MIAMI BEACH, FL -- Under the leadership of Executive Artistic Director Dr. Carson Kievman and Board Chair Carl Kruse, SoBe Institute of the Arts has welcomed four new members to its Board of Directors. "As we enter our sixth year of providing high quality music and theater education and professional performances to the South Florida community, these new board members will be of great help to us as we continue to grow a world-class Institute of the Arts in the heart of Miami Beach," states Kruse.
The new Directors are: Robert Balsam, Jr., Robert Chumbley, Azia Parker Cruz and Carol Foster. They join former City of Miami Beach Commissioners Nancy Liebman and Saul Gross, Collins Park Neighborhood Association President Ray Breslin, Ron Unger, CPA, businessman Carl Kruse and Dr. Kievman in leading this cultural anchor.
As General Manager of the Miami Beach Convention Center, Robert Balsam, Jr. is a well-known 30-year veteran of the public assembly facility management industry. He is also on the Advisory Board for the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce. Prior to coming to Florida, he has held positions at major venues throughout the United States, including the Duke Energy (Convention) Center in Cincinnati, the San Diego Convention Center, and the George R. Brown Convention Center and the Astrodome in Houston. He brings successful experiences in administration, operations, booking and implementation of events to the SoBe Arts Board, and looks forward to helping the Institute's continued efforts in promoting to and educating the community on the importance and need for growth of the arts in Miami-Dade County.
Robert Chumbley is a member of the SoBe Arts faculty and also directs the SoBe Arts Youth Chamber Ensemble. His concert appearances as a pianist have taken him all over the world, performing as a soloist at Carnegie Hall, for President Bill Clinton, with the North Carolina Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, Buffalo Philharmonic, South Florida Symphony, Lincoln Symphony, and the Orchestre Provence Cote d'Azur, among others. A recipient of a Rockefeller Foundation grant and the Irwin Freundlich Prize at the William Kapell International Piano Competition, he also has served as Music Director for the Atlanta Ballet and the Cleveland Opera, and on the faculties of SUNY-Buffalo, University of Nebraska at Lincoln and Appalachian State University. Additionally, Mr. Chumbley has achieved international recognition both as a guest conductor and composer, having written incidental theatrical music, three large ballet scores and two operas.
Azia Parker Cruz is the Property Management Director for Fryd Properties, one of the leading property management and development firms in Miami Beach. Initially becoming acquainted with SoBe Arts through her son, she soon rolled up her sleeves as a parent volunteer and was instrumental in managing the Little Stage Theater restoration. Her expertise in real property matters as well as her firsthand experience with how SoBe Arts classes are impacting children's lives have given her both the knowledge and the passion to help guide SoBe Arts as it enters a period of new growth and heightened success.
Carol Foster has over 40 years of development and administrative experience in cultural, educational, not-for-profit and municipal environments, including the City of Miami Springs, the Frost Art Museum at FIU, the Performing Arts Center of Greater Miami (now the Arsht Center), and the Haitian Neighborhood Center Sant La. She was named Florida School Administrator of the Year in 1999, and has been on the faculties of Florida Gulf Coast and Nova Southeastern Universities. Included in Who's Who in America since 1994, she is a graduate of Leadership Miami and has served on the Board of Directors of the Folk Music Club of South Florida and Curtiss Mansion, Inc. Ms. Foster has a proven track record in strategic planning and program and budget development, and particular interest in marketing, fundraising and collaboration.
Several SoBe Arts Board Members at recent Steinway dedication ceremony (left to right) Ron Unger, Carol Foster, Saul Gross, Carson Kievman, Robert Chumbley and Ray Breslin. Photo by Henry Perez