Wednesday July 19, 2006

It’s official: Miami Performing Arts Center is now the Carnival Performing Arts Center. They transfered their name from the concert hall and ponied up an additional $10 million (for a total of 20 mill) for the name. Knight Foundation kicked in another $10 million and now we have the John S. and James L. Knight Concert Hall. Not bad for a day’s work. Update: Hey look, there’s a new web site.



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  1. Rick    Wed Jul 19, 06:57 PM #  

    So what do you think of the new name??


  2. Christian Calzadillas    Wed Jul 19, 07:18 PM #  

    I’m gonna offer them about 20 bucks and see if I can’t make the “ Urinal” happen!

  3. alesh    Wed Jul 19, 07:20 PM #  

    Ah; glad you asked. I have a weird discomfort with corporate names, especially on something that is supposed to be a public institution – it has a cheapening effect. On the other hand, it’s the way things are done, so it needs to be accepted. I also have a problem with Carnival and the cruise industry as a whole.

    On the other hand, Carnival is a Miami based company in a very Miami sort of industry, and it sounds nice, and it has pleasant semantic overtones.

    On balance I like it.

  4. Tere    Wed Jul 19, 07:59 PM #  

    I don’t see why it couldn’t just be the Miami Performing Arts Center, or the Miami-Dade Center for the Performing Arts, or any other such variation.

    The corporate naming thing is so tacky. It’s one thing for sports arenas (since everything about sports is a corporate sellout), but for places that are supposed to showcase world-class acts – operas, symphonies, etc., it’s like being tacky nouveau riche.

    Then again, this is the same beige roach that’s located a block away from dire poverty, prostitutes and crack houses. So why am I am expecting anything from it?

    Sorry to be such a bitch about it, but I fail to see what good this center’s going to do.

  5. Tere    Wed Jul 19, 08:04 PM #  

    Wait, let me correct myself: I see what the center’s supposed to do, I just disagree with the way the whole affair’s been carried out. From the extreme delays and cost overruns, to the fact that this grand facility will in all probablity be enjoyed by only 2% of the population, yet we’ve all had to foot the bill and be inconvenienced by the s-l-o-w construction (for those of us who work in the area). It all just leaves a bad taste in my mouth. And believe me, I’d love to be proven wrong.

  6. alesh    Wed Jul 19, 09:11 PM #  

    We’ll see, Tere. In the meantime, you’re welcome to continue to call it the Miami Performing Arts Center (and I suspect you’ll be in good company).

    Beige roach, eh?

  7. Tere    Wed Jul 19, 09:35 PM #  

    Thanks, Alesh, I believe I will, corporate sponsors be damned! :-)

    And beige roach because it just doesn’t please or move my architectural aesthetic…

  8. Rick    Wed Jul 19, 10:36 PM #’s the way things are done, so it needs to be accepted.

    Jeez, I’m racking my brain trying to remember who once said this…trying hard…a female…a black female…yeah, yeah…I got it!

    Rosa Parks!

    Hate to say it, but for at least 50% of the people who hear that name, especially for those who are from out of town or have never sailed the seven seas, the first thing that’s going to come to mind is a House of Mirrors and cotton candy.

    Pleasant semantic overtones…


  9. alesh    Wed Jul 19, 10:48 PM #  

    Rick~ Not sure what you’re trying to say, but I’m willing to stipulate that some sort of movement against corporate naming rights for public entities is possible. Good luck with that, you freedom fighter, you!

    I think Carnival is a pretty well known international brand, but yes, it does conjure up happy notions of celebration and whatnot. When I put on my adbusters deconstructionist hat, I bemoan that even this very naming does nothing more or less then to tie those happy notions to an evil corporation’s product. When I put on my grand-scheme-of-things hat, though (it’s in fashion this season), i realize that i have bigger (and tastier) fish to fry.

  10. Rick    Thu Jul 20, 08:18 AM #  

    You’re passionate about the arts, Alesh. I’m passionate about golf. Let’s say millions of dollars were spent building a state-of-the-art golf course in South Florida over a couple years and when it came time to name the course they anointed it the Burger King Golf and Country Club. I’d be upset. I wouldn’t just shrug my shoulders, throw up my hands and say, “Oh well, that’s just the way it is. We have to accept it.”

    Given the fact that most performing arts center that I know about (albeit, it’s a very small sample) don’t integrate a corporate sponsor into their name, your response just seems a little disingenuous and I’m just trying to figure out why.


  11. Joe Robbie    Thu Jul 20, 11:31 AM #  

    A corporate name on a sports facility is an abomination. On a museum, school, or performing arts venue, it’s something even worse. But back to reality. According to my watch it’s 2006, and this is the way it’s gonna be. Get used to it. Or make a ton of money, give it away to an institution you believe in, and insist it’s named something that would credit the community you love and want to honor.

  12. J-J    Thu Jul 20, 12:41 PM #  


    We also have the Walt Disney Concert Hall in LA. I think Frank Ghery made that one .The point is that this things happen and they are really not that of big deal anymore. We can enjoy the bulding and that’s all that matters.

    Did any of you get to see the line up?
    the CPAC will be hosting
    Woody Allen
    Randy Newman
    and my all-time favorite Burt Bacharach
    I’m definitely going to do this shows God knows that it may only happen once and after the CPAC hoopla dies down, we will never see this guys in town here ever again.


  13. mkh    Thu Jul 20, 01:29 PM #  

    I admit that I am not a fan of corporate naming. One of the functions of an arts center (or an arena, in theory) is to build community. The Carnival Performing Arts Center could be in any city in the country. From a PR perspective, it isn’t going to make people in Kansas City think of Miami as a cultured location—they might think it’s an adjunct campus for the Clown College. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, particularly given the numbers of clowns we have here.

    Yes, the line-up looks good, and I wish them success. I just wish we lived in a place where community mattered more than corporate PR.

  14. Manola Blablablanik    Thu Jul 20, 03:28 PM #  

    I don’t have all my fact-ducks in a row, but I think it’s safe to say Carnival “owns” practically every major performing art institution in this town, doesn’t it?

    Ted Arison was a good friend of Michael Tilson Thomas and he put down the seed money for the New World Symphony. Thank God, however, they didn’t call it Carnival Symphony: America’s Only Orchestral Academy. (Because then all those aspiring musicians would’ve been confused with graduates of clown school.)

    As someone who used to work in the non-profit fundraising world, I think it’s safe to say that a) MPAC desperately needed this windfall of cash and was willing to sell out the name in exchange. If I were a classy billion dollar tourist operation, I would give the money, to be sure, but I’d find other ways to publicize my sponsorship. Can you say someone kissed somebody’s ass? And did you look at the logo? There’s NOTHING that says Miami about it.

    There must’ve been some fundraising effort to get corporations to bid on the name …

    And, ehem, Carnival Cruises is just across the street … and so, hey, why not come to Miami on Carnival Airlines (I’ve flown them!!!), go on a cruise and see a show???

    Now sometimes, performing arts centers do get named by the individual donor and/or charitable foundation who forked the dough over to make it happen in the first place, which is a different story. You know, like Guggenheim, Kravis, etc; This doesn’t bother me so much because it was the FOUNDER of the place, not someone who decided to up the ante by putting more moolah on the table than the last corporate sponsor. So the place retains some of its public identity.

    I know things are what they are (as Alesh points out), but I still find the whole thing is utterly tasteless.

    What’s next? Don’t be surprised if the feminine hygiene industry steps in with a 10.5 million dollar donation and have the name changed to Tampax Performing Arts Center.

  15. gansibele    Thu Jul 20, 03:52 PM #  

    I guess I’m on the “ok, I’ll accept it” camp. But it pisses me off I paid so much money to build the thing and Carnival gets to name it for 20 mil. Especially since 20 mil is but a pittance compared with the amount of money they save in taxes and labor by registering the ships offshore. Good corporate citizens my ass.

    And the logo is hideous.

  16. alesh    Thu Jul 20, 10:34 PM #  

    slight correction: the name is “Carnival Center for the Performing Arts.” My review of their web site is up soon.

  17. nonee moose    Fri Jul 21, 12:30 PM #  

    Hey, it could have been Yahoo! And it looks more like a turd. Two turds.

    Mickey should have just named it after himself… effing tax accountants!

  18. Robert    Fri Jul 21, 03:32 PM #  

    I’m wish Alesh here. Yeah, I wish they wouldn’t have named it Carnival, or any other corporate name. But it IS a fact of life these days (and I’m usually the idealistic naive one). It really isn’t that big of a deal when you come to think of it. The fact that the center has the Carnival name attached to it shouldn’t detract from the significance of having the facility in our community.

    BTW, from looking at the prices for the shows, they’re not exhorbitant (as long you don’t choose front orchestra of course!).

    We’ve waited decades for a top of the line performing arts center. I’m sure there are very few projects of this nature nationwide that DON’T run into delays and cost overruns. Let’s just enjoy the performances in what hopes to be a world-class venue.

  19. Tere    Fri Jul 21, 08:48 PM #  

    “Exhorbitant” will be the parking rates.

    “Exhausting” will be the walk from the parking garage/lots to the center.