Field Trip: The Haute 5 Cultural Institutions in Miami

Trade in the yellow school bus for a Mercedes Benz, and exchange the backpack for your fabulous designer handbag, it’s time for an adult field trip. And in Miami, there’s no better place to broaden your horizons with the best in culture. From world renowned dance companies to galleries and museums, Miami boasts cultural institutions as beautiful as they are stimulating. As difficult as it was, we’ve rounded up our top picks to experience culture in the Magic City. After all, you’re never to old for a field trip!

The Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Art

The Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County is one of the world’s leading performing arts organizations and venues. Made possible by Miami-Dade County’s largest ever public/private-sector partnership, the center plays host to three resident companies (Florida Grand Opera, Miami City Ballet and New World Symphony, America’s Orchestral Academy) in addition to numerous south Florida arts organizations that perform in its theaters regularly. Since opening in 2006, the Center has emerged as a leader in offering and presenting world-class programming, including Broadway’s most talked about new musical, Spring Awakening, coming to the center in May. A groundbreaking fusion of morality, sexuality and rock & roll, it has awakened Broadway like no other musical in years.

1300 Biscayne Boulevard; Miami; (305) 949-6722;

Miami City Ballet

Among the largest ballet companies in the United States with more than 40 dancers and a budget of approximately $11 million a year, the Miami City Ballet is a true cultural institution in south Florida and beyond. The company has four home counties in South Florida: Broward, Miami-Dade, and Palm Beach, plus Collier (on Florida’s west coast), where MCB is presented as the resident ballet company at the Naples Philharmonic Center. The Company’s repertoire has 88 ballets, including 9 world premieres, and hosts a number of events for the community, including The Art of Partnering. The event is for singles and is an ode to the legendary partnerships that are the foundation of ballet.

For all the singles out there, MCB hopes to inspire patrons who are in search of the perfect partner with an exclusive singles event, which will be well-attended by some of Miami’s savviest single and successful professionals. The event will take place in the intimate setting of the MCB studios in Miami Beach (The Lynn & Louis Wolfson, II Theatre at The Ophelia & Juan Js. Roca Center) on Friday, April 23 when the lobby will be transformed into a lounge featuring music, cocktails and hors d’oeuvres from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., followed by an up-close and personal performance by MCB dancers and a talk on the art of partnering, lead by Villella, one of America’s greatest male dancers. Guests can also indulge in an Extreme Dating Experiences Silent Auction by bidding on items and experiences for two, such as a date on a private sail boat, dinner at The Setai or Wish or a stay at The Shore Club, to name a few. Patrons can then let loose (hopefully with a new dance partner) at a private after-party beginning at 9 p.m. following the performance, at Grove at W South Beach, located a few steps away.

2200 Liberty Ave., Miami Beach; (305) 929-7010

MOCA: Museum of Contemporary Art

Miami’s Museum of Contemporary Art is truly redefining the way art is showcased. Bringing to light both renowned and emerging artists, MOCA is famous for defining new trends and directions in Contemporary art. John Baldessari, Dan Flavin, Dennis Oppenheim, Alex Katz, Nam June Pak, Uta Barth, Teresita Fernandez, Gary Simmons, Jose Bedia, Anna Gaskel, Mariko Mori, John Bock, Trenton Doyle Hancock, Pierre Huyghe, Philippe Parreno, Edward Kienholz, Raymond Pettibon, and Matthew Ritchie are among the artists whose works are included in the collection. Currently closed for installation, the museum will re-open March 11, 2010.

The lineup for March includes the below:

March 9, 2010 / 10 am – noon
Painting the figure: Watercolor Techniques

March 10, 2010 / 7 pm

Knight Exhibition Series
March 11, 2010 / 7 – 9 pm
Free for MOCA members, North Miami residents, City of North Miami employees; $10 non-members

March 16, 2010 / 10 am – noon
Painting the figure: watercolor techniques

March 17, 2010 / 7 – 9 pm
New Paradigms in Communicating Design Culture

March 20, 2010 / 2 – 4 pm
Dynamic 3-D Design for 11 – 14 year olds

March 24, 2010 / 7 – 9 pm
Paintings inspired by Food and Drink

March 25, 2010 / 7:30 pm
Members of The Cleveland Orchestra and The New World Symphony, America’s Orchestral Academy perform 20th and 21st Century chamber music. Program features the premiere of two chamber works by student composers from Frost School of Music at the University of Miami.

March 26, 2010 / 8 pm
Max Farber Trio

770 NE 125th St., North Miami; (305) 893-6211

Miami Art Museum

Unlike most other public museum collections in the U.S., Miami Art Museum’s famous collection consists almost exclusively of 20th and 21st century art, a reflection of Miami’s youth as a city and the collecting patterns of its residents. While collectors in other major cities have been acquiring art since the 1800’s, Miami’s art collecting past really began in the second half of the 20th century as its population grew and residents accumulated wealth, setting MAM apart among public art museums.

Visitors to the museum will notice a decidedly international tilt, mirroring Miami’s place as a cultural melting pot and strong ties to Latin America and Europe. A scan of the collection’s makeup speaks volumes: American painters of the 20th and 21st century replace old world masters; works by modern-day Latin American artists take the place of antiquities; and large-scale installations by contemporary sculptors supplant renaissance altarpieces. Young, fresh, global, and unpredictable, MAM’s collection embodies Miami. According to press materials, the show includes works from dozens of top-flight 20th and 21st century artists, including Tomás Saraceno, Chuck Close, Frank Stella, Kehinde Wiley, Gerhard Richter, Alexander Calder, Jose Bedia, Robert Rauschenberg, Marcel Duchamp, Sol LeWItt, and Wifredo Lam, among others.

Additionally, MAM is months away from breaking ground on its new Herzog & de Meuron-designed building in Downtown Miami’s Museum Park. In anticipation of that move (scheduled for 2013), MAM curators are using the museum’s current space as a massive laboratory for testing how different works interact with each other and how the public will experience the collection once it settles in at MAM’s new home. BETWEEN HERE and THERE affords patrons a rare opportunity to watch a museum exhibition evolve; a visitor’s experience at the show this month may be very different from their visit next month. The show began on February 28 and runs indefinitely.

101 West Flagler St., Miami; (305) 375-3000

Wolfsonian Museum

Founded in 1986 and located in the heart of historic Miami Beach within easy walking distance of the world-famous Art Deco hotels, Florida International University’s Wolfsonian Museum offers a diverse collection of permanent, temporary and traveling shows addressing broad themes of the late-nineteenth and twentieth centuries including nationalism, political persuasion, industrialization, architecture and urbanism, consumerism and advertising, transportation, and world’s fairs. With fascinating collections of objects from the modern era (1885-1945), a trip to this museum is a journey reflecting on how art and design shape the human experience. The museum also also offers thought-provoking discussions of the context and connection among its objects.

1001 Washington Ave., Miami Beach; (305) 535-2623