Making Art Happen

Adrienne Arsht, Philanthropist and Debbie Shapiro, Artistic Director of the Marie Rader Presenting Series at Rowan University
Headshots of two women, side by side.

Debbie Shapiro photo courtesy of Debbie Shapiro, Adrienne Arsht photo credit Alberto E Tamargo

Jo Reed:   From the National Endowment for the Arts, This is Art Works, I’m Josephine Reed. Today It’s a two-part podcast, exploring ways the performing arts are being encouraged and presented in communities, later on in the show I speak to Debbie Shaprio. She’s the artistic director of the Marie Rader Presenting Series at Rowan University.  But first, we hear from Adrienne Arsht a philanthropist who has taken a leading role in funding artistic growth in the three cities she calls home: Washington, D.C., Miami and New York. 

First, here’s some background on Adrienne Arsht. An attorney herself, she’s the daughter of the first female judge in Delaware and a prominent Wilmington attorney. Adrienne moved to NYC after law school and worked for Trans World Airlines. She settled in Washington DC in 1979—where she started her own company and then relocated to Miami in 1996 to run TotalBank which she expanded from four to fourteen locations.  With the sale of the bank in 2007, philanthropy, which had always been a cornerstone, became her full-time occupation

While Adrienne’s philanthropy encompasses public policy like for example funding the Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center or the Adrienne Arsht -Rockefeller Foundation Resilence Center—both at the Atlantic Council, the arts have always been central to her giving.  I haven’t the time to even touch on her extensive philanthropic efforts—but I can give you some highlights… In 2008 her contribution of 30 million dollars to the Miami Performing Arts Center literally prevented it from shutting it doors Arsht is a Trustee of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts where she established the Adrienne Arsht Theater Fund and is Trustee Emerita of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. In fact, in 2012, her contribution of $10 million to Lincoln Center was recognized with the dedication of the Adrienne Arsht Stage in Alice Tully Hall.   She is a major funder of the Metropolitan Opera and is an honorary Trustee of the Metropolitan Museum of Art where she funds the Museum’s first ever-paid internship program.  She has received many honors and awards for work, including in 2017, the Carnegie Hall Medal of Excellence recognizing her visionary and exceptional contributions to cultural and nonprofit institutions nationally the only woman to have ever received this distinction.

When I spoke to Adrienne Arsht, I asked her what inspired her giving and most particularly, her giving to the arts….and by the way, Adrienne and I spoke on two separate occasions so you will hear slight differences in the audio….

Adrienne Arsht: When I was growing up, my family made philanthropic contributions. Every year, at the end of the year, we sat down and my father and mother discussed where they thought the gifts should go. My sister and I were asked for a vote. I think the arts define us as a civilization. I think the arts are essential to life. I've always thought that I'm blessed to have time here on Earth, and it's a gift. Let's say I live in a very high-rent district. I live wonderfully, and for that, I think I should pay a high amount of rent. And philanthropy, giving back, is the rent one pays for your time on Earth. So that may be the background of why I gave to the arts.


Jo Reed:   Adrienne’s contribution to the Miami Performing Arts Center gave it the necessary funds to continue. But What I find remarkable is that Adrienne wasn’t responding to a plea for help: she was the one who picked up the phone to offer assistance. Adrienne explains.

Adrienne Arsht:  The Performing Arts Center in Miami had been open actually for two years. And it'd been run by a very, very incompetent director. And he had effectively brought it to within a month of bankruptcy. And so, I believed that if you just changed management, the rest was already there. And I had sold my bank. It was a community bank. So, that it is of the community, the money that I made from it came from the community, and I felt I wanted to give back to the community some portion of the revenue that I got from the sale of the bank. And so, very soon after the purchase, or the sale closed, I was actually in Madrid meeting with the new owners, and I called a man named Woody Weiser, who had been at the beginning of the creation of a performing arts center, and he was Chairman of the Foundation which was raising the money, and said, "What would it take to save the Center?" And we came to the conclusion that 30 million would do it. And I said that, and they cleaned everything up, got new management, and it's one of the strongest performing arts centers in the country. And during COVID it was particularly vibrant.   I believe that every great city, to be a great city, needs a performing arts center and I knew that Miami would support a performing arts center. And that certainly is the case. And from the beginning it didn't really have to go for, "What do we have that's diverse?" The Miami community is kind of by definition diverse. And all the programming there from the beginning has been about the entire community and the involvement of the community. Alvin Ailey comes every year-- and a number of years ago was scheduled to come to the Arsht Center and the presenting organization went bankrupt. And so, those of us at the arts center said, "We will internally fund it to bring them, make sure they can come." And Ailey does in New York, Summer Camp. And it invites a number of students or young people to take, dance class. Learn what dance is. And it's a significant camplike program. And they began their second one in Miami. It is now in, I think, nine different cities. And actually, the White House and Michelle Obama presented to the Arsht Center the Presidential Award for Community Service by creating Ailey Camp. And now at the end of it, board members are invited to come and interact with the students. And it's an overused word, but I'd say "transformative" in the lives of so many people and it's a natural in Miami.


Jo Reed: The Arsht Center remains deeply involved with arts education throughout Miami-Dade County

Adrienne Arsht:   Arts education, I would say, is sadly now a requirement in the private sector. Used to be in schools, we could do that, but now it has become, if you will, a responsibility of a community, and in Miami, the Adrienne Arsht Center's flagship project on arts education is called Learning Through the Arts, and it was started with the fifth grade in the public school system, and Miami-Dade County has, I think it's the fourth largest school system in America, and we created the idea of the plan that every fifth grader would be able to attend a performance at the Arsht Performing Arts Center, and the children were bused to that place, they were given backstage tours, and taught about what a performing arts center is, and a performance is, and this was broadened to include subsequent years, all those in the seventh grade, and then most recently all those in the ninth grade, so that now every child will have attended a performance, and each year the Arsht Center creates a musical, and the children see how that is created, and then they experience it.


Jo Reed:  Adrienne’s eye is always fixed on the future as evidenced by her funding a ground-breaking paid  internship program at the Metropolitan Museum of Art…and her reasons for doing it were deeply personal.  

Adrienne Arsht: It came specifically because of something involving my father. He lived in Wilmington, Delaware, and he was at Penn Law School, and he was a superb student, his grades made him eligible for law review, and he was invited to become a part of that. However, he needed to earn money to pay his tuition. So, he had to turn down being on the law review so he could hitchhike back to Wilmington for a job to earn money to be able to continue his studies. Now, he did superbly, but we all know that having law review on your resume, being on the law review offers you opportunities for judicial clerkships, offers you access to people and situations that without it you would not have. So, it was so just clear to me, or almost like nails on a blackboard,  the situation with my father. I would say that an internship should be a step up, not a stumbling block. So, that was behind it, and right after the George Floyd tragedy, the Met Museum listed about 15 things that it was committed to do, one of which was to fund interns, and I called them and said “I'll do that.” It was within twenty-four hours of their publishing their <laughs> wish list, and the excitement from that, or the pleasure that gives to me… the next class, or cohort of people who applied, were more than 300% more in number. Because once you remove the barrier of having to do it for free when you had to earn money, it became an option for so many other people. We reached out to the historically black colleges, we reached out to the Jackie Robinson Foundation, and just said “Make sure that your alums and your students know about this.” So, what also became evident within the first year is that the quality, or dedication, or interest of these students that would not have been able to do the internship without being paid, was at a very high caliber. They were there because they really wanted to learn. The interest is so much greater when you're there with a purpose, and what all the curators found, and it's really been something delightful from my standpoint, as I'm moving around the museum at various times, curators all come up to me and thank me, because the interns that they have gotten have just been so stellar. Quite a number of the interns, now, get offered a paid position when they're finished their schooling. What I made sure of is that the interns were put into the administrative departments, not just the painting, or sculpture, or Greek this. But to go into development, to go into the legal department, I made sure that the President and the Managing Director each had at least one intern. So, now there's a cohort, after quite a number of years, of young people who would not, up until now, been able to apply for these kinds of positions. So, the ability to have a new demographic available, throughout, it doesn't have to be the arts, to be in the development department, you can be in a hospital. There's so many areas. So, throughout the Met, and they are given a lot of instruction while they're there, and then I replicated that in Miami at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, and now all of their interns are paid.

Jo Reed:    Adrienne tends to fund performing arts including an innovative program at the Metropolitan Museum of Arts called  MetliveArts. Adrienne explains

Arienne Arsht:  Two-dimensional things are not my area of interest, skill, or knowledge. In the creative arts, other than the performing arts, statues, items made out of non-traditional objects, whether it's Deborah Butterfield, who uses railroad ties and branches to build a horse, and other things, I am fascinated by and collect. But the museum, in its traditional sense, has never been of interest to me. But the liveArts, which Limor Tomer runs, is using everything in the museum to tell a story about something. He wanted to get it so that people see things much more horizontally than in silos. Somebody dances in the Temple of Dendur, or they took different vessels, pots from throughout the museum and all pots have a sound. And they wired them or put mics in 30 different pots and created a symphony. So, that's what was my interest.

Jo Reed: A theme Adrienne returns to is resilience

Adrienne Arsht:   Resilience has always been something of interest to me, and how that is represented in a museum or almost anywhere is something that fascinates me. I've made a gift to the Smithsonian, about building a sustainable community, which is a slightly other way of saying, finding out how things are resilient. What are resilient and how do we save those that seem to become endangered? And in this process, the Smithsonian is going to all of its museums and asking each one to submit one item in their collection that they think exemplifies resilience, such that you can find a resilient object in every one of the different museums.


Jo Reed: All of Adrienne Arsht’s giving is personal—she comes from her; she doesn’t operate through a foundation

Adrienne Arsht: I guess I can't even imagine why you'd have a foundation. It's just a lot of bureaucratic requirements. It wouldn't benefit me, at this point, to have an entity. For others, I'm sure there are very good reasons, and when you have billions of dollars, you need to set up an entire system. On my death, the Adrienne Arsht Foundation then comes into being, and everything that I own now is held as trustee for the foundation. So, on my death, everything I own goes into a foundation.

Jo Reed: So how does she make philanthropic decisions?

Adrienne Arsht: Where I see an ability to be a game-changer, that's really where I go. When I first came to Washington in 1979, there still is an organization called KCPI, the Kennedy Center Productions, Inc., and it was founded to bring theater to the Kennedy Center because the Kennedy Center was four years old at the time, and nobody had put it on their schedule. So I, along with Roger Stevens, the chairman of the Kennedy Center, together worked this through. I helped start an organization in New York called TACT, the Actors Company Theater, and it was a new way of presenting theater in a bit of an ensemble format. So I look for things that, whether it's the Performing Arts Center in Miami, that others may not see with such optimism, and so I'm willing to risk it and fund it.

Jo Reed: But Adrienne Arsht is also quick to caution

Adrienne Arsht: Something that's very important to remember: funders should write checks, not run programs. You fund something that you believe in, but the people who are running it are the experts. That's why they're running it. So, I am very clear that I have absolutely nothing to do with the product of anything. People want to know “Can you put on my play?” or “Gee, my son wants to be in this.” I say “Here's the Director of Programming,” and the Director of Programming knows that I have nothing to do with it. Then the parent will write to the director and say “Adrienne said that you would audition my son,” and it is totally known, in house, that that's not true. I will not have anything to do with the product, and it's the same way with the Arsht Latin America Center, or the Arsht-Rock Resilience Center. The program, the conferences, the things that are studied in any aspect of either of those, I have absolutely nothing to do with. I think no donor should have anything to do with the product.

 Jo Reed: But Adrienne does want her name on programs and centers that she funds. Naming is critical for her. 

Adrienne Arsht: I think it's very important to tell people what matters to you, and what you stand for.  When it comes to naming, women do not, will not put their name on things they don't think it's appropriate, they tend to be upset, I say this personally, women upset with me because they felt I was bragging by putting my name on something.  Men are the exact opposite, I would say that I wish more women put their name on things and saw its value.  I think the old silly expression, but to put your money where your mouth is, or put your mouth where your money is, and to tell people what matters, and if they respect you, this will draw them to that.

Jo Reed: The Chair of the Arts Endowment, Maria Rosario Jackson, advances the concept of artful lives. I was curious when Adrienne thinks about the idea of an artful life, what five or six words come to mind?

Adrienne Arsht: I've given that some thought, and I think essential things are to be optimistic, to be courageous, to be impatient, to be resilient in the sense of the show must go on, and to be generous.

Jo Reed: That is philanthropist  Adrienne Arsht. We’ll have a link to some of the programs she funds in our show notes.

This is Art Works, I’m Josephine Reed. When we come back, it’s a focus on Glassboro New Jersey and the Marie Rader Presenting Series at Rowan University.

Music up

Jo Reed: You’re listening to Art Works from the National Endowment for the Arts. I’m Josephine Reed. Now a look at arts presenting in southern New Jersey. Glassboro New Jersey is the home to Rowan University which in 2008 established the Marie Rader Presenting Series which brings award-winning artists to the area, with an eye on engaging with the campus community and the people of South Jersey and creating programming as diverse as the area itself, creating what artistic director Debbie Shapiro hopes will be a transformative experience on and off campus. Here’s Debbie Shapiro to tell us more…..

Debbie Shapiro: Over the past 15 years, Rowan University has put approximately 50 Marie Rader Series presentations on our campus stages, reflecting a wide range of musical movement and theatrical forms. And these public performances have brought together a vibrant cross-section of Rowan students, alumni, faculty, staff, and arts lovers from a broad geographic region, including the Southern and Central New Jersey counties, Philadelphia, and the surrounding suburbs of Pennsylvania, and sometimes drawing from even farther away. Recently, the Marie Rader Series has expanded to offer programming for young audiences, which is an initiative dear to our hearts as educators, first. And beyond the stage, every Marie Rader Series artist works with Rowan students directly to provide coaching. And each artist engages with general public audiences through meet and greets, panel discussions, lecture demonstrations, and more.

Jo Reed: Well, you're not only housed on a campus, you're housed at the School of Performing Arts, correct?

Debbie Shapiro: That's right.

Jo Reed: Explain that relationship between the series and the School of Performing Arts a bit more.

Debbie Shapiro: Right, so unlike most university-based presenters who operate separately from their academic counterparts, the Marie Rader Series is integrated within the College of Performing Arts. So the College of Performing Arts offers already a wide variety of undergraduate and graduate degree programs in dance, music, and theater. So the decisions around the artists that we engage through the Marie Rader Series are informed by that, by an ongoing dialogue with our faculty, an awareness of what our students might benefit most from being exposed to, as well as considering what might be beneficial for a wider population. 

Jo Reed: And how many performances does the series offer a year? I'm assuming you sort of work within an academic year?

Debbie Shapiro: We do for now. We have goals to expand. There is a growing demand for summer programming and we are not there yet. So as you said, really between the months of September and December, and then again late January through April, those are really our windows and we will present anywhere between three, you know, complex engagements to sometimes we've been able to work six to nine, you know, if they're smaller because we like everyone have budgetary restrictions and also space limitations. But going into this year, we're focusing on three major companies to perform on our stages. They're all going to be pretty big impact in performance and engagement off the stage as well.

Jo Reed: Well, before we get a sneak peek at who you're bringing in for the new season, diversity is so important to this series. If you simply look at the people who have come to campus to perform, the university is diverse, the area is diverse. So in 2022, for example, you presented the AXIS Dance Company, which is an ensemble of disabled and non-disabled performers, the Urban Bush Women, which is the legendary African-American dance group, and Eighth Blackbird, a contemporary music sextet. This is broad programming. So how do you curate the series to engage such a broad range of artistic experiences for your audiences on campus and often and to inspire the kind of engagement you're looking for?

Debbie Shapiro: Broad and balanced is what we're working for and really, the curatorial process is-- it's built from a ton of conversations at every level. So between performances, I'm meeting with and talking with my colleagues in the college, learning about student interests, working with community groups, as well as fellow presenters, artists and agents, right, they all make up this ecosystem of touring.  And presenting and being actively engaged at every level of dialogue is how we understand where we are, what's possible and what might create the most impact within a limited budget, which we need to use to achieve a sense of balance. And the top criteria for balance that I'm always looking at are a nice representation of artistic form that builds from all that we teach and represent here academically, as well as expanding upon that with what we don't quite cover in our academic curriculum, but that can fill in and bolster what we do and then beyond artistic form, we have cultural identity. There's so much history and context that informs the work that we see on the stage today and how we got there and so finding that mix, understanding that we're seeing a changing and growing population here in Glassboro because of the expansion of the university. So we want to reflect that in our programming, which should look as diverse as we know the region's population is.

Jo Reed: Let’s touch on the all-important question of  money. How is the series funded?

Debbie Shapiro: The series is made possible in part through generous support from the Henry M. Rowan Family Foundation via the Marie Rader Memorial Fund and through funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, which is a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts. And we are very, very grateful for those partnerships.

Jo Reed: Collaboration often plays a really significant role in the performing arts, and I wonder if you can tell us about any notable collaborations or partnerships that the series has fostered with organizations or other educational institutions.

Debbie Shapiro: Sure. So in terms of partnering off campus, that is something that we're really in the early stages of building, and we have seen some early successes. I let the artists lead in terms of researching and selecting artists to come visit our region. We're looking at, you know, what do they have that's ready to perform on the stage? And then what do they offer? That's also sort of ready to go where we could bring them anywhere and help those artists help us to build our own partnerships? An example from last season was the Grammy winning chamber ensemble, Third Coast Percussion. They're a percussive quartet really leading in new contemporary music and not only did they have, provide an electrifying performance, we brought them to an elementary school in Marlton, New Jersey, because they have an assembly program that they called “Think Outside the Drum” and it's a music education lesson and a demonstration of all that is percussion. And we were lucky that we found a huge reception among that school, among the music educators, the principal, the superintendent of that district. They just really got it. They welcomed us. It was easy to schedule. We brought those artists in front of about 250 second through fifth graders of that school. We then offered all of those families free tickets to come to the performance that was going to take place in our concert hall and we did see some nice response there because it was the children that were inspired through that assembly and what we were saying was, we're not asking you for any money. We are asking you for a little bit of time to follow up on something exciting that your child experienced at school today. So we want to continue with that type of model. We are really aggressively working to open our doors wide and invite folks in and introduce ourselves and create that brand awareness in all directions throughout our region, and it includes a lot of bringing artists to other spaces, making sure that we've provided something not only for free, but really enriching that works within standards of education and curriculum, and that the educators in those institutions are going to be easily enthusiastic about, and then from there, being able to give another gift, another invitation that is, again, free access, because we know that it starts with early exposure and we've got to remove as many barriers as we can. So similarly, this year, we're going to try the same thing with Arturo O'Farrill and bring him to Millville High School for, again, a little demonstration, maybe visiting some music classes and we hope that those families will then want to check out what we have going on in Glassboro. So public schools are a key partner for us. We also look at other types of community organizations. I've been having some exchanges over the years with the Glassboro Boys and Girls Club, which is located just down the street from our venue and yet serves a population that we're not seeing in our concert hall very much. So we've worked to offer free tickets for years and yet just offering free tickets, we've learned that's not enough. You'd think that sounds like a great deal and yet what we have to do is bring our artists to their spaces, offer some sort of exchange, workshop, demonstration, light up those participants and get them talking about what happened and how can they get more of that, and from there, we hope to see some more redemption of, again, free ticket offers. And we hope that by traveling to all the other spaces where folks are already comfortable gathering, that they will recognize that they can go even further by just coming and visiting us and hopefully when they do, they have an equally comfortable, welcoming and exciting experience.

Jo Reed: As you say, you began a series for young audiences. How important do you think it is for people to have arts experiences when they're young, in order to really be able to embrace the arts as an adult?

Debbie Shapiro: It’s so important that we continue to develop unique high quality family programming for young audiences so that we're not only serving the surrounding families today, but we're also planting the seeds to develop the audiences of the future who we hope will look back and have formative memories with us because there is so much possibility that could stem from that, ranging from just having that memory to more specific and serious commitment to participation and practice in the arts and pursuing careers and everything in between.

Jo Reed:  So we've hinted at it, now it's time to explore it. Let's take a peek at what is coming up at the Marie Rader Presenting Series this season. What can audiences look forward to?

Debbie Shapiro: So we've got two big themes: cultural diversity and environmental sustainability. And so we were lucky to secure a touring project called Rising Tide, the Crossroads Project, and that will be coming in September and that's a collaborative performance from the Fry Street Quartet with physicist Dr. Robert Davies, hailing from Utah. They pair original music, stunning visuals, environmental photography and scientific prose, not theatrical prose, but scientific prose, through a performance that conveys the impact of climate change and activate the audience to determine their part in sustaining the planet, and so I'm so excited to be able to find a performance that we can feature in our series that gets audiences to take steps beyond what we normally do, right? We normally provide joy, inspiration, excitement and education. This one is taking a step further, and taking part in a larger conversation at Rowan, which is incredibly interdisciplinary and involves all kinds of scholars in finding solutions to our world's biggest threat. So that's how we're kicking off the season. From there, we are going to move into some celebratory works that feature Latin performers and so in November, we're very excited to be bringing the New York-based tap and live music rnsemble ”Music from the Soul.” They will be performing their newly completed work, I Didn't Come to Stay, in which tap percussive dance, samba, house and live music come together and they are exploring tap's lineage and connection to other Afro-diasporic forms and they are really masters in transforming a space with such heightened joy and this particular piece feels like you are being transported to a Brazilian carnival. So I'm so excited to share it with our public.

Jo Reed: And you also mentioned Arturo O'Farrill.

Debbie Shapiro: That's right. So then coming up in January, we are bringing Arturo O'Farrill and the entire 18-piece Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra and he's just. He's a master Latin jazz educator. He founded the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance, which is now getting its new permanent home in New York City. He's a bandleader, composer and pianist, widely celebrated and he's not a stranger to New Jersey. Although this will be the Rowan slash Glassboro premiere of the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra performance. So we do have quite a history of jazz study and presenting here at Rowan. Latin jazz is something that it's about time that we kind of embrace as well, and so I feel that we couldn't have made a better choice and yeah, that's coming up in January and as more engagements are planned, we'll be announcing those a little later down the road. But those are the confirmed projects at this time.

Jo Reed: All of the performers conduct master classes. Is that true?

Debbie Shapiro: That's true. So we do. We ask a lot of artists in a short amount of time because we value their time and we host them for as long as we can compensate and take good care of everyone. But within a couple of days, really, the most artists are in our town, we ask them both for performance and master classes. Usually it's one, but sometimes it's two or three. You know, if it is a musical ensemble and we can divide them up among the studios of the specific instruments, we'll do that and then we want to bring them off campus. So, we work on a tight schedule and we keep our artists really busy and we often feel incredibly full upon the completion of an engagement and often we then see an open door that we didn't see before, before that artist came here in terms of those partnerships, in particular with those off campus groups.

Jo Reed:  Well, Debbie, what is your vision for the Marie Rader Presenting Series when you're looking ahead? What's your vision for it?

Debbie Shapiro: So we're seeking to bring the best possible artistry from the nation and the globe to Rowan. We want to connect South Jersey to world-class performers and build on the recent successes we've had. I'm looking at depth along with breadth, which means really pursuing. How could we bring back artists every few years? I can't think of a single engagement that we've had where I wouldn't wanna bring those artists back. And we've begun so many stories together and what conversations might happen if we continue. So there's a depth there for the audience in building recognition, right? But there's also a need for long-term artist-presenter relationships in terms of a sustainable touring model for career artists. And we're both committed to developing community and audience around the work, but also sustaining the artists themselves. I know how challenging it can be to piece together your annual income when you're relying on these engagements to pay everyone in your company. Like I said, it's also important to continue the family programming aspect. And I also imagine that the series could become the glue for two communities at the same time. So on one hand, we can really develop interdisciplinary relationships within our university and harness that incredible hive mind of scholarly expertise across the many colleges and fields that we're supporting here with this institution, while we're also bringing folks together throughout the region in our venues. And like many other transformative initiatives led by Rowan, the Marie Rader Series is poised to become the most inspiring and welcoming performing arts series in the region, hopefully impacting generations of individuals. And we have great possibility. We have a beautiful 800-seat concert hall, plus smaller indoor and outdoor spaces. We feel a responsibility to contribute to the economic and cultural vibrancy of Glassboro. And the current tagline for the series is “Experience transformative performances and intimate engagements with a world-class lineup of living legends, award winners, provocateurs, and movement leaders, bringing South Jersey together and moving cultural conversations forward through performing arts programming.”  I really think it can be eye-opening to experience a performance by an artist you don't have a history with. Through that opening up and being willing to take part in different audience communities, it can be a portal to curiosity and inspiration. And that's what the vision for the series is all about.

Jo Reed: And one more time, when does the series begin?

Debbie Shapiro: So the very first engagement for this year ”Rising Tide the Crossroads Project” that I was describing earlier, that performance is on September 22nd and then performances follow about once a month or every other month after that.

Jo Reed: Okay and how can people get more information?

Debbie Shapiro: So our website is

Jo Reed: Okay and we'll have a link in our show notes. Debbie, thank you so much for giving me your time. I really appreciate it.

Debbie Shapiro: Thank you so much. It's been a pleasure.

Jo Reed: That was Debbie Shapiro, the artistic director of The Marie Rader Presenting Series at Rowan University. We’ll have a link to series in our show notes. You’ve been listening to Art Works produced at the National Endowment for the Arts. Follow us wherever you get your podcasts and leave us a rating on Apple so other people who love the arts can find us. I love hearing from you. The email is

I’m Josephine Reed, Thanks for listening.


It’s a two-person podcast looking at one topic: exploring ways arts are being encouraged in communities. First up, philanthropist Adrienne Arsht.  Arsht discusses her long-term support for the arts at the Kennedy Center, at Lincoln Center, and at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, as well as her decision to make a sizable donation to the performing arts center in Miami—now the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami-Dade County—which had been about close. Arsht discusses how Miami's diverse community was reflected in the center's programming from the beginning, and the importance of having a performing arts center in every great city. Arsht also discusses her commitment to arts education through the flagship program "Learning Through the Arts" at the Adrian Arsht Center and her groundbreaking funding of paid internships at both the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Adrienne Arsht Center, emphasizing the importance of breaking down barriers that prevent talented individuals from pursuing internships.

Then we hear from Debbie Shapiro, the artistic director of the Marie Rader Presenting Series at Rowan University. The series brings award-winning and emerging artists to South Jersey, emphasizing transformative engagement that goes beyond performances, which includes direct interactions between world-class artists and students as well as partnerships with community organizations in the region. Shapiro discusses the series and its curation that is integrated within the College of Performing Arts at Rowan University, allowing for close collaboration with faculty and a focus on aligning the artist selections with the educational offerings of the university. The programming reflects the diversity of the audience that comprises community members, Rowan students, university employees, faculty from various colleges, and families of the students.

Let us know what you think about Art Works—email us at And follow us on Apple Podcasts.