ArtesMiami Elects New Chairman to its Board of Directors
Cuban-American philanthropist and public relations professional María C. Bechily has been named chair of the board of directors of ArtesMiami Inc., a nonprofit organization that supports and promotes the work of Cuban-American artists and cultural institutions .
“I am honored to have been selected by the Board of Directors to chair such a prestigious nonprofit group as ArtesMiami,” Bechily said. “The programs and artists supported by ArtesMiami are essential in strengthening Miami’s position as an international center for art and culture. I look forward to providing strategic leadership to our Board of Directors so that we can further develop the organization.
During an interview with el Nuevo Herald, the philanthropist said that the arts are very important for the economic development of a city like Miami, which is a magnet for tourism while many of its inhabitants are attached to the expression artistic “because art is a key element of the quality of life.”
As for the organization’s immediate projects, she said she is currently putting the finishing touches on a program for Cuban-American filmmakers and directors who are working on a project on the Cuban diaspora.
“We hope to launch it in the coming weeks, and we are sure that it will be a tremendous boost for small productions that will enrich the small film companies in the country,” she added. “I would also like to raise the profile of the organization with its founder Aida Levitán, but we already know that to achieve this we need time, money and a lot of passion.”
For her part, Levitán, the president of ArtesMiami, clarified that she had not left the organization.
“I have not stopped working as president and offering all my services, as I have always done, free of charge and without ceasing to donate,” said the founder. “But now we have María, one of America’s most prominent Hispanic cultural philanthropists, who will help us lead the organization’s growth strategies with her Board of Directors.”
Referring to ArtesMiami’s greatest achievement during her tenure as president, Levitán mentioned support for major Hispanic cultural organizations in South Florida, for theater, literature, art exhibits, museums, “like the Pérez Art Museum”, and classical music concerts. and popular music, “such as that dedicated to the danzón”.
As for the organization’s future, Bechily said she sees it as “brilliant.”
“ArtesMiami is located in a city where the arts are the favorite of its inhabitants. You should see how new cultural options are popping up every day, with people and institutions willing to support them financially. There is no doubt that the future is bright,” she said.
Born in Matanzas, Bechily arrived in the United States in 1961 during Operation Pedro Pan. Among his accomplishments is creating one of the first public relations and marketing agencies to identify and reach Hispanic consumers in Chicago. His client list included Peoples Energy, Anheuser-Busch Companies, the Kraft Foundation, the Terra Museum of American Art, the Attorney General of Illinois, and Hoy, a Spanish-language publication of the Chicago Tribune.
In addition to her work reaching Latinos in Chicago, she has hosted Spanish-language television shows on WSNS-TV, Channel 44, for which she earned two Emmy Award nominations.
Bechily has extensive experience in government and public policy, having worked for a former US senator from Illinois. She is currently a board member of the Pérez Art Museum Miami. She is a life trustee of the Goodman Theater in Chicago, where she is also the founding chair of the board’s education committee. She was a member of the executive committee of the Chicago Community Trust and founding co-chair of Nuestro Futuro, a foundation that promotes philanthropy among Latinos. Bechily is also a life trustee of the Northwestern Memorial Foundation. During her tenure on the board, she co-chaired Enhancing our Lives, a $207 million capital campaign.
The philanthropist holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Loyola University Chicago and a master’s degree from the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy.
ArtesMiami Inc. began in 1995 to organize and sponsor the Seville Fair in Miami and later the Spanish Fair in Miami. Led by publicist and philanthropist Levitán, the organization has donated more than $2.7 million in services and cash to cultural organizations and artists, primarily in South Florida. Its most recent program is the ArtesMiami Film Fund, which will donate thousands of dollars to documentary filmmakers.