bestselling author Todd Parr. The book is a popular resource for teaching diversity and tolerance.

“Typically our inclusive events happen during All Kids Included Festival but we presented this accessible children’s show as part of our family series,” said Annie Hoffman, education and outreach manager at the Dennis C. Moss Cultural Arts Center.

It’s a way for them to reach both children and family members to attend performances as a family, in essence, younger audiences.

Sensory inclusive presentations feature a quiet room, modifications to sound and lighting, open captions, American Sign Language interpreters and audio description.

“We’ve also been working with Miami Lighthouse for the Blind on a touch tour prior to the performances,” said Hoffman.

Fliss says they want to lead by example when resources are available and they are working to commit themselves to presenting inclusive programming when most appropriate. “This is just another step in the right direction,” he said.

The inclusivity effort also helps to realize Commissioner Moss’s vision of commitment to education, having programming inclusion and accessibility to black and brown audiences.

“We’ve done a great job of becoming something for everybody,” said Fliss.

The Dennis C. Moss Cultural Arts Center is located at 10950 SW 211 St. Cutler Bay, visit their website mosscenter.org to see all upcoming programming.

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