By Florence Beth Snyder
The main campus sits on 260 acres in Coral Gables, the “City Beautiful” that lies within the Miami metro area. UM is chock full of cultural and artistic treasures that inspire students, delight visitors, and are an integral part of Miami’s rise to prominence as the “Gateway to the Americas.”
UM’s top-ranked School of Music dates back to the University’s opening and reflects the founders’ belief that music holds an essential place in a quality liberal arts education, and also in the quality of life for the larger community. Today, the School offers academic programs and public performances in every music genre you’ve ever heard, and a few that you probably have not.
The 600-seat Maurice Gusman Concert Hall is an exquisite setting in which to enjoy faculty and student ensembles in performance year-round. Gusman Hall is the principal venue for the School’s annual Festival Miami, an acclaimed international celebration of music featuring Grammy winning guest artists and students who are well on the way to being Grammy winners of tomorrow. You'll want to see those shows in person, and you’ll want to keep Gusman’s live stream schedule handy for when you and your laptop are far away.
The Weeks Center for Recording and Performance is known for close to perfect sound, thanks to its designer, the late Charles Paul Boner, a physicist, musician and master of architectural acoustics. You can listen for yourself most anytime, because the Center’s Clarke Recital Hall is used daily for recitals concerts, and ensemble performances by students and faculty who love playing to a live audience.
Season tickets to UM’s Ring Theater make an ideal gift for year-round south Florida residents. Since 1946, the university’s Department of Theater Arts has captivated audiences and launched the careers of students whose names are household words to theater aficionados everywhere.
If you hear the lullaby of Broadway as you walk through the doors, it’s not your imagination. The Ring now bears the name of composer and lyricist Jerry Herman, UM Class of '53, who won Tony awards for “Hello, Dolly!” and “La Cage aux Folles.” You may also hear the footsteps of action heroes and villains. That, too, is not your imagination. Before they became Hollywood heavy hitters, Sylvester Stallone, Steven Bauer and Ray Liotta were UM students learning their craft from master teachers on the stage at The Ring.
Speaking of movies, the Bill Cosford Cinema is a state-of-the-art facility offering a “diverse and discerning” array of films for serious movie fans of all ages and tastes. Under the loving and attentive care of UM’s School of Communications, the Cinema screens summer blockbusters as well as independent, international, experimental, documentary and classic cinema.
Now in its seventh decade of provoking “critical reflection and serious consideration of film,” the Cinema is among the longest running art houses in the country. The 240 seat venue is ideal for conversation, and you never know when a megawatt star will step off the screen and on to the Cosford stage for an intimate Q & A.
Students and faculty welcome visitors and encourage questions at the Gifford Arboretum, a working laboratory for the University’s tropical botany studies. The large collection of trees and plants have individual “name tags” and interpretative signage which make self-guided, spur-of-the moment tours easy and enjoyable. Guided tours and lectures are scheduled throughout the academic year.
In 1950, the entire contents of what is now The Lowe Art Museum was housed in three UM classrooms. By 1972, The Lowe had attracted extraordinary philanthropic and public support and became the first university art museum in Florida to be accredited by the prestigious American Alliance of Museums.
Today, The Lowe is one of just three Florida university art museums holding membership in the Association of Art Museum Directors. The Lowe boasts a 17,500-object collection recognized as one of the most important in the Americas, with strengths in Renaissance, Baroque, American, as well as Ancient and Native American art. The Asian collection features stunning examples of Chinese, Korean and Japanese ceramics. High art meets pop culture in glassworks by Pablo Picasso.
The Lowe is a convenient location from which to begin a self-guided walking tour of the UM campus. There are plenty of places along the route to eat, drink and catch some Florida sunshine. When you’re ready to cool off indoors, the UM libraries’ permanent and special collections provide ever-changing exhibits that are so entertaining, the kids won’t even notice they’re getting a first-class education.
When you go…
University of Miami
1320 S Dixie Hwy
Coral Gables, Fla. 33124
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