Bacardi and the Arts
The reception area in the Bacardi headquarters in Coral Gables is impressive. The oak walls are covered with artwork from Latin-American masters from Porto Carrero and Lam to an incredible Antonio Gattorno piece that lives center stage filling one of the main lobby walls. Each piece in the collection has a story, one more interesting than the next. The art owned by the Bacardi family is one of the more impressive private collections of Latin American art in the world. It is here that we met Aura Reinhardt, Vice President of Corporate Relations who shared with us some of Bacardi’s history and their involvement with the arts.
Since their inception, Bacardi’s founding family has been deeply invested in the arts as collectors and benefactors. The Bacardi family started collecting art from around the world to adorn its walls and built the first museum in Santiago de Cuba. Since coming to Miami over 50 years ago, Bacardi has established deep roots in our community. The company supports countless organizations in town and is proud that their support allows greater access to cultural events and programs in this community. Recently honored with a BCA 10 award presented by Americans for the Arts to showcase exceptional involvement in the arts that enrich the workplace and the community, Bacardi has a long track record of amazing partnerships with the cultural community.
ABC Miami: Why do you think it’s important for corporations to support the arts?
Aura Reinhardt: It is important for businesses to be involved in their communities and a strong arts community is good for business. Miami-Dade is a young community when it comes to arts. It is a very open community and provides great opportunities for business professionals and companies to get involved. From buying tickets to performances, to providing leadership and board members to in-kind and money donations there is an opportunity for every company to do their part.
Our executives at Bacardi are very forward thinking about community engagement. We encourage our professionals worldwide to give back, from a few hours for our company wide volunteer day to more invested time commitments we like our professionals to participate. The Arts & Business Councils new Arts Board Match program is an example of the innovative outreach in our community to connect young professionals with arts groups that need board members.
ABC: What arts groups are you personally involved with?
AR: Like Bacardi, I like to be involved in new projects and at the beginning stages of great new ideas. I am proud to be a founding member of Coral Gables Cinema. Movies are a universal art form that everyone can relate to. Bringing fine art films, foreign cinema and rarely seen masterpieces to the community is great but what I really love about this cinema is their outreach and educational opportunities. I am big proponent of arts and education and love getting children involved with cultural activities. It has been exciting to be a part of the cinema’s explosive growth. This year the cinema received a Knight Arts Challenge Grant to support a Children’s Film Festival. The sold out event was wonderful and filled with families and children participating in the arts.
I also sit on several other boards including the Coral Gables Museum. The Museum’s mission includes art and architecture, as well as being an important cultural resource for the city. Bacardi sponsored one of their opening exhibits a few years ago. We also showcased the finalists for our Hatuey beer contest where we invited artists to create an ad for this iconic brand. The public that visited the exhibit got to vote on their favorite piece, which played an important role in our selection process.
ABC: What arts groups is your company involved with and why?
AR: Bacardi is involved in various ways with more than 50 local arts organizations in the Miami-Dade community which makes it is difficult to narrow it down to just one or two partnerships. When our offices moved to Coral Gables we felt it was important to be good corporate citizens and have gotten involved in several groups in the community.
We have, for example, been long-time sponsors of the New World Symphony. We have enjoyed the partnership and are continually impressed with their innovative approach to outreach with free concerts in Soundscape park and $2.50 mini concerts. We also felt it was important to participate in the planning stages for their new facility, the iconic New World Center. When the unique Gehry designed building was unveiled to an enthralled worldwide audience we were thrilled to have played a role.
We worked with the Dranoff Two Piano Festival to commission a new work for two pianos. We featured an intimate concert with the winning composer, who happened to be of Latin decent, in our reception area for some of Dranoff’s high-level donors and patrons. We actually moved two Steinway grand pianos into our lobby for the performance. The Dranoff partnership was a perfect win-win for us and for the group and we enjoyed promoting a Latin artist.
ABC: What creative partnerships has your company been involved with?
AR: Bacardi’s mission and vision have allowed us the freedom to be creative with our sponsorships and marketing programs. All of our brands have their own unique marketing, image and consumer.
For example, Bombay Sapphire Gin is focused on imagination. In partnership with Richard Simmons Foundation, which provides important outreach to the African American community, we hosted a painting competition. The artists selected as finalists are featured in an exhibit and last year the winner was exhibited at Art Basel. The artists receive unprecedented visibility and Bacardi is able to support emerging artists and get in front of a new audience. Bacardi has an amazing staff that come up with creative marketing ideas and an incredible team that can execute these ideas.
ABC: What do you think makes a vibrant community and what role do the arts play?
AR: The Arts bring people together. Cultural programs and events bring people out of their homes and offices, providing them with an opportunity for interaction, entertainment and inspiration. In Miami the arts are an essential component to our great quality life. A great city needs a thriving cultural community and Bacardi is proud to play an active role in our community’s diverse and growing world-class arts scene. It provides a benefit for our employees and our consumers. I am a strong believer that art makes a community, but a community makes art come alive.