Blog

New Executive Director Adam Ganuza leads Rhythm Foundation to the Next Stage

Written By Fernando Gonzalez
May 20, 2024 at 1:46 PM

Adam Ganuza named Executive Director for Rhythm Foundation. Photo credit OS Photography Studio.

The Miami Beach-based Rhythm Foundation, a major nonprofit presenter of arts and music in South Florida, has announced Adam Ganuza as its new executive director. He succeeds James Quinlan, a co-founder of the organization, who will remain a board member.

“It’s special. It feels like a full-circle moment,” says Ganuza. “It’s just starting to dawn on me. To be honest — and I’m going to try putting this without sounding really cheesy — it feels like something that I’ve been working towards for years without even knowing it.”

He left the organization in 2015, went back to school, and earned a Master Master of Public Administration from Baruch College. Back in Miami, he joined the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, where, as a program officer, he led the Knight Arts Challenge and, later, was chief of staff for the Foundation’s then President and CEO, Alberto Ibarguen.

For the Rhythm Foundation, his appointment marks an inflection moment. After many years as an itinerant presenter — offering shows by premier World Music artists such as Indian sitar master Ravi Shankar, African pop singers Baaba Maal, Angelique Kidjo, and Youssou N’Dour, Cuban funk singer Cima funk, Argentine folk singer Mercedes Sosa, flamenco guitarist Paco DeLucia, reggae star Jimmy Cliff and Brazilian singer-songwriters Caetano Veloso, Milton Nascimento and Gilberto Gil — the organization agreed with the city of Miami Beach in 2015 to manage the Miami Beach Bandshell.

The historic venue, built in 1961, became its showcase home. The stability, combined with the physical and technological upgrades to the venue since the agreement, has been “a game changer,” says Ganuza, “Now you have a home court, a place to focus your energy.”

It has set up the organization for its next growth stage.

That translates into not only the possibility of having year-round programming or adding multi-media elements to the presentations but also expanding the reach of the presentations. Ganuza notes that the Rhythm Foundation broadcasted online and on a local Haitian cable TV station some of the Big Night in Little Haiti monthly events at the Little Haiti Cultural Center, which ran from 2011 to 2016.

“So, we were a bit ahead of the game,” he says. “But then it quickly went from ‘this is a nice thing to have’ to ‘this is what it is.'” The upcoming concert by Brazilian guitarist, singer, and songwriter Joao Bosco at the Bandshell on May 31 will be live-streamed worldwide on Qwest, Quincy Jones’s Paris-based video-on-demand music streaming platform.

Other projects are underway. A pilot of a co-production with WPBT, the flagship station of the Public Broadcasting System in South Florida, called “Sound Waves from the Bandshell” aired “to great response,” says Ganuza. WPBT and WXEL will air the ten-part series in the Spring of 2025. The expectation is that various markets in the public network will pick up the series.

“This is the next level of our work, “says Quinlan, who co-founded the Rhythm Foundation in 1988. He explains that Rhythm Foundation began in one building at the Cameo Theater on Washington Avenue but became nomadic after two years, enduring very difficult periods. Despite times when closing up seemed easier, they survived. Moving to the Miami Beach Bandshell provided an opportunity to plant a flag and build something for the long run.

Quinlan ends by saying, “Now we’re at that place where we have achieved stability, and it’s time for the next leader to bring us to the next level of growth, institutional growth. We want to participate as a cultural anchor of this city.”

“For us at the Rhythm Foundation, it’s more than, ‘Hey, we do cool shows’,” says Ganuza. “There is a civic angle to our work. The Bandshell is a publicly owned facility. We are one of the public faces of the city of Miami Beach, and as such, we’re part of evolving the narrative of what it means to be in Miami Beach.”

Ganuza believes that the challenge for South Florida cities has shifted from attracting businesses to retaining them. The latest wave of arrivals, including major financiers and tech professionals, have the freedom to choose their place of residence and can leave just as quickly as they came. To root and engage these individuals in the community, he says it’s essential to offer more than just low taxes, great weather, and a high quality of life. Access to top-quality arts and culture is a significant aspect of this quality of life. Ganuza explains, “Part of what we’re doing at the Rhythm Foundation with the Bandshell is creating a space, an energy that people would want to continue to be a part of.”

 ArtburstMiami.com is a nonprofit media source for the arts featuring fresh and original stories by writers dedicated to theater, dance, visual arts, film, music, and more. Don’t miss a story at www.artburstmiami.com.

latest posts

MAS Ritmo Wins DownBeat Student Music Award

Written By Shanieya Harris,

This award marks the first international jazz recognition for the Miami Arts Studio Band Magnet, showcasing their dedication to musical excellence and innovation.

New Heritage Trail Explores Opa-locka’s Rich Cult...

Written By Josie Gulliksen,

A collaborative community effort, The Opa-locka Heritage Trail "takes people from the city’s founding in the 1920s to the Civil Rights Movement and finally to the city as it is today.”

Nam June Paik – Innovator, Visionary, and Miami Beach A...

Written By Erin Parish,

Known as “The Father of Video Art,” Paik was a visionary who saw the possibility of uniting the world by joining art and technology across continents and cultures.