At the center of Miami’s cultural evolution are locals who are indelibly influencing the creative landscape. Isabella Acker, creative director at the Prism Music Group, is definitely one of those agents of change.
Acker wants would-be trailblazers and Renaissance men (and women) to know that if they think an idea sounds crazy, then they’re probably on the right track.
An Atlanta-born music lover with an infectious energy and indomitable spirit, Acker knows that people in Miami want access to culture. It’s been the driving force behind the launch of her latest venture, Prism Music Group, a multifaceted music marketing and cultural programming agency that puts the emphasis on community. “Everyone in Miami wants accessibility to culture, and I love challenging the idea that Miami is exclusive,” she said, referring to the overarching stereotype inextricably linking Miami’s iconic nightlife with VIP cachet.
Acker knows what it’s like to be on both sides of the red velvet ropes; she landed her first gig as an intern for the Opium Group and worked her way up to director of marketing before she even graduated from FIU. Ever the free spirit, she quickly grew tired of the exclusivity of the scene. She took a 3-month sojourn to Barcelona for some much-needed soul searching before making the decision to return to Miami and launch her own projects, hoping to inject the heart-and-soul missing from many segments of Miami’s cultural landscape. “When I was there, I really reconnected with my love of live music and community and culture, and when I came back, I said, ‘I’m not applying to jobs.’”
Instead, she took the leap into entrepreneurship, starting the Black Key Group to help emerging and established local bands in need of an integrated branding and marketing strategy. Her work managing artists helped elevate musicians like Cris Cab and the Jacob Jeffries Band, while simultaneously building a loyal base of music scenesters tuning in for live coverage and social media content.
The motivation behind the birth of the Black Key Group hasn’t wavered with her latest endeavor. “My approach was always that I wanted to produce, market, and be an ambassador of culture as a consumer. Things that I want to see happening in Miami — those are the kinds of events I want to produce.”
Prism’s latest round of cultural happenings have been met with unbridled enthusiasm from Miamians thirsty for the multi-sensory experience Prism events have come to be known for, particularly the group’s collaborative partnership with the A&E District. The epic Miami Soul Train silent disco takeover of the Metromover was just one of the many projects she’s helped organize through Prism.
“These programs thrive because of the people that have the platforms to produce them. If you want to create these havens, these little areas where people have this sense of place, you activate what’s already there. You need those bigger platforms to want those initiatives. And I’ve never seen a connection like A&E’s in Miami,” she said. Prism Music Group handles marketing, branding, and creative strategy for the fledgling Arts & Entertainment district, which in just eight months has sponsored countless Prism events, including outdoor film screenings, acoustic sessions with local musicians, yoga classes, and s’mores roasts.
If it seems like quite a lot to take on, that’s because it is, and that’s only a fraction of the lineup Acker’s Prism Music Group has in store for Miami. That’s the thing about Acker — she’s always going a million miles a minute, with zero intentions of slowing down. And she’s urging Miami’s culture junkies to join her in the crusade. “My mentality for the last few years has been not to focus on the voids, but to find ways that I can trailblaze, and that’s how we should all be thinking,” she said. Her advice for budding entrepreneurs and future ambassadors of culture? Stay foolish.
“I feel like to be an entrepreneur part of you has to be so courageous, it’s stupid,” she says. “Even if you’ve never done something before or don’t know how to do it, you need to ask questions, be curious, and never be afraid. And even if you get discouraged along the way, know that someone out there feels the same way you do about what you’re trying to produce. There’s a whole sub-community of people out there who want the same things you do, and that’s enough.”