YoungArts: in 2017, art will help us bridge the divides 2016 revealed

Last year, our city got a whole slew of new museum and artistic directors, and this year they’re ready to shake things up. We’re going to be spending this month making the city’s movers and shakers nail down some resolutions and predictions for their work in 2017. This week we’re talking arts.

Lisa Leone is an artist and the National YoungArts Foundation’s Vice President of Artistic Programs. She’s a photographer, writer, cinematographer, and director. This fall her photos will be featured at the new National Museum of African American History and Culture – Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. We’ve lightly edited this interview for clarity and brevity. 

With Art Basel and a public interactive film, 2016 was an incredible year.

We had a fantastic Art Basel. José Parlá came here and spoke to the kids; he was an amazing teacher and his love for arts is infectious.

We commissioned a YoungArts alumni film project called “Transformations,” which was a big highlight for our 35th anniversary season. The five short films were made up of interdisciplinary groups — dancers, visual artists, filmmakers, musicians, and graphic designers — each working together to make shorts that premiered on the YoungArts Campus.

We also did Jay Scheib’s Carmen for our “Outside the Box” program, where more than 800 people came to see a live interactive opera on the YoungArts Plaza. It was a pretty incredible year.

Through art, we can come together.

We’re talking to the artistic community about working together to broaden our audiences and perspectives, similar to what we did earlier this year with ICA Miami and the Michael Clark Company. I’m really excited about more of those types of collaborations in 2017… We all just have to get organized and make working together a collective priority.

Also at this time, we’re programming exhibitions and events that help us understand our pressing social and political divides. Through art we can better come together.

I am looking forward to the opening of the Frost Science Museum in February, which will help expand our cultural corridor that also includes PAMM and Arsht Center… Plus, I love science!

And of course there’s our YoungArts program in January, where we have wonderful master teachers such as Olympia Dukakis, Mel Chin, and Bill T. Jones.

Connecting and creating together

I’m going to personally reach out and connect with other leaders in the community to try and create some programming between us. Actually, I’ve already started.

FYI: It’s National Young Arts week this week, running from Jan. 8 through Jan. 15. That means some of the country’s best dancers, artists, and musicians will be here in Miami training and honing their craft. Here’s a list of all the public performances the local community can check out:

🎤 1/9: Classical, Jazz & Pop Voice Performance
🎷 1/10: Theater & Jazz Instrumental Performance
💃 1/11: Dance Performance & Cinematic Arts Screenings
🎹 1/12: Classical Music Concert
💬 1/13: Writers’ Readings & Design Exhibition