State of the Arts Address Highlights Miami-Dade County’s Rich Cultural Tapestry

Written By Jean Blackwell Font
April 24, 2024 at 1:44 PM

Mayor Daniella Levine Cava addressed a full house at the Miami-Dade County Commissioners Chambers in Downtown Miami for the 15th State of the Arts Address.
Photo credit Jean Blackwell Font.

Miami-Dade County’s commitment to arts and culture was emphatically showcased on Thursday, March 7th at the 15th Annual State of the Arts Address, where community pillars and advocates for the arts congregated to both review the county’s accomplishments and chart a future enriched by creative endeavors. With invigorating statements from esteemed officials and a unifying sense of purpose, the address underscored that, as Board of County Commissioners Chairman Oliver G. Gilbert, III poignantly noted, “art and culture is something we need on a micro-level.”

The keynote speaker and Chairman of the Miami-Dade Cultural Affairs Council, Brian E. May paid homage to the longevity and perseverance of the county’s art institutions. The M Ensemble, a bastion of artistic expression in the African American community and Florida’s oldest black arts organization, continues to enrich lives as it crosses a century-old threshold. Similarly, spaces like the Lyric Theater commemorate 111 years of cultural significance, while Florida Grand Opera (FGO) celebrates 75 years of operatic excellence.

The Art in Public Places initiative and the Coconut Grove Art Festival both mark their golden anniversaries, all thanks to figures like Rosa de la Cruz and local legend Michael Spring, whose 40-year dedication to Miami-Dade’s cultural affairs has left an indelible legacy.

Commissioner Juan Carlos Bermudez advocated for an arts expansion to the county’s western regions, reflecting a dynamic cultural scene that transcends geographical confines. The county’s westward residents now find themselves potential beneficiaries of an arts proliferation, ensuring that each neighborhood and community can savor the enrichment the arts provide.

Mayor Daniella Levine Cava introduced attendees to Arts Energize 305, an ambitious initiative aiming to distribute the economic advantages of the arts throughout the county. This vision aligns with the astounding figure that the arts annually generate $151 Billion nationwide, with Miami-Dade County itself boasting an impressive economic contribution of $2.1 billion from its cultural endeavors. This investment supports over 32,000 jobs, catapulting the county to the forefront of economic impact from the arts statewide, and placing it third in the nation following behemoths like Los Angeles and New York.

With a heritage grounded in passion and resilience, and a future oriented towards inclusivity and growth, the State of the Arts Address made a compelling case for increased funding. Highlighting the arts as an essential, rather than supplementary, aspect of our lives, leaders and luminaries alike echoed a sentiment of vitality and continuance.

Marialaura Leslie was named Director of the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs in 2024. Image courtesy Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs.

Marialaura Leslie, Director, Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs shared her excitement, stating, “The State of the Arts Address provides a unique opportunity for business, cultural, civic, and elected leaders to come together for a status report on the arts in our community.” She continued by denoting important statistics, “We already know that the arts have an important economic impact in Miami-Dade County, generating $2.1 billion in economic activity and creating 32,000 local jobs yet the social impact is also significant, and under the leadership of Mayor Levine Cava, the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs has kicked-off the Arts Energize 305 plan which provides a blueprint to increase public participation in the arts through enhanced community engagement and partnerships that support our diverse cultural ecosystem and maximize the many benefits of the arts in innovate ways.”

The proceedings were managed by Master of Ceremonies Albert E. Dotson, Jr., ensuring a seamless presentation that matched the elegance and inspiration of the subject at hand.
Through the celebrated moments and the anticipatory goals set within the Address, Miami-Dade County stands as a testament to the enduring power of the arts. It reflects a shared history, a present vibrancy, and a future distinctly radiant with possibilities.

For Miami-Dade residents who appreciate the cultural fabric woven through their communities, the arts beacon brighter than ever, inviting participation, engagement, and support. Together, we tread an artistically illuminated path forward. 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

latest posts

Rocío García’s Guys, Gals, Gaming & Guns, through ...

Written By Erin Parish,

Captivating works explore power and eroticism at Fredric Snitzer Gallery, on view through May 25th.

“Me & My Miami” Represents Music and D...

Written By Gina Margillo,

A theater workshop production led by an internationally recognized writer and choreographer comes to Miami on May 18th.

Art of Black Miami Podcast Shines a Spotlight on Black ...

Written By Josie Gulliksen,

The Art of Black Miami podcast returns for their 4th season, enhancing Miami's reputation as a hub of diverse artistic expression.