AHCAC: Still the great secret on 62nd Street
Drama, dancing and music fit for Broadway
Gigi Tinsley | 11/14/2013, 9 a.m.
That large, blue building on NW 62nd and 22nd Avenue is a mystery for far too many residents of Miami-Dade County but plans are in the works to change that. The fenced-in, one-block building with the African trim has been there since 1975. Countless numbers of students have attended classes in drama and dance there. Many of them
have gone on to study, sing and dance with some of the greatest professional groups in the nation with some “graduates” making quite a name for themselves.
Marshall L. Davis, the manager/director of the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center [AHCAC] has been there for more than 30 of the 38 years it has been in existence.
“AHCAC has provided, in the heart of the Liberty City/Brownsville community, a substantive performing and visual arts program that has been beneficial to its immediate neighbors and other regions of South Florida as well,” he said.
Michael Spring, cultural arts director for Miami-Dade County, has been manning his post for some 30 years. He, too, has nothing but glowing remarks about the Center.
“AHCAC is the gold standard for the power of the arts to change students’ lives,” he said. “It has a long and distinguished track record for providing young people with professional training in the arts and in life.”
Program also helps with academics
Do students who are involved in the arts do well in their academics? Both men said yes.
“Our program is designed to aid students ages 5-17 in achieving the viable learning skills and creative experiences that will support them in their academic achievements and develop their creative expressive abilities in the arts,” Davis added.
“Study after study demonstrates that students who are involved in the arts are more committed to school, score higher on standardized tests and are more likely to graduate from high school, Spring said. “This indisputable evidence should begin to transform the arts from being education’s secret weapon to serving as a principal strategy in connecting kids more compellingly to their academic work.”
“Every family in our community deserves to have affordable and accessible arts events and instructions close to where they live, work and their kids attend school,” Spring noted.
“The service I provide is an act of love,” Davis said. “It’s challenging and sometimes, seemingly, impossible . . . . but love, as is attested in the scriptures [Bible], never fails.”
To see some of the amazing things AHCAC has to offer, readers may want to attend the Spirit of Excellence Gala and Dr. Carlton G. Fisher Awards and Banquet at the Center on Sat., Nov. 16 from 7-10 p.m. and according to Davis, “experience acts that are great enough to appear in many of the theaters on Broadway.”
During the gala, Davis and Spring will be honored for the combined 60-plus years of service to the arts. For tickets and more information, call 786-470-7334. Funds help defray tuition costs for eligible students.