If you were to ask around, you would hear Monty Trainer lovingly referred to as the “Grove Father” for his love of Coconut Grove. A well-known business owner, community advocate, local personality and Coconut Grove Arts Festival president, Monty is active in the resurgence of Coconut Grove He wants the label of a laid-back arts community, to be the reality once again. Under his leadership, the Coconut Grove Arts Festival is one of the top juried arts events in the U.S. and consistently attracts upwards of 100,000 cultural tourists and arts aficionados every year. This zealous arts supporter tells us why the arts play a leading role in our community.
ABC: What do you think makes a vibrant community and what role do the arts play?
MT: The arts are one of Miami’s most important assets. The arts develop community spirit, bring people together, attract tourists and appeal to companies looking to relocate. The arts differentiate us from other cities, without the arts we would be an industrial town without any recognizable flavor, innovation and excitement. When business look to establish in a new community, quality of life is an important issue, and a vibrant arts community is at the top of the list. I am on the Miami-Dade Cultural Affairs Council and our economic surveys show impressive results regarding arts and culture as a top concern. The cultural community has an annual impact of more than one billion dollars and is one of the largest employees with more 30,000. That is a workforce bigger than 3 of our largest corporations combined. Clearly, the arts are an integral part of the economy in Miami.
ABC: Tell us about this year’s Coconut Grove Arts Festival.
MT: The Coconut Grove Arts Festival, on President’s Day weekend, is beyond compare. This annual celebration of the arts gives collectors and arts lovers the chance to meet the exhibiting artists and learn about their work. It is consistently ranked as one of the nation’s top outdoor fine arts festivals. This year we are excited to welcome more than 380 juried artists. We have a New and Emerging Arts Area this year and continue to feature our artists in Dade County schools to connect students to the arts. Our Children’s Alley, done in conjunction with the Children’s Trust, involves children between the ages of 2 and 11 in hands on art activities. We are also bringing back our popular culinary program featuring 12 performing chefs and an array of gourmet delights. This year, we are partnering with Miami New Times this year to bring exciting musical acts to the entertainment stage in Peacock Park. We are hoping to attract a younger audience that will want to hear some of the nationally renowned musicians while visiting the Festival.
ABC: Who are some of the festivals corporate partners?
MT: One of our main sponsors is also one of our top community resources. Terra Group has enriched South Florida’s communities by actively participating in charitable, civic, arts, and cultural organizations. They also include an arts component in each of their developments. Terra Group founders Pedro and David Martin are all about arts and culture. Another of our fantastic community partners is Baptist Health. They have been with us for several years and are unbelievably committed to the community in so many ways. We also have a real win-win partnership with The Lincoln Motor Company. They display their luxury automobiles throughout the festival streets with opportunities to see, touch and experience their new models while additionally provided cash to support the Festival costs.
ABC: What about opportunities for small companies?
MT: We have some wonderful partnerships with small businesses like Frameworks who does framing for our festival posters and hosts some events at their Coconut Grove flagship store, Republica who does our advertising and marketing outreach, and Milam’s Market who is one of our cuisine sponsors.
ABC: Why do you think it’s important for corporations to support the arts?
MT: The corporate community is the beneficiary of our first-class cultural community. In addition to the enormous economic impact the arts have in Miami-Dade they improve the quality of life for our region’s employees and create a winning combination that keeps business professionals engaged. Our festival sponsors enjoy an amazing amount of visibility and community good will by supporting the Coconut Grove Arts Festival through media exposure from our ad campaigns. They reach over 100,000 festival participants from the wealthy, sophisticated and urban arts collectors, to business leaders, to families looking for something to do in our fabulous Miami winters. It is a great opportunity for these companies to build name recognition and to tie their brand into the arts for years to come.
ABC: Can you tell us about one of your great art experiences?
MT: I love the opportunity to interact with artists, see where they work and what inspires them. I had the chance to visit Romero Britto’s studio last year. I know he seems a little commercial, but getting the opportunity to see the work he is doing, the process, the energy and the excitement of making art was incredibly energizing.
This year’s feature festival artist, Duaiv, a French-American artist and internationally recognized painter. He has spent his lifetime nurturing, fostering and sharing the arts with the world. He came to our attention through a unique and innovative corporate partnership with Lamborghini Miami. The North Miami based dealer prides themselves on doing things differently with extreme marketing tactics and unique projects that often involve the arts and artist. Duaiv collaborated with the dealer turning a half million dollar Lamborghini Aventador Roadster into a work of art featuring his unique style. I loved seeing our community through his eyes. This year’s poster image encompasses Duaív’s signature uplifting and bright style with one of Coconut Grove’s most emblematic icons, our famous harbor in Biscayne Bay.
ABC: As a visionary where do you see the arts in Miami in ten years?
MT: The arts are on the upswing. The growth in the cultural community in the short term and the long term is going to be phenomenal. We have been doing the Coconut Grove Arts Festival for 52 years and it just keeps getting better and better. Our community is now blessed with dozens of world renowned arts events, performances and festivals. The proliferation of the arts and recognition of their value to business, residents and visitors is going to continue to provide the resources to grow our vibrant, diverse and world class arts community. Everyone is buying into the arts. The future looks rosy.
Written By: Laura Bruney and Etain E. Connor
About the Arts Biz Dialogue
The Arts & Business Council of Miami has developed a new blog to focus on corporate leaders that support the arts. The interactive exchange of ideas will provide us with insight on successful corporate partnerships. Each conversation will be featured on our ArtsBizBlog. Stay tuned for more interesting interviews and get the inside scoop on why some of South Florida’s top corporate leaders collaborate with the arts. For information on the Arts & Business Council and to see past blog entries visit www.ArtsBizMiami.org or call us at 305-326-1011.