CORAL GABLES, Fla. and MIAMI, Oct. 3, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Bacardi U.S.A., Inc. (Bacardi USA) announced today that National YoungArts Foundation (YoungArts), a non-profit organization, has acquired the iconic landmark Bacardi Tower and Museum building complex in Miami, Florida. In an act of civic and cultural philanthropy, Bacardi has conveyed the property to YoungArts at a significant reduction of its market value, ensuring that an important part of Miami's architecture, social and cultural fabric will be preserved and honored. Bacardi has always maintained a core philosophy that design, art and architecture reflect a quality of life and the quality of the superior spirits brands produced and marketed by the company.
YoungArts, founded by Lin and Ted Arison in 1981 to identify and assist outstanding emerging young artists ages 15 and up, will convert the buildings into the organization's first national headquarters; creating a permanent home that will allow YoungArts to carry forward an expansion of activities unprecedented in its history. In order to help with its expansion, YoungArts has named Frank Gehry, Placido Domingo and Bill T. Jones as Artistic Advisors. As part of this initiative, the organization will produce events year-round in New York City, including performances programmed by Mikhail Baryshnikov, master classes and screenings at The Museum of Modern Art, and performances at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The purchase of the Bacardi campus will allow the organization to begin year-round activities in Miami.
"For nearly 50 years, these buildings have symbolized the pride of both the Bacardi family and company, reflective of their passion for producing fine premium spirits while being engaged with the very best of art and life in Miami and in helping that culture to flourish," stated Facundo L. Bacardi, a fifth generation family member and Chairman of the Board of Bacardi Limited, as Bacardi USA is part of the group of Bacardi companies. "I have seen the tremendous benefit in promoting the arts and Miami as a cultural hub and couldn't be more proud to have this organization continue the legacy of community dedication that started inside these buildings in 1963."
The Biscayne Boulevard complex, including the iconic blue-and-white-tiled and stained-glass buildings, was granted an historic designation by the City of Miami Preservation Board in October 2009.
"The development of this headquarters will benefit young artists across the country and is driven by the dramatic expansion of our programs," stated Paul T. Lehr, Executive Director of YoungArts. "Moreover, by acquiring the Bacardi campus, we are able to honor and preserve an important part of Miami's cultural history and plan to make it a thriving arts and cultural center for our community. We thank the Bacardi organization for its extraordinary act of civic-minded generosity."
Lin Arison added, "As much as our remarkable young artists need space to work, to learn and to present their achievements, they also need surroundings that inspire them. This campus is a place that can make their spirits soar and their ambitions a reality."
World-renowned architect and YoungArts Artistic Advisor Frank Gehry has been commissioned to design the master plan for the historic Bacardi campus, preserving the iconic features of the blue-and-white-tiled Tower and stained-glass "Jewel Box" buildings, while creating a multi-disciplinary arts complex that will include a park with state-of-the-art video projection capabilities and arts programming for the benefit of the community. This adaptive reuse will support YoungArts' ongoing programmatic expansion and will help the organization increase its service to emerging artists, reaching a greater number of young artists throughout the country, making deeper connections in key regions and working in a broader range of disciplines.
"I have been a mentor to some of the YoungArts students and know what a tremendous impact this organization has on them," said Frank Gehry. "It's a privilege to help make a new home for YoungArts, so it can do even more for these wonderful young people."
In recognition of the significance of the role the campus will play in its expanded activities, YoungArts will add a new discipline—architecture and design—to its existing nine disciplines of cinematic arts, dance, jazz, music, photography, theater, visual arts, voice and writing. The inaugural program in architecture and design will be initiated with a mentorship opportunity with Gehry for a select group of gifted and aspiring designers centered on the preservation and transformation of the Bacardi complex.
The new YoungArts campus will support existing YoungArts activities such as master classes and forums with renowned arts leaders; multi-disciplinary performances and exhibitions with emerging and established artists associated with YoungArts; and screenings of the Emmy-nominated HBO program YoungArts MasterClass, featuring YoungArts mentors Edward Albee, Placido Domingo, Jacques d'Amboise, Olafur Eliasson, Renee Fleming, Frank Gehry, John Guare, Bill T. Jones, Patti LuPone, Wynton Marsalis, Bobby McFerrin, Robert Redford, James Rosenquist, Julian Schnabel, Michael Tilson Thomas, Kathleen Turner and Liv Ullmann. YoungArts will maintain an entry-level art gallery in the Tower, offering exhibitions with free admission, and will provide space for year-round public programs, strengthening the organization's ties to its home community in Miami.
"These buildings served Bacardi well for more than 40 years and we're extremely pleased to have found a committed, locally-based steward who loves these iconic buildings, understands their importance, and will continue to share them with the community," added Mr. Bacardi. "If we ever had to let go of these buildings, all of us at Bacardi knew we wanted to ensure they would continue to be shared with the South Florida community. The heritage and significance of these buildings will be with Bacardi forever."
About the Bacardi Tower and Museum Buildings
The colorful Bacardi buildings—a main tower completed in 1963 and an annex completed in 1975, standing on a plaza on Biscayne Boulevard—are widely admired as outstanding examples of a tropical approach to modernity with a Latin influence. They have become familiar far beyond Miami through their frequent use as a location for films and television programs. These buildings served as the Bacardi USA headquarters until 2009. The current Americas headquarters of Bacardi is in Coral Gables, Florida.
The eight-story main tower was designed by Enrique Gutierrez, a collaborator of Mies van der Rohe, and features vibrant exterior walls tiled in 28,000 blue-and-white tiles by the Brazilian artist Francisco Brennand. The smaller annex building, known as the Jewel Box, was designed by Igancio Carrera-Justiz, with colorful glass mosaic walls based on designs by German artist Johannes Dietz to illustrate his inspiration of steps in the rum-making process.
About Bacardi U.S.A., Inc.
Bacardi U.S.A., Inc., is the United States import and distribution arm of one of the world's leading spirits and wine producers. The company boasts a portfolio of some of the most recognized and top-selling spirits brands in the United States including BACARDI® rum, the world's favorite and best-selling premium rum, as well as the world's most awarded rum; GREY GOOSE® vodka, the world leader in super-premium vodka; DEWAR'S® Blended Scotch whisky, the number-one selling blended Scotch whisky in the United States; BOMBAY SAPPHIRE® gin, the top-valued and fastest-growing premium gin in the world; CAZADORES® 100% blue agave tequila, the number-one premium tequila in Mexico and a top-selling premium tequila in the United States; MARTINI® vermouth and sparkling wines, the world's leading vermouth and the world's favorite Italian sparkling wines; and other leading and emerging brands. Bacardi Limited refers to the Bacardi group of companies, including Bacardi USA. www.BacardiUSA.com
About the National YoungArts Foundation
The National YoungArts Foundation (formerly known as the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts) was established in 1981 by Lin and Ted Arison to identify and support the next generation of artists, and to contribute to the cultural vitality of the nation by investing in the artistic development of talented young artists in the visual, literary, and performing arts. YoungArts provides emerging artists with life-changing experiences with renowned mentors, access to significant scholarships, national recognition, and other opportunities throughout their careers to help ensure that the nation's most outstanding emerging artists are encouraged to pursue careers in the arts.
To date, YoungArts has honored more than 16,000 young artists with over $6 million in monetary awards; facilitated in excess of $100 million in college scholarship opportunities; and enabled its participants to work with master teachers who are among the most distinguished artists in the world, such as Mikhail Baryshnikov, Jacques d'Amboise, Placido Domingo, Bill T. Jones, Quincy Jones and Martin Scorsese. In addition, at the request of the Commission on Presidential Scholars, which is appointed by the President of the United States, YoungArts serves as the exclusive nominating agency for the U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts, the country's highest honor for artistically talented high school seniors.
YoungArts alumni who have gone on to become leading professionals in their fields include actresses Vanessa Williams, Viola Davis, and Kerry Washington; four-time Tony Award nominee Raúl Esparza; Executive Director of American Ballet Theatre Rachel Moore; recording artists Nicki Minaj and Chris Young; musicians Terence Blanchard, Eric Owens, and Jennifer Koh; choreographer Desmond Richardson; and internationally acclaimed multimedia artist Doug Aitken.
Some of YoungArts work is featured in its Emmy nominated HBO series YoungArts MasterClass, in which masters teach and mentor young artists. Season 1 featured Edward Albee, Jacques d'Amboise, Placido Domingo, Olafur Eliasson, Frank Gehry, Bill T. Jones, Julian Schnabel, Michael Tilson Thomas, and Liv Ullmann. Season 2 will feature, among others, Renee Fleming, Robert Redford, John Guare, Bobby McFerrin, Patti LuPone, Bruce Weber, Joshua Bell, Wynton Marsalis, and Billy Joel. In conjunction with Columbia University's Teachers College, YoungArts also has developed a Study Guide based on its YoungArts MasterClass series which is distributed free to schools nationwide to help increase arts education and awareness.
SOURCE Bacardi U.S.A., Inc.