Q&A with George Neary, Greater Miami & The Beaches

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George Neary

Prevue asked George Neary, Director of Cultural Tourism for Greater Miami & the Beaches, for his thoughts about cultural and creative programs and events.

Q: How does Miami’s culture influence group events?

A: Groups visiting Greater Miami and the Beaches depart from the ordinary when they indulge in the city’s cultural enlightenment through music and dance, museums, galleries, theater performances and fabulous festivals that take place throughout the year.

Q: What are some unique cultural venues for groups?

A: The newest state-of-the-art performing arts center, Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, anchors the city’s bustling downtown. Contrasting this ultra-modern structure, the ornate Olympia Theater at the Gusman Center for the Performing Arts is a member of League of Historic American Theaters. The New World Center—the Frank Gehry-designed home of Miami’s New World Symphony—includes the Miami Beach Soundscape where concertgoers watch the symphony al fresco. Best of all, this amazing new venue is across the street from the 650,000+ square foot Miami Beach Convention Center.

Q: What are some creative group venues in Miami?

A: Miami’s art hot spots include the Wynwood Arts District and the Design District. In Wynwood, former warehouses have been turned into galleries and studios such as Rubell Art Family Collection, Margulies Collection and Soho Studios Wynwood Convention Center. Recently, Forbes ranked Wynwood at number 19 in its list of “America’s Hippest Hipster Neighborhoods.”

In the Design District, the Moore Building hosts a variety of art, design and fashion events throughout the year. South of the city is the 83-acre Fairchild Tropical Botanic Gardens, one of the world’s most beautiful botanic gardens.

Q: What festivals/cultural events can planners incorporate into their programs?

A: Art Basel Miami Beach, the most important art show in the United States and a cultural and social highlight for the Americas, is held in Miami and the Beaches the first week of December each year. Food Network’s South Beach Wine & Food Festival is a national, star-studded, four-day destination event showcasing the talents of the world’s most renowned wine and spirits producers, chefs and culinary personalities.

The annual Art Deco Weekend celebrates the National Art Deco Historic District in Miami Beach with more than 80 programmed events. And the Coconut Grove Arts Festival is an annual fine arts festival held during Presidents Day weekend.

Q: What are some restaurants and cuisine reflective of Miami’s culture?

A: Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink, located in Miami’s Design District, showcases James Beard Award-winning chef/owner Michael Schwartz. Miami native, Michelle Bernstein, an award-winning chef and Emmy-nominated host of Check Please, owns two restaurants—Michy’s and Crumb on Parchment. And Tuyo, a restaurant and culinary institute of Miami Dade College, offers New World flavors prepared by Chef Norman Van Aken.

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