Monday, October 6, 2014

Women rule the South Florida arts world - postedby FFAB

For all the progress women have made in shattering glass ceilings, barriers to top leadership jobs, career progress and equal pay still exist in plenty of fields.

But in South Florida’s arts-and-culture community, it’s a different story. For women with vision and the drive to lead, that story is one of opportunity, challenges and creative fulfillment.
On the eve of the 2014-2015 season, a look at the range of visual arts organizations, dance companies, theaters, performance presenters, music groups and opera companies turns up what may be to some a surprising fact: Here, women rule.

Look at a sampling of 148 of the more than 350 arts and culture groups funded through Miami-Dade County’s Department of Cultural Affairs, and you’ll find 91 are led by women. In Broward, of 50 groups receiving grants from the county’s Cultural Division, 28 are headed by women. In Palm Beach, of 73 arts and culture organizations belonging to the county’s Cultural Council, 50 are run by women.

The groups range from startups with modest means to huge organizations with budgets in the millions. Miami City Ballet, the Florida Grand Opera, the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts and several major museums — the Bass, the NSU Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale, the Frost, the Norton — are all woman-led.
Many women are running organizations they created. Some of the region’s power players ascended into their jobs; as Judith Mitchell, chief executive officer of the Kravis Center, observes, “I’m a product of promotion from within. I believe in it.” Still others were hired away from cultural groups in different cities.

Ask some of them why women dominate the arts scene here, and they share a variety of theories. Joann María Yarrow, artistic director of the Spanish-language Teatro Prometeo and conservatory at Miami Dade College’s Wolfson campus, has an evocative one.

“It goes back to the idea that Miami is a young city. Older cities have [entrenched] male leadership, and it’s about women breaking through that,” Yarrow says. “In Miami, women are in the forefront. And if you were going to give Miami a gender, you’d have it say it’s a woman.”

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