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7 Local Cultural Leaders We Admire

Miami is in the midst of a decade-long cultural renaissance. With a thriving and ever-expanding arts scene, the city’s creative atmosphere has energized local artists to innovate and reinvest their…

Story by: The Betsy Hotel

Miami is in the midst of a decade-long cultural renaissance. With a thriving and ever-expanding arts scene, the city’s creative atmosphere has energized local artists to innovate and reinvest their talents into their own communities. Here are some visionary Miami artists and creators whose work and arts-centric social initiatives we respect and admire.

Dejha Carrington
Dejha Carrington is the Vice President of External Relations & Communications of National YoungArts Foundation, a national organization that empowers artists to pursue a life in the arts, and is the co-founder of Commissioner, a program that connects its members with local artists to help them build their art collections. An artist herself, Dejha co-created the public art installation NEWT: Experiments in Light, Color & Sound in 2015 and is a founding partner of FADE TO BLACK, one of the first and most celebrated platforms for artists of color during Art Basel Miami Beach week.

Rebecca Fishman
Lipsey Social innovator and former policymaker Rebecca Fishman Lipsey is the president and CEO of The Miami Foundation, a $350m community foundation focused on building a stronger, more equitable Greater Miami. Prior to joining The Miami Foundation, Rebecca was the founder and CEO of Radical Partners, a social-impact accelerator that incubates organizations seeking to strengthen Miami. Radical Partners engages more than 100,000 Miami locals each year to strengthen their own communities through homegrown initiatives including 100 Great Ideas, ConnectMiami, Vote Miami, and Public Transit Day.

Kareem Tabsch
Kareem Tabsch is the co-founder and co-director of O Cinema, Miami's largest art house movie theater. An advocate for the power of the arts to enrich lives and revitalize communities, Kareem is also an award-winning documentary filmmaker whose documentaries have been included in several prestigious film festivals. His most recent film, The Last Resort, premiered at the Miami Jewish Film Festival, where it won Audience Favorite Documentary; it received a limited theatrical release including a 3-week run in New York's famed Quad Cinema and an 8-week run in South Florida before being acquired by Netflix.

Kathryn Mikesell
Kathryn Mikesell is the co-founder and Executive Director of The Fountainhead Residency, Studios, and previous pop-up Haus. For one month each year, the Fountainhead Residency brings together 30-40 artists from around the world to live and work in Miami, where they’re provided time and space to create, experiment, and get inspired by our city. For Miami-based artists, The Fountainhead Studios offers affordable, flexible, and safe working studio space within a nurturing community.

Tanya Bravo
Tanya Bravo is the founder and Executive Artistic Director of the Juggerknot Theatre Company, which has helped redefine the burgeoning theatre scene emerging from Miami’s urban core, most recently producing the critically acclaimed series Miami Motel Stories around a handful of Miami neighborhoods. The company showcases and develops works from local and national playwrights and has produced over 50 shows, collaborating with the HBO International Latino Festival, The Latin Grammys, Heineken USA, Remezcla, and The South Beach Comedy Festival, among others.

Chad Bernstein
Dr. Chad Bernstein is not only one of the city’s most prominent Latin and funk musicians — he also co-founded Guitars Over Guns, creating a musical bridge between Miami and Chicago’s most disadvantaged youth. Chad received a Doctorate of Musical Arts degree from the University of Miami in 2012, turning the focus of his academic studies to Guitars Over Guns. This paved the way for GOG’s research-based methodology and set the stage for Chad to take on Guitars Over Guns as a full-time career upon graduating. In April of 2015, Chad was honored as a CNN Hero for his work and has since been featured on The Steve Harvey Show and in People magazine.

The Team Behind FUNDarte
FUNDarte is an engine for multicultural arts and culture in the U.S., presenting a yearly season of music, theater, dance, and cultural events that enrich local communities. The programs’ artistic offerings come from around the world, particularly Latin America, Spain, and the Caribbean, in addition to showcasing and nurturing Miami-based artists. For the last 17 years, FUNDarte’s programs have built cultural bridges across Miami’s diverse communities and provided vital links to the global arts scene, promoting a variety of interdisciplinary and international collaborations. From Rosalia to Cimafunk to Richard Blanco, FUNDarte continues to nurture a wide range of emerging global talent across every artistic idiom.

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