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Cultural Highlights in Coral Gables
Coral Gables was designed to be a home for fine art and culture, even as the city was in the planning stages.

Decades later, it continues to blossom and thrive as the cultural centerpiece of South Florida. With its concentration of galleries, museums, theaters, tropical gardens, fine restaurants, festivals and myriad cultural opportunities, it is unequaled by any city of its size.

The University of Miami, with the Lowe Art Museum, Cosford Cinema, Beaux Arts Festival, School of Music, Gusman Hall, Ring Theater and other fine arts assets, is a major contributor the cultural fabric of Coral Gables. Many smaller organizations also provide avenues of artistic expression with events and programs around town throughout the year.

Every April, the Merrick Festival seeks to reflect the cultural diversity of Coral Gables by inviting artists, performers and chefs from many regions, as well as those from South Florida, to participate in a weekend of art, music, food, theater, opera and children's performances in front of City Hall. The event involves many cultural organizations and community service groups working together to honor city founder George Merrick and his insightful talent for planning and executing a city that celebrates fine art and embraces world cultures.

For cultural opportunities, Coral Gables is truly an art lover's paradise. The city's Cultural Development Board grants funds to cultural organizations annually in an effort to promote the arts and provide a rich environment for artistic expression to thrive.

The City Cultural

The Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce encourages interaction between businesses and cultural organizations through their Cultural Affairs Committee.
Miami-Dade County's Cultural Affairs Department, lead by Michael Spring, encourages a wide range of cultural opportunities with a budget of almost $10 million annually.
Lowe Art Museum
1301 Stanford Dr., phone 305-284-3535

Opened to the public in 1952, the Lowe is the first art museum in South Florida. Located on the University of Miami campus, the free-standing museum's 10,000–object collection is one of the most important in the southeast. The Lowe is known for its Renaissance and Baroque, American, Native American, pre–Columbian and Asian art. Forty-one Renaissance and Baroque paintings and sculptures are the backbone of its Western collection. The Americas Collection includes 1,470 works surveying art in the Americas during the 19th and 20th centuries. The Lowe's pre- Columbian collection was begun in 1958 but achieved international stature with the gift of 531 works by Robert M. Bischoff in 1984. The Lowe's important Asian collection features Chinese, Korean and Japanese ceramics, painting and sculpture. www.lowemuseum.org

Coral Gables Branch Library
3443 Segovia St., phone 305-442-8706
The 28,000-squarefoot library building blends contemporary design with Mediterranean influence. Honduran mahogany doors, wrought-iron Spanish chandeliers and a spacious lobby with red tile floors carry out the Spanish atmosphere. The Coral Gables Branch of the Miami-Dade Public Library System holds 120,315 books, videos and audio cassettes. The Children’s Room is the proud home of the original set of Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls donated by the wife of author Johnny Gruelle. The historic dolls were restored with funding from the Dade Community Foundation. Outside the library, lush tropical landscaping includes a butterfly garden with benches. www.mdpls.org
Fairchild Tropical Garden
10901 Old Cutler Rd., phone 305-667-1651
One of the world's preeminent botanic gardens, it boasts extensive collections of rare tropical plants including palms, cycads, flowering trees and vines. Opened to the pubic in 1938, the 83-acre garden offers a variety of programs in environmental education, conservation and horticulture. A narrated tram tour takes visitors through the lush and extensive garden. The garden was designed by renowned landscape architect William Lyman Phillips, a member of the Frederik Law Olmsted partnership, and the leading designer of South Florida parks during the 1930s. An international leader in tropical plant research, Fairchild plays an important part in preserving the biodiversity of the tropical environment. www.fairchildgarden.org
Coral Gables Merrick House
907 Coral Way, phone 305-460-5361
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this structure stands as a tribute to the history of South Florida. Merrick House was the home of Reverend Solomon G. Merrick, his wife Althea and their six children. The Merricks’ oldest son, George, founded and developed the City of Coral Gables. The master-planned city was incorporated in 1925. An example of early Coral Gables architecture, the house exists much as it did in the 1920s and is operated as a museum. It is filled with the Merrick family’s artwork, photographs, furniture and personal treasures. Visit the web site at www.coralgables.com, under Historical Resources Department
The Coral Gables Museum (underway)
In 2005, the City will dedicate the historic municipal building at 285 Aragon Avenue as a general museum. Popularly known as the Old Police and Fire Station, the complex is one of the simplest but most elegant public buildings in Coral Gables. Built in 1939 by the Works Project Administration (WPA), the building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The building was designed by Phineas Paist, who was vital in the development of George Merrick’s dream city and later principal architect for the City of Coral Gables. The exterior sculptures seen on the west side of the façade, along Salzedo, were executed by Theresa Keller (known professionally as Jon Keller), a noted moderne sculptor of the period. The sculptures depict firemen and the families saved through the valiant efforts of firefighters.

The mission of the Museum will be to celebrate the past and present City Beautiful and offer a vision for the future. Exhibits will be either of a storyline/permanent nature or temporary and traveling. The use of the term “general” means that all disciplines will be incorporated into interpretation. Some temporary exhibits may be about subjects or collections that are not associated with the City. Interesting collections from residents or others will be displayed on a temporary basis; these will be chosen based on established criteria. In addition to permanent and temporary exhibits, the Museum program will include archival collections, educational offerings for students and adults, publications, and special events. An on-site gift shop is planned, as well as significant space for community meetings.

Steinway Gallery
Except for their New York location, the Coral Gables store is the only Steinway owned property in the U.S. The famed piano maker has a recital hall where numerous events are hosted throughout the year at 4104 Ponce de Leon Boulevard. Phone: 305-774-9878. www.spgmiami.com
Bill Cosford Cinema
The Bill Cosford Cinema on the University of Miami campus (305-284-4861) shows art, foreign, student and experimental films during the school year.
Alcazar Cinematheque
The Alcazar Cinematheque (235 Alcazar Ave., phone 305-445-8877) shows foreign films.
Spanish Cultural Center
The Spanish Cultural Center (phone 305-448-9577) in the historic Douglas Entrance hosts movies, lectures, performances, poetry recitals and art exhibits. www.miami.edu/com/cosford.htm
Junior Orange Bowl Caroling Competition
The Merrick Festival Junior Orange Bowl Caroling Competition is a community event held for a week every December at the 550 Biltmore Building. Local public school choirs compete in a contest in front of the giant poinsettia Christmas tree.
Tropical Baroque Music Festival by Miami Bach Society
The Tropical Baroque Music Festival presented by the Miami Bach Society draws performers and music fans from around the globe for its series of concerts held in March. The growing event features an outdoor concert at Fairchild Tropical Garden, performances at various venues throughout Coral Gables, and a grand concert at the Biltmore Hotel. For information, call 305-661-2481. www.miamibachsociety.org
Mainly Mozart
The Mainly Mozart event brings chamber music to the Ballroom at the Omni Colonnade Hotel for a series of eight consecutive Sundays each May and June. For information, call 305- 444-4755. www.mainlymozart.de
The Greater Miami Symphonic Band
The Community Band movement began in the early 1800’s. Through the years, community bands have been a principal exponent of American musical culture at the grass roots level—playing for social and ceremonial occasions in bandstands, town halls, and auditoriums. Community bands provide a means for continued musical expression by thousands of talented performers and an important cultural source for audience members. The Greater Miami Symphonic Band began in 1979. Since the first rehearsal with forty-five musicians of diverse backgrounds and musical abilities, the Band has grown to a present membership of approximately eighty-five. GMSB members are adults who volunteer their time and talents to the Band. The purpose is to provide the Miami area with a first-class musical aggregation and to provide opportunity for musical expression in an organized concert band. The Band performs publicly on a regular basis at various indoor and outdoor locations, giving the residents of the area an opportunity to hear the beauty and diversity of the symphonic band repertoire. The band performs five concerts a season at the Maurice Gusman Concert Hall on the campus of the University of Miami in Coral Gables www.gmsb.org
The Italian Film Festival
The Italian Film Festival is a nonprofit organization incorporated in the State of Florida and dedicated to the development of Italian culture abroad. It has selected Coral Gables as its United States home. Films are shown in October at the Miracle Theatre. For information call 305-447-0233; www.italianfilmfestival.org
First Friday Gallery Night
The first Friday of each month is Gallery Night in Coral Gables, when dozens of galleries and shops stay open late, hosting visitors with exhibits, snacks and receptions from 7 p.m.- 10 p.m. Free rides shuttle art lovers between galleries. For information, call ArtSpace/Virginia Miller Galleries at 305-444-4493.
Coral Gables Congregational Church
Performances of jazz, classical, popular and other music take place year round at Coral Gables Congregational Church, an elegant Mediterranean Revival structure built in 1924 on land donated by Coral Gables founder George Merrick. The church, at 3010 DeSoto Boulevard, can be reached by calling 305-448-7421. www.coralgablescongregational.org
Maurice Gusman Concert Hall
Maurice Gusman Concert Hall on the University of Miami campus hosts more than 100 concerts and events each year in its 600-seat auditorium. The hall is the site of the popular University of Miami School of Music’s Festival Miami concert series that is held each fall and showcases a wide variety of music from around the world. The hall, at 1314 Miller Dr., can be reached by calling 305-284-2438. For information on the School of Music call 305-284- 2241; www.music.miami.edu/facility/gusman
The Coral Gables Chamber Symphony and Opera
The Coral Gables Chamber Symphony and Opera. phone 305-443-7370; www.coralgablesopera.com
Miami Symphony Orchestra
Miami Symphony Orchestra. phone 305-447-9500; www.miamisymphony.org
Alhambra Orchestra
The Alhambra Orchestra presents concerts in Coral Gables. For information call 305-442- 4333; www.alhambramusic.org
Miami Jazz Film Festival
The Bascomb Memorial Broadcasting Foundation presents WDNA’s Annual Miami Jazz Film Festival. For information call 305-662-8889; www.wdna.org
Beaux Arts Festival of Art
Beaux Arts of the Lowe Art Museum of the University of Miami hosts the Annual Beaux Arts Festival of Art in January. For information call 305-284-1866.
Center for the Advancement of Jewish Education
The Center for the Advancement of Jewish Education presents the Annual Miami Jewish Film Festival in December at the Bill Cosford Theater at the University of Miami. For information call 305-576-4030; www.caje-miami.org/filmfestival
The Chopin Foundation
The Chopin Foundation of the United States holds the Chopin Festival, Free Monthly Concerts Series, throughout the year. For information call 305-868-0624; www.chopin.org
Civic Chorale of Greater Miami
Civic Chorale of Greater Miami at Miami Dade College presents concerts at various Coral Gables locations throughout the year. A 80-voice ensemble of community singers, as well as faculty, students, and staff, the Chorale performs annual Fall, Christmas, Valentine’s, and Spring concerts, and also performs with various symphony orchestras in the greater Miami area. For information call 305-237-2411; www.civicchoraleofgreatermiami.org/
Creative Camps of Miami Children’s Theater
Creative Camps of Miami Children’s Theater is a professional theater training program for young people between the ages of 5 and 19. Young artists from throughout the Miami-Dade area come to the Coral Gables War Memorial Youth Center at 405 University Drive and other area locations, to develop their creative talent and to grow as young artists. For information call 305-233-2206; www.miamichildrenstheater.com
Fantasy Theatre Factory
Fantasy Theatre Factory is a Florida touring children’s theater company in which professional adult performers provide cultural programming for children and families. For information call 305-284-8800; www.ftfshows.com
Friends of Chamber Music of Miami
Friends of Chamber Music of Miami performs a Chamber Music Season from December to April at Gusman Hall, University of Miami. For information call 305-372-2975; www.miamichambermusic.org
Hispanic Heritage Council
The Hispanic Heritage Council hosts the Hispanic Heritage Festival, “TAPAS,” which celebrates the contributions made by Hispanics to the cultural and economic development of this nation by sharing their traditions and folklore. For information call 305-461-1014; www.hispanicfestival.com
Miami Choral Society and Miami Children’s Chorus
The Miami Choral Society through its Miami Children’s Chorus is dedicated to the development of musicianship and vocal technique of boys and girls, ages 8-16, through the study and performance of choral music. For information call 305-662-7494.
Miami Civic Music Association
The Miami Civic Music Association, founded in 1932, presents an annual series of concerts by instrumental and vocal artists and includes symphonic, chamber, instrumental group, voice, and piano programs at Gusman Concert Hall at the University of Miami. For information call 305-667-9905.
Miami Momentum Dance Company
The Miami Momentum Dance Company creates, performs, and produces modern dance works, particularly those by Florida artists, based on a classical and historic viewpoint, to educate audiences on dance and train students for professional careers as well as personal appreciation and enjoyment of dance. They produce a Children’s Library Dance Series throughout the year at the Coral Gables Branch Library. For information call 305-858-7002; www.momentumdance.com
Eisenhart Concert Series
St. Thomas Episcopal Church at 5690 No. Kendall Drive hosts the Eisenhart Concert Series, with an emphasis on choral music, and including professional groups, young musicians from local colleges and universities and choirs of local churches. For information call 305- 661-3436; www.stthomasep.org
Sunday Afternoons of Music
Sunday Afternoons of Music and Sunday Afternoons of Music for Children present affordable classical music concerts throughout the year for adults and children, at the Gusman Concert Hall, University of Miami. For information call 305-279-3007; www.sundaymusicals.org
Young Patronesses of the Opera
Young Patronesses of the Opera perform 45-minute opera productions at Coral Gables schools, free of charge, with full scenery, props, costumes, a pianist, and professional opera singers, from January through June. For information call 305-982-5257.
Live Music and Book Readings
Live Music can be heard in clubs in the Central Business District, near the University of Miami and in other locations that feature blues, jazz, rock, popular and other styles. Several book stores feature live music, art exhibits and readings by famed international authors.
War Memorial Youth Center
Performing and visual arts events are held for children at the Coral Gables War Memorial Youth Center, 405 University Dr., phone 305-460-5339.
Coral Gables Cultural Affairs Council
The Coral Gables Cultural Affairs Council supports the arts with a monthly events calendar.
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