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The Sunshine Economy

Art And The Sunshine Economy

Tom Hudson


There are plenty of ways to measure the meaning of art: aesthetic value, emotion resonance, ticket sales, auction price, jobs. South Florida's art economy is young but growing.

Communities have invested hundreds of millions of public dollars in performing arts centers and museums, cultural programs and outreach efforts. The arts are embedded in the promise of South Florida marketed to visitors.

And increasingly, South Florida artists are appearing on the world's stage. 

The Sunshine Economy spoke with several people at the intersection of art and commerce to hear how the region is creating art as its own economic stimulus. Hear from them below.

Adrienne Arsht

Credit Tom Hudson / WLRN
Adrienne Arsht sits in the Ziff Ballet Opera House, one of two performance halls at the center bearing her name.
Hear from Adrienne Arsht, who donated $30 million to the performing arts center in Miami in 2008.

Howard Herring

Credit Tom Hudson / WLRN
New World Symphony President and CEO Howard Herring.
Hear from Howard Herring, whose New World Symphony moved from the Lincoln Theater to its own building in Miami Beach as it expanded its efforts to attract new audiences.

John Richard

Credit Tom Hudson / WLRN
Here is John Richard at the Arsht Center's new restaurant, BRAVA!, which opened in November.
John Richard was hired as president and CEO at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in October, 2008. It was during the depths of the real estate crash and Great Recession.

Lindsey Scott and Linda Boone

Credit Tom Hudson / WLRN
The shop is part of the West Palm Beach Arts and Entertainment District, an effort by the city to encourage and attract an arts economy to its downtown.


Linda Boone and Lindsey Scott, the mother daughter team of Habatat Galleries.

Clemente Mimun

Credit Tom Hudson / WLRN
Artist and landlord Clemente Mimun inside the vacant space behind the building he owns in West Palm Beach's Arts and Entertainment District.
Clemente Mimun plans on converting his building to live-work space for artists. He pledges to keep the rent steady.

Paul Fisher

Credit Tom Hudson
Gallery owner Paul Fisher stands beside "Sleeping Idol" by Serge Strosberg. Strosberg was the featured artist at the grand opening of Fisher's gallery in West Palm Beach's Arts and Entertainment District in November. Fisher says he sold five works during the opening party.
Paul Fisher talks about artist Serge Strosberg's "Sleeping Idol" (above).

West Palm Beach Development Authority

Credit Tom Hudson & courtesy of Carey O'Donnell
Day and night scenes of the Evernia Street Parking Garage stairwells. When they needed repainting the West Palm Beach Downtown Development Authority partnered with muralists to paint seven floors of scenes.
West Palm Beach Downtown Development Authority executive director Raphael Clemente describes how muralists painted the Evernia Street garage stairwells.

In a journalism career covering news from high global finance to neighborhood infrastructure, Tom Hudson is the Vice President of News and Special Correspondent for WLRN. He hosts and produces the Sunshine Economy and anchors the Florida Roundup in addition to leading the organization's news engagement strategy.