At first, skeptics wondered if the new $500 million performing arts center in downtown Miami was sustainable.
But fast forward four years, and the second largest arts center in the nation has transformed into a thriving venue.
This past Sunday, 7,000 locals celebrated the upcoming 5th anniversary season for the Adrienne Arsht Performing Arts Center of Miami Dade County, a true testament to the PAC's success and its view as Miami's cultural landmark.
The Fall For the Arts Festival was a reminder just how far the Arsht Center has come since it first opened its doors in October 2006 as the Carnival Center for the Performing Arts.
"This has become the place to come," Mario Sanchez, founding director of the International Hispanic Theatre Festival, said. His organization brings in companies from all over the world, preserving Hispanic heritage throughout the arts.
He says he's witnessed Miami's "cultural revolution" from the small "Carnival Studio Theater" where his groups perform, housed inside the Arsht Center.
Times were not always easy for the center, which is the largest public-private partnership ever taken on by Miami-Dade County. It was plagued with financial problems and disappointing ticket sales the first couple years. Then philanthropist Adrienne Arsht came along in 2008 and donated $
According to CEO John Richard, to date more than 1.5 million patrons have enjoyed the Broadway, classical, opera, jazz and dance shows with more than 400 performances to choose from every year. Richard says the Arsht is thriving and now looking to the younger generation to keep the momentum going.
That's where the Green Room Society comes in. It is the young patrons membership group for the Arsht Center. Richard says they are gaining ground in tapping into the younger market but hope for more growth.