SMG announced that it is bringing a piece of New York history to Jacksonville, Florida. The private management firm has secured a traveling exhibition dedicated to telling the groundbreaking story of Dance Theatre of Harlem. Dance Theatre of Harlem: 40 Years of Firsts, will be on display at the Ritz Theatre and Museum for an extended stay that began on April 15.
In the aftermath of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination, African-American dance pioneer Arthur Mitchell co-founded the Dance Theatre of Harlem School in 1969 to ignite positive social change and dispel the belief that ballet could not be performed by those of African descent. The Dance Theatre of Harlem company officially debuted in New York City at the Guggenheim Museum in 1971. It has since grown into a multicultural dance institution of unparalleled acclaim, with a legacy of providing opportunities for creative expression and artistic excellence that continues to set standards in the performing arts.
In the last 44 plus years, the professional touring company has performed in 41 states and 40 countries on six continents. The renowned ballet company, school’s history, powerful social and artistic impact is brought to life through the exhibit’s more than 165 rare costumes, set pieces, historical photographs, tour posters, video excerpts and design sketches. The exhibit also includes four dramatically-staged ballets that are iconic to the company: A Streetcar Named Desire, Creole Giselle, Dougla and Firebird.
“It is a true honor for the Ritz Theatre and Museum to host an exhibition that shares such a compelling story of empowerment and defiance of racial stereotypes,” said SMG Jacksonville General Manager Bill McConnell. “Northeast Florida is home to many prolific dancers who helped pave the way as members of this iconic troupe. The Ritz Theatre and Museum is proud to provide Jacksonville with the opportunity to learn more about these artistic trailblazers and this storied dance company.”
The exhibition is thoughtfully divided into sections that allow the viewer to walk through a history of Dance Theatre – from photographs and stories about co-founders Mitchell and Karel Shook, to the forming of the school and progression to a professional company, and a repertoire that includes contributions from a myriad of choreographers over the years, including George Balanchine.
Dance Theatre of Harlem: 40 Years of Firsts is organized by Dance Theatre of Harlem, California African-American Museum and The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, and toured by International Arts & Artists, Washington, D.C. The exhibition will be on display at the Ritz Theatre and Museum through July 31.
The gritty city of Detroit is known for many things. It’s the Motor City, the Arsenal of Democracy, and the birthplace of Motown. It’s home to four major sports franchises: the Tigers (MLB), the Lions (NFL), the Pistons (NBA), and the Red Wings (NHL). It’s the fourth largest city in the Midwest and now, it’s home to the largest SkyDeck™ tension wire grid in the world.
A tension wire grid is a woven wire walking surface supported by a steel framework. “The idea was developed over the course of several projects,” said Mark T. Black, owner and president of InterAmerica Stage, Inc. “We were dealing with limited structural capacity of the roof framing over here, safe overhead access over there … the solution to those problems was SkyDeck™.”
“For years, I’d been thinking of how perfect SkyDeck™ would be in large arenas for overhead access,” Black said. His vision came to fruition with the renovation of the Fabulous Forum in Inglewood, CA, in 2013. When the Forum opened its doors in 2014, the 34,000-square foot grid was the largest SkyDeck™ tension wire grid in the world. InterAmerica beat its own record with the Little Caesars Arena’s full-coverage grid. Comprised of 372 modular panels that weigh in around 205,000 pounds, the grid covers over 43,000 square feet. It took approximately 81 miles of aircraft cable to create the walking surface.
Greg Fecher has been designing for InterAmerica for five years. He now has the distinction of designing the first and second largest tension wire grids in the world. Fecher jumped at the opportunity to travel to Detroit back in October 2016 to observe the beginning of the grid installation. “I don’t always get to see what I’ve designed in real life,” Fecher said. “It was impressive watching the panels go up to form the grid.”
Located in the Woodward Square neighborhood of The District Detroit, Little Caesars Arena is scheduled to open in September 2017.
View of the arena floor through SkyDeck™ during construction. Photo courtesy of Joe Martin, IAStage’s Onsite Installation Supervisor at Little Ceasars Arena.
When current IAVM members begin voting on May 19 on the One Member, One Vote initiative, former IAVM chair Robyn Williams, CFE, knows how she will cast her lot. Her vote will look different than it did three years ago.
“Although I voted against the initiative brought forward in 2014, I support the One Member, One Vote that is coming before the membership now,” said Williams, executive director of the Portland’5 Centers for the Arts. “My past concerns were primarily around who could serve as Chair of the Association and those concerns have all been addressed with the minimum years of senior venue management experience and CFE requirements. I believe our Association will only grow stronger with a vote that is more inclusive and includes our Allied, Honorary, Retired and Associate members. The fear that we are moving away from being a professional association toward a trade association seems unfounded to me and history seems to have proven me right.”
The initiative coming up for a vote by members follows extensive study, review and open discussion over the last two years, at which point the IAVM Board of Directors voted unanimously to bring forward proposed changes to the bylaws that would make the Association more inclusive and diverse in its decision making. As a means to incorporate the perspective of all IAVM members, these changes would allow every member of IAVM equal opportunity to engage in the Association through the right to vote. These proposed changes must be approved by two-thirds of the current voting members of IAVM.
“I remember the ‘early’ days where those of us not in the top position at our venue had to sit at special tables in the rear of the room,” Williams said. “I remember the pushback against allowing anyone in venue management to become a member regardless of their position in a venue. And, I remember the fear of allowing faculty members and students in as members.
“Now that we all sit together with venue staff from all levels of our organizations and we have students participating on panels and faculty members writing our textbooks and Allied members serving on all committee types, you know what changed? We just got better, smarter and more professional in how we do our jobs. I believe this change will allow us to continue doing just that. If we really value our members, they should have a voice in our organization.
“That is why I am supporting the One Member One Vote initiative.”
For more information about the One Member, One Vote initiative, please click here.
Kentucky Venues signaled its commitment to increasing revenue and sales opportunities with two new hires of a chief revenue officer for Kentucky Venues and director of sales for the Kentucky International Convention Center. Both executives are development and sales industry veterans.
“This is the beginning of a strong sales initiative for Kentucky Venues,” said Jason Rittenberry, president and CEO. “We are focused on aggressively increasing revenue streams, identifying new areas of revenue and seeking new business. These new hires are leaders in revenue and business generation, and we look forward to them joining our strategic team May 1.”
Gary Friedman, chief revenue officer, is charged with increasing revenue for the Kentucky Exposition Center, Kentucky International Convention Center and in-house produced events, which include the Kentucky State Fair, National Farm Machinery Show, North American International Livestock Expo and Kentucky Hoopfest. Friedman most recently served as general manager of Louisville Arena Sports and Entertainment Properties at the KFC Yum! Center, and is experienced in college-level athletic promotions and sponsorships.
Patrick Gregory, director of sales, is tasked with recruiting downtown convention and meeting business for the Kentucky International Convention Center. Experienced in hospitality management and having worked with properties in Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky, Cleveland and Jeffersonville, Indiana, Gregory most recently served as director of resort parks for the Kentucky State Park system.
“The Kentucky International Convention Center’s expansion allows us to pursue and sign not only more business, but more types of new business,” said Rittenberry. “Gary and Patrick have the experience and expertise to boost our revenue and client base, accomplishments that will benefit not only Kentucky Venues, but the entire Louisville business community and beyond.”
In another personnel move, Kentucky Venues’ Executive Budget Director Kevin Moore was promoted to chief financial officer. Formerly with Louisville Metro Finance, Moore has been with Kentucky Venues since 2013, and will continue to provide strategic financial leadership. Rittenberry said he is “confident in Kevin’s expertise and acumen. He is certainly deserving of this opportunity and promotion.”
Toyota and AEG are extending their comprehensive partnership across AEG’s flagship Southern California properties in a multiyear, multimillion-dollar renewal agreement. The new agreement, brokered by AEG Global Partnerships, renews Toyota’s longstanding Founding Partner status at STAPLES Center (Founding Partner since 1999), L.A. LIVE (Founding Partner since 2007) and StubHub Center (Founding Partner since 2003). As one of AEG’s longest standing partners, Toyota will remain an official partner to the two-time Stanley Cup Champions, the LA Kings – building on an already 27-year relationship with the franchise.
The automobile industry is set to transform and redefine fuel efficiency and emissions in the coming years, and the sprawling Los Angeles market – nestled in the state with some of the toughest clean-air rules in the country – is poised to be one of the most competitive transportation markets worldwide. The city is also quickly becoming one of the toughest and largest professional sports markets. As competition in both industries continues to escalate, Toyota and AEG, two of the leading forces in their respective industries, have cemented their decades-long strategic alliance. The renewal focuses on the valued relationship and mutual respect between the two companies and seeks to strengthen Toyota’s strategic stronghold in the booming Los Angeles sports and live events industry while highlighting AEG’s commitment to excellence for one of its most longstanding partners.
“Los Angeles is a mecca for the sports and automotive industries, and we are excited to deepen our ties with AEG, a true leader in live entertainment,” said Jack Hollis, group vice president and general manager of the Toyota Division at Toyota Motor North America. “Working alongside AEG for the past decade, we’ve been able to grow our partnership and our presence at some of the venues and with some of the teams that matter most to Los Angeles.”
Toyota has been a Founding Partner of L.A. LIVE, Los Angeles’ preeminent downtown entertainment district, since its beginning more than 10 years ago. As AEG continues to grow and add to its portfolio across five continents, it is uniquely positioned to offer Toyota an established, world-renowned platform to capitalize off the valuable audiences and unique assets that it has and continues to develop, adding unparalleled value for Toyota year after year.
“As AEG has grown over the years, we’ve been fortunate enough to grow our relationship and partnership with Toyota as well,” said Russell Silvers, senior vice president, AEG Global Partnerships. “Toyota is a like-minded company that shares our core values and commitment to consistently be able to over deliver and offer our fans and guests more. It’s an honor to continue our extensive, far-reaching relationship with them across some of the most iconic assets in our portfolio. We look forward to continuing this relationship into the future and deepening Toyota’s ties with us and Los Angeles.”
With the demand for more zero-emission cars on the rise, Toyota’s strategic partnership agreement with AEG will help continue its position as one of the most well-known sustainable mobility suppliers – providing Toyota with a stage to reach many car-conscious Californians. AEG will underscore Toyota’s commitment to sustainable transportation with designated charging stations at L.A. LIVE for electric and certain hybrid vehicles. Toyota will also have the ability to brand these charging spaces across select parking garages at L.A. LIVE.
The longevity of the relationship between AEG and Toyota will also be highlighted through Founding Partner signage at L.A. LIVE and STAPLES Center, LED exposure and five permanent vehicle displays across the L.A. LIVE campus and at STAPLES Center as well as the continuance of the company’s longstanding LA Kings car giveaway at the end of the season. Furthermore, Toyota will have Founding Partner signage displays and a permanent vehicle exhibit at StubHub Center.