Dr. Herbert & Nicole Wertheim Family Foundation | Arts & Culture
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Arts & Culture

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FIU Performing Arts Center

The Hebert and Nicole Wertheim Performing Arts Center (WPAC) opened in 1996, and houses the FIU Department of Theatre and FIU School of Music. The WPAC is one of Miami’s premiere collegiate theatrical and concert venues. It is located on FIU’s Modesto Maidique Campus (MMC). The $14 million Herbert and Nicole Wertheim Performing Arts Center stands as the centerpiece of Florida International University’s commitment to the performing arts. A commitment that recognizes the place of music and theatre in the educational and cultural life of our community.

 

The outstanding facility features five distinctive stages, each of which accentuates a unique aspect of the performing arts. Soloists and orchestras revel in the Performing Arts Center’s crown jewel, a 600-seat concert hall that boasts the finest in acoustical engineering and hosts professional music recordings. Theatrical productions benefit the high-quality lighting and sound systems in the 220-seat proscenium theatre, while smaller productions find a welcome home in the the intimate and engaging black box theatre, instrumental hall, and the recital hall. Also located within the facility are practice rooms and a state-of-the-art electronic music laboratory all supportting an active and growing body of young talent.

 

The Sydell Ida Wertheim Concert Organ is the spotlight of the Herbert and Nicole Wertheim Performing Arts Center. The prestigious 125-year-old Schantz Organ Company took nearly a year to build the 26-ton organ that is the largest in Miami-Dade County and one of the most technologically advanced in the country. The university dedicated the concert organ to the memory of Dr. Herbert Wertheim’s mother, Sydell Ida Wertheim.

 

Theatre majors present four productions per season at the Mainstage Theatre as well as in the Black Box Theatre. The upcoming season will feature professional-grade productions of “Cardenio”, “Sleeping Beauty”, “June Moon”, and “Julius Caesar”.

 

Music majors participate in over 150 performances during the concert season, which incorporates music of all styles including jazz, early music, chamber music, choral/vocal, contemporary music, wind, and opera theater performed by world class musicians and ensembles. They also participate in a plethora of masterclasses and lectures that are also open to the public and offered at no charge.

Sydell Ida Wertheim Concert Organ

A gift from longtime FIU philanthropist Dr. Herbert Wertheim, the Sydell Ida Wertheim Concert Organ was custom-made by one of the country’s preeminent organ builders, the Schantz Organ Company of Ohio.

 

Built in 1999 for nearly $700,000, the 4,226-pipe Schantz organ is the crown jewel of the Hebert and Nicole Wertheim Performing Arts Center’s 600-seat concert hall and would cost millions of dollars to build today.

 

It took a year for the 26-ton organ, which is the largest in Miami-Dade County and one of the most technologically advanced in the country, to be completed. It features a solid-oak console with four manual keyboards and a pedal clavier that controls its pipes.

 

The organ’s completion earned FIU the cover photo of the October 1999 issue of the journal The American Organist with an accompanying essay by Schantz Tonal Director Jeffrey Dexter. In his essay, Dexter noted that Schantz organs are typically built for churches, so Schantz relished the opportunity to customize an organ for a university with a thriving School of Music and outstanding concert hall.

 

“This instrument is unquestionably one of the finest concert organs to be found anywhere in the state of Florida,” Dexter wrote.

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Public Television

Dr. Wertheim has served as a member of numerous local and national charitable boards, including the Zoological Society of South Florida and the American Heart Association of Miami, was a founding benefactor for the Koala and River Otter projects at Miami Metro Zoo, and was a member of the Vail Valley Foundation. The Wertheim Foundation was the original sponsor of the first five year funding for the TV series National Geographic, Nature, Life on Earth, Jacques Cousteau, Firing Line, and other educational programs on South Florida Public Television, WPBT-TV. The foundation also funded the construction of the Public Radio Station in Vail, Colorado, and the first PBS TV repeater in the Rocky Mountains.

FIU Art Museum

Housed on the Modesto Maidique Campus of Florida International University, The Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum (formerly The Art Museum at FIU) opened in 1977. Initially a small gallery of less than 3000 square feet, the Museum grew to achieve local, national and international recognition as one of South Florida’s key cultural institutions. The Frost Art Museum’s extraordinary programmatic growth during the 1980s and 1990s, qualified the Museum for designation as a Major Cultural Institution by both the State of Florida and Miami-Dade County. Grants from both sources, complimented by endowments, membership and private and corporate giving, provide stable funding for annual programs. In 1999, the Museum received accreditation from the American Associations of Museums (now the American Alliance of Museums) and reaccredited in 2011. In 2001, the Museum became an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution.

 

Following the groundbreaking for its new facilities in 2003, the Art Museum at FIU was officially renamed The Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum. The museum gained a respected reputation for its innovative exhibitions, outstanding lecture series and educational outreach programs for South Florida’s diverse audiences. Through generous support from private donations as well as state and local government agencies, the Frost Art Museum is able to offer free admission to all exhibitions and public events.

 

The Museum’s growing collection has several notable donations of important groups of work. In 1989, the FIU leadership and the board of the Metropolitan Museum and Art Center in Coral Gables, ensured the intact survival of this important collection by transferring its ownership to the Frost Art Museum when the private museum closed.

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Norton Museum

Since its founding in 1941, The Norton Museum of Art has grown and evolved to become one of Florida’s major cultural institutions. The Museum is internationally known for its distinguished permanent collection featuring American Art, Chinese Art, Contemporary Art, European Art and Photography. Its masterpieces of 19th century and 20th century painting and sculpture include works by Brancusi, Gauguin, Matisse, Miró, Monet, Picasso, Davis, Hassam, Hopper, Manship, O’Keeffe, Pollock and Sheeler. The Museum presents special exhibitions, lectures, tours and programs for adults and children throughout the year…

Whitney Museum

As the preeminent institution devoted to the art of the United States, the Whitney Museum of American Art presents the full range of twentieth-century and contemporary American art, with a special focus on works by living artists. The Whitney is dedicated to collecting, preserving, interpreting, and exhibiting American art, and its collection—arguably the finest holding of twentieth-century American art in the world—is the Museum’s key resource. The Museum’s signature exhibition, the Biennial, is the country’s leading survey of the most recent developments in American art.

 

Innovation has been a hallmark of the Whitney since its beginnings. It was the first museum dedicated to the work of living American artists and the first New York museum to present a major exhibition of a video artist (Nam June Paik in 1982). Such figures as Jasper Johns, Cy Twombly, and Cindy Sherman were given their first museum retrospectives by the Whitney. The Museum has consistently purchased works within the year they were created, often well before the artists became broadly recognized. The Whitney was the first museum to take its exhibitions and programming beyond its walls by establishing corporate-funded branch facilities, and the first museum to undertake a program of collection-sharing (with the San Jose Museum of Art) in order to increase access to its renowned collection.

 

Designed by architect Renzo Piano and situated between the High Line and the Hudson River, the Whitney’s new building vastly increases the Museum’s exhibition and programming space, providing the most expansive view ever of its unsurpassed collection of modern and contemporary American art.

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