MIAMI/SOUTH FLORIDA Only in its second year, the Miami Beach Arts Gala faced hurdles prior to and during its event Saturday at the Miami Beach Convention Center. Many of the guests missed the opening cocktail reception and a portion of the dinner because of a traffic accident on the MacArthur Causeway. In addition, the gala committee saw a dramatic cut in its budget and had to save money by sending out electronic invitations and slicing the advertising budget.
“Last year, we had sponsors for the event for $10,000 and $15,000, which we were not able to garner this year,” said Ray Breslin, gala chairman and a local community advocate. “Our event is late in the year, and by the time you get to many of these [companies], they have already committed their funds. Next year, we have to go after them earlier in the year.”
Local companies donated their time and services for the evening event. Miami jazz vocalist Debbie Orta kicked off the evening with a stage performance in the donated ballroom space. During the reception, staffers served specialty cocktails with rum from sponsor Botran Rum, some named after the night's honorees. Brightly colored floral arrangements donated by Black Eyed Susans adorned tables inside the ballroom.
The night's entertainment included a show produced by Kimberly Chmura of KCC Productions with Grammy Award winner Felipe Lamoglia and his band, New Dimensions in Afro-Cuban Beats, who performed for no cost. Two of last year’s grant recipients, Pioneer Winter, a dance company, and one-man show Octavio Campos also took to the stage as guests dined on food prepared by Centerplate and executive chef Jonathan Barnett of the Miami Beach Convention Center.
Approximately 200 guests attended, a third fewer than last year. All of the proceeds from ticket and table sales will go to the Miami Beach Cultural Arts Council, which distributes the money in grants to local cultural arts organizations performing in Miami Beach.