The Metropolitan Museum of Art announced that Adrienne Arsht is giving $10 million in support of the MetLiveArts performance series, the largest single gift to the Museum’s Department of Live Arts.
This transformative gift will fund department activities that uplift and highlight themes of resilience through art. The gift follows previous donations from Ms. Arsht to The Met that have strengthened inclusivity by creating the Museum’s first ever fully paid internship program and supported a diverse program of contemporary performance art.
“We are incredibly grateful to Adrienne Arsht for her remarkable gift, which will significantly advance the Museum’s commitment to groundbreaking performances and a thriving commissioning program,” said Max Hollein, Marina Kellen French Director of The Met. “The deep impact of Ms. Arsht’s gift is extraordinarily inspiring as it truly carries with it an important message and vision for live performance.”
Ms. Arsht said, “My gift will make it possible for the work of the Department of Live Arts to continue to embrace resilience as a primary organizing principle, creating opportunities for trailblazing artists to conceive daring, innovative work and encouraging audiences to see the world through a different lens. I believe my gift will motivate artists to create art that will teach and endure for generations.”
The Department of Live Arts commissions and presents live and digital performances from a wide array of artists and artistic practice that explore contemporary issues and narratives that connect performers and creators directly to the Museum and its collection. Ms. Arsht’s gift will further support new works and commissions that highlight groundbreaking originality and provide the foundation for transformative and ambitious productions.
Limor Tomer, Lulu C. and Anthony W. Wang General Manager of Live Arts, commented: “We are profoundly grateful to Adrienne Arsht for her support of vital performance programming at The Met for nearly a decade. The notion of resilience has always been urgent to Ms. Arsht, and her bold vision impacts both what is seen on the stage and the creative process itself.”
A longtime supporter of The Met, Ms. Arsht pledged $5 million to the Museum in 2020 in support of its MetLiveArts series as well as The Met’s graduate and undergraduate internship program. The gift ensured an ambitious series of performances that championed resilience and created an internship program that is 100 percent paid, making The Met a leader in the field as the single largest art museum in the country to offer fully paid internship opportunities.
When the paid program of Adrienne Arsht Interns was announced, the spring 2021 program saw a record number of applications and the program saw a 200 percent increase over the previous year. The number of applications from students reflecting a wide and diverse range of backgrounds, geography, fields of study, and areas of interest has remained consistently high throughout 2021 and 2022.
Ms. Arsht’s leadership support began with the Museum’s first TEDxMet: Icons event in 2013—and the work Tip by cutting-edge choreographer Elizabeth Streb—and TEDxMet: The In-Between in 2015. It continued with the popular Museum Workout (2017), an exhilarating tour and performance throughout the Museum’s galleries with Monica Bill Barnes & Company featuring narration and a route created by Maira Kalman; The Met’s first sound installation, Vessel Orchestra by artist Oliver Beer in 2019; and the opera The Mother of Us All (2020), a site-sensitive production presented in the Charles Engelhard Court that explored themes of democracy, freedom of speech, and the centenary of the 19th Amendment.
Resilience has been central to many of the projects supported by Ms. Arsht. Recent examples include a production in February 2022 of Beethoven’s Fidelio by Heartbeat Opera, which celebrated the resilience of people in the face of injustice; and, in March 2022, Life Returns by composer and saxophonist Matthew Evan Taylor, which reflected on the resilience of individuals in the face of unprecedented adversity. In June 2022, the Adrienne Arsht Fund for Resilience through Art supported a special concert to celebrate Ukraine’s diverse musical cultures with performances by world-renowned artists with Ukrainian roots.
Upcoming performances include J.S. Bach’s Goldberg Variations with Machine Dazzle in December; the world premiere of Songs in Flight in January, with singer and multi-instrumentalist Rhiannon Giddens, inspired by individual stories found within the “Freedom on the Move” database of “runaway ads” collected from early newspapers in the United States; and in May a celebration of Latinx composers with Catalyst Quartet and American Ballet Theatre Principal Dancer Herman Cornejo.
As a business leader and impact philanthropist, Adrienne Arsht has taken a leading role promoting artistic, business, and civic growth in Washington, D.C., Miami, and New York. In addition to her previous support of the MetLiveArts series, Ms. Arsht was a former William Cullen Bryant Fellow (2012–13) and a past supporter of the American Wing Acquisitions Fund with a gift in 2012 toward the purchase of Albert Bierstadt’s painting Studies of Indian Chiefs Made at Fort Laramie, c. 1859. Her $30 million contribution to Miami’s Performing Arts Center in 2008 secured its financial footing.
In her honor, the center was renamed the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County. In 2012, her contribution of $10 million to Lincoln Center was recognized with the dedication of the Adrienne Arsht Stage in Alice Tully Hall.
In Washington in 2016, Ms. Arsht spearheaded the creation of the Adrienne Arsht Center for Resilience at the Atlantic Council, which was renamed in 2019 the Adrienne Arsht-Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center, with the $30 million Rockefeller Foundation gift that she matched.
She also founded, in 2013, the Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center at the Atlantic Council to focus on the role of South America in the trans-Atlantic community. Recently, Ms. Arsht donated $10 million to the Smithsonian Institution to launch the Adrienne Arsht Community-Based Resilience Solutions Initiative, a multiyear program to research tropical resilience and educate the public about the role resilience plays in shaping the world around us.
Ms. Arsht is a Trustee of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, where she established the Adrienne Arsht Theater Fund. She is Trustee Emerita of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and Executive Vice Chairman of the Atlantic Council. She is on the Trustees Council of the National Gallery of Art and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art was founded in 1870 by a group of American citizens—businessmen and financiers as well as leading artists and thinkers of the day—who wanted to create a museum to bring art and art education to the American people. Today, The Met displays tens of thousands of objects covering 5,000 years of art from around the world for everyone to experience and enjoy. The Museum lives in two iconic sites in New York City—The Met Fifth Avenue and The Met Cloisters.
Millions of people also take part in The Met experience online. Since its founding, The Met has always aspired to be more than a treasury of rare and beautiful objects. Every day, art comes alive in the Museum’s galleries and through its exhibitions and events, revealing both new ideas and unexpected connections across time and across cultures.
Adrienne Arsht was featured on the cover of Lifestyles Magazine/Meaningful Influence.