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Recreation and Culture

Miami-Dade County’s investments in the arts are essential for two major reasons: (1) we can be proud that our community offers families and children outstanding opportunities in the arts second to none in the nation, and (2) our superb cultural facilities and activities are giving us a competitive edge for attracting commerce and tourism, which is essential for creating more jobs and economic prosperity. And of course, neighborhood parks augment cultural experiences through recreational elements. Combined with the arts, they are essential to the health, well-being and improved quality of life of every resident in Miami-Dade County. Every great community should have a great park system, and our parks have gained national awards and recognition.

Recreation and Culture


• Miami-Dade County’s nonprofit arts and cultural organizations represent a significant industry-generating almost $1.1 billion in local economic activity annually and employing 29,792 full-time workers ranging from artists and administrators to accountants and carpenters.

• The Miami-Dade Department of Cultural Affairs (CUA) is highly respected across the country. In fact, for the first time in its history, the Miami chapter of the Association of Professional Fundraisers recognized a public sector entity as Grantmaker of the Year: the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs. This award is made to acknowledge the effectiveness of both the process and results by the CUA of investing grant funds in non-profit organizations, which for 2013 included more than 500 grants.

• The CUA Department received a 2013 National Association of Counties (NACo) Achievement Award for, a new, online website providing 24/7 accessibility to more than 600 works of art from the Miami-Dade County Public Art Collection. Funded by a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the site allows residents and visitors online access to images and documentation of the public art collection, the ability to create virtual tours, and capabilities to search the collection by media, artist or location.

• The CUA Department also received a 2013 NACo Achievement Award for “Going to the Show,” a free online resource, printed guide and classroom poster to help prepare new audiences for a live performing arts experience. The Show, was created for children with Sensory Processing Disorders and Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) in mind, and was depicted in comic book style with easy-to-understand language and delightful illustrations of friendly animals.

• Working hard to establish a network of outstanding cultural facilities, the CUA Department has been instrumental in the evolution of Miami-Dade County’s outstanding new arts and cultural venues. In 2013, the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center successfully completed its second performing arts season, offering music, dance, theater and community events to enthusiastic audiences. In addition, the Milander Center located in the City of Hialeah was completed; the Miami Hispanic Cultural Arts Center proudly opened its doors to the public in its new location and the Historic Lyric Theater stage expansion and new office building is nearing completion as well.

• The Vizcaya Museum and Gardens Trust adopted a five-year Strategic Plan with the goals of ensuring long-term sustainability and mapping out the organization’s next major community engagement initiatives and capital improvement projects, with a special focus on revitalizing the Vizcaya Village.

• The African Heritage Cultural Arts Center is collaborating with Youth of America, Miami-Dade County Public School System, The African Heritage Alumni Association, the African Heritage Culture and Arts Coalition, Miami Children’s Initiative and other supporters to offer Performing and Visual Arts Academies for children in Liberty City and surrounding neighborhoods. These programs continue to be catalysts for helping hundreds of students realize their potential academically and artistically.

• We’re also taking action on recommendations laid out by the Youth Safety Roundtable that Mayor Gimenez and Superintendent Carvalho commissioned. We’re building and supporting youth sports. The new Youth Sports Championship Series is engaging hundreds of our children in organized, active play. We’re also encouraging more collaboration between law enforcement and parks personnel.

• Miami-Dade Parks’ received the 2013 Governor’s Sustained Excellence Award in 2013, reaffirming its commitment to systematic performance improvement. It remains the first and only park and recreation agency in the State of Florida to be recognized by the Florida Sterling Council, and the envy of the many public -- and private –- organizations striving for excellence.

• Zoo Miami, South Florida’s largest attraction is growing every day. Ground is breaking on Mission Everglades, a new $40 million exhibit that will showcase our one of a kind River of Grass and the vast array animals within it. 20th Century Fox, one of America’s largest film studios, has a $980 million proposal to add a theme and water park outside the zoo. Behind the thrills remains a steadfast commitment to wildlife conservation as we grow research and outreach opportunities together with Florida International University and Miami-Dade Public Schools.

• Our public health push is also well underway with the creation of Bike305 Fitness Zones, spearheaded by our Parks department. Together with seven municipal mayors, we launched a movement to promote our growing number of bike trails and cycling-friendly events through the user-friendly website –

• The Miami-Dade Public Library System continues to play an important role in the lives of our residents. In 2013, Mayor Gimenez convened a Mayor’s Blue Ribbon Taskforce comprised of business, education and community leaders, as well as library funders, advocates, patrons and employees, to analyze and develop a Master Plan for the future of the Miami-Dade Public Library System. The goal is to establish a fiscally sustainable library system that meets the needs of our County residents.

• In 2013, there were 6.7 million visitors to our County’s libraries, more than seven million questions answered, 6.7 million materials borrowed, 3.2 million computer hours logged, and 4.7 million hits on electronic resources.

• More than 100,000 people attended programs held throughout the 49 library branches. This year, two special programs were launched: the “Cultural and Language Series,” which offers multi-cultural programming that crosses boundaries and connects patrons to the rich diversity found right in our own backyard, and the “Let’s Move @ the Library Series,” which is a series of programs that include movement and information on nutrition, health, and sports.

Guayabera: A Shirt’s Story exhibition won the 2013 Award of Merit and a 2013 History in Progress (HIP) Award from the American Association for State and Local History (AASLH). The AASLH Leadership in History Awards, now in its 67th year, is the most prestigious recognition for achievement in the preservation and interpretation of state and local history.



Back to Top Page Last Edited: Mon Feb 24, 2014 10:06:49 AM

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