As director of the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs, Michael Spring is responsible for supervision of a public arts agency with an annual budget of more than $35 million. In 2014, Mayor Carlos Gimenez expanded his responsibilities by appointing him to serve as a Senior Advisor for the County’s Cultural Affairs and Recreation portfolio, including the arts, parks and libraries. He represents the County and the Department on numerous cultural and civic organizations including service as Secretary of the board of directors of Americans for the Arts (the nation’s leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts in America), a founding board member and officer of Americans for the Arts Action Fund, member and past President of the United States Urban Arts Federation, chairman of the board of the Florida Cultural Alliance, chairman of the 5-county regional arts alliance, the South Florida Cultural Consortium, director of the Miami-Dade County Tourist Development Council and member of the board of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce.
In 2004, he helped lead the work to pass a referendum for the Building Better Communities bond program, dedicating more than $450 million for developing the next generation of Miami-Dade’s cultural facilities, ranging from major new art and science museums to theaters and neighborhood arts centers. In 2007, he assumed the additional responsibility of leading Miami-Dade County’s outstanding Art in Public Places program, commissioning new work and caring for a collection of more than six hundred art works. In 2011, the Department of Cultural Affairs opened the new Arquitectonica-designed, South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center in Cutler Bay, a campus that includes a 961-seat theater, lab and studio theaters, an activities and classroom building, and outdoor concert lawn. In conjunction with a major re-organization of Miami-Dade County government, the Department also assumed responsibility in 2011 for operating three cultural facilities, formerly managed by the Parks Department: Miami-Dade County Auditorium; Caleb Auditorium; and African Heritage Cultural Arts Center. Operating and programming cultural facilities constitutes a major expansion of the Department’s role in the community.
Over the more than thirty years that he has served the Department of Cultural Affairs, Michael Spring has helped build Miami-Dade County’s cultural community into a more than a $1.4 billion annual industry comprised of more than 1,000 non-profit cultural groups and thousands of artists. This work has encompassed: providing comprehensive support for the entire cultural community from artists to major institutions and grassroots and multicultural arts groups with a focus on neighborhood activities; establishing an ongoing cultural facilities improvements program, with more than $100 million of public funds devoted to improving existing and building new theaters county-wide; and developing initiatives to increase more participation in cultural activities for Miami-Dade’s residents and visitors.
He serves the Cultural Affairs Council, a 15-member volunteer advisory board entrusted with setting policy for the Department of Cultural Affairs; the Tourist Development Council, a 9-member board dedicated to supporting visitor-oriented cultural and special events; and the Art in Public Places Trust, a 15-member board responsible for one of the nation’s leading public art programs. He has worked effectively on legislative issues at the local, state and federal levels. He has served on state and National Endowment for the Arts grants review panels and has participated in national arts policy discussions on the future of local arts agencies and on the issues of funding, facilities development, advocacy, stabilization of major institutions and the evolving relationship between the non-profit arts and commercial entertainment industries. Michael Spring has a B.A. degree from the University of Miami and earned an M.A. in painting from New York University, involving studies in Venice, Italy. He continues to paint and develop his interests as a visual artist.