Written By Josie Gulliksen
July 14, 2023 at 2:44 PM

Honorees, Miami’s local poet, and expert panelists made for a memorable Breakfast with the Arts & Hospitality. Photo credit Keith Spurlock Photography.

The arts and hospitality worlds came together once again at the InterContinental Miami for the 17th Annual Breakfast with the Arts & Hospitality presented by the Arts & Business Council of Miami.

Once attendees filled the room to capacity, host John Copeland, a longtime Arts & Business Council board member and Director, Arts & Culture Tourism for the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau, kicked off the morning with fun welcoming remarks.

Miami’s local Biscayne Poet Oscar Fuentes, always a fixture with his typewriter, composing poems on the fly, took a break, took the stage with two accompanying musicians from Stepflix Entertainment, and led the morning off with a spoken word performance.

After rousing applause, David Whitaker, president & CEO of the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau said “The soul and fabric of our destination is culture. Our hotel community is a big partner and we work to facilitate those amazing hospitality partners,” encapsulating the focus of the morning’s program.

(L-R) María Carla Chicuén, Gina Genna, Kamila Pritchett, Connie Kinnard, Brandi Reddick; expert panelists for Breakfast with the Arts and Hospitality, June 2023. Photo credit Keith Spurlock Photography,

The panelists then took the stage and each had an opportunity, with Mr. Copeland moderating, to share their respective work in the arts and hospitality world.

Brandi Reddick, curator and artists manager for Miami-Dade County Art in Public Places spoke of the long standing relationship between them, the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau and Cultural Affairs Department on a variety of projects.

“We work each year to commission 12 artists during Miami Art Week and feature their art at hotels throughout Miami Beach including The Betsy Hotel, Faena and many others,” said Reddick.

Kamila Pritchett, executive director of The Black Archives History & Research Foundation, the organization that operates Overtown’s Historic Lyric Theater and Historic D.A. Dorsey House, recalled being invited to speak at a National Norwegian Archives Conference.

Kamila Pritchett, The Black Archives. Photo credit Keith Spurlock Photography.

“I met the archivists while they were in Miami and they invited me to speak. They were very interested in knowing how we thrive as the Black Archives and showcasing the importance of our mission,” said Pritchett.

Executive Director of Cultural Affairs for Miami Dade College, Maria Carla Chicuén, spoke of all the work they do in the arts community including celebrating the 40th Annual Miami International Film Festival, the GEMS Festival and the annual Miami Book Fair.

“The New York Times named Miami the place to be in November for the Miami Book Fair,” Chicuén proudly boasted.

Connie Kinnard heads the Greater Miami and Beaches Convention and Visitors Bureau Art of Black Program. Photo credit Keith Spurlock Photography.

The Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau’s Art of Black Miami initiative “elevates and celebrates the artists in our community,” said Connie Kinnard, senior vice president of Multicultural Tourism & Development for the GMCVB. “It is also a community connector and driver that shows the community what we do.”

It is also the way the Bureau levels the playing field through these arts initiatives. “It is very important that we tell the story of our entire destination,” she said.

Fellow panelist Gina Genna, marketing director at the host InterContinental Miami spoke of the hotel being built around the arts and now as it readies for its 40th Anniversary, the arts are going stronger than ever.

“Our latest arts program is the weekly Noche de Arte, a month-long artist residency curated by artists and Founders of collaboARTive Jean and Iggy Font. We have hosted 16 local artists in our lobby since the program’s inception. It’s a wonderful showcase for both the artists, the local community and hotel guests.”

Following the panel discussion, awards were presented to Miami’s arts luminaries Frank Sirmans, director of the Perez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) and Jonathan Plutzik, owner of The Betsy boutique arts hotel on Miami Beach.

Both were humbled to be honored at the breakfast and expressed their gratitude.

Franklin Sirmans of Perez Art Museum Miami receives recognition for his dedication to Miami’s arts and culture, shown with Laura Bruney, President & CEO of the Arts and Business Council of Miami. Photo credit Keith Spurlock Photography.

Sirmans addressed the attendees directly saying “I feel blessed to be able to work with so many of you on a regular basis, this is truly an amazing place to be honored. I will cherish this award.”

Leslie Goldwasser and Jonathan Plutzik, owners of The Betsy – South Beach, received recognition for their dedication to arts and tourism, shown with David Whitaker of Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau. Photo credit Keith Spurlock Photography.

And Plutzik followed by saying, “I’m flattered to be on the same stage as Franklin from PAMM.” He spoke of his father being a renowned poet and his mother, who recently turned 104, as being his inspiration in the arts world. “In my mother’s world there was always the pyramid of life and the ones at the very top were the poets of course.”

Laura Bruney, who along with John Copeland presided over the morning’s program, beamed with pride at another successful event, bringing the arts and cultural tourism together.

“Our impressive thought leaders panel explored the lucrative cultural tourism market and showcased innovative ideas for profitable partnerships. Our sold out crowd was inspired with cultural interludes by the Biscayne Poet and Stepflix Entertainment and enjoyed our curated networking to mix and mingle with arts and hospitality leaders,” Bruney said.

Copeland was thrilled to host an event that he says is his favorite gathering of the year and “an incredible celebration that brings friends and colleagues together to spotlight our shared passion for Greater Miami’s cultural community.” is a nonprofit source of dance, visual arts, music, and performing arts news. Sign up for our newsletter and never miss a story.

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