0711 GMT May 25, 2019
"Ruth Shack's leadership contributions are far reaching, to national and international levels," said Adolfo Henriques (chairman and CEO of Gibraltar Private Bank and Trust).
"Cultural pioneers like Ruth Shack paved the way. Presenting Miami's Cultural Champion Award to Ruth means so much to so many, including national arts leaders, international philanthropists, artists, performers and cultural visionaries. Her accomplishments are legendary," said Henriques.
The Cultural Champions series of annual events began in 2012, with national and international media coverage praising its singular theme of recognizing cultural pioneers who created the foundation for artistic growth, artdaily.com reported.
The Miami Herald praised the first Cultural Champions event in 2012 for presenting a new angle whose time had come — "Art Week Miami kicked off as it perhaps always should but never has: with a tribute to the city’s arts-loving pioneers." Today, the influence of Miami's cultural communities radiates throughout the United States., Latin America, Europe, Asia and the Caribbean.
The artwork for this year's Cultural Champion award was a portrait of Shack created by American artist Martin Kreloff.
Kreloff's 2012 retrospective of the original, prescient 'Miami Says Art 1976' exhibition (that foreshadowed Miami’s artistic evolution) was the genesis for the very first Cultural Champions event during Miami's Art Basel Week that year.
Kreloff was one of the emerging artists in Miami that Ruth and Richard Shack championed early on, back in the 1970s. "Creating this new portrait of Ruth Shack was pure joy for me," said Kreloff. "Since we've been close friends for decades, I have created portraits of Ruth and her family throughout the years and she is one of my favorite people in the world. Ruth has been my mentor, patron and friend for over forty years. Her enthusiastic belief in my work helped establish me as an artist of note, and put me on the map in Miami."
Shack's pioneering cultural highlights offer a glimpse into a time-line that shaped and defined today's Miami. She was elected to the Metro-Dade Commission (now known as the Miami-Dade County Commission) in 1976, 1978 and 1982. These years — 1976-1986 — are recognized as pivotal to the area's growing prominence, and many of the era's most important cultural milestones were championed by Shack. She led the charge amongst her fellow Commissioners to approve Christo's 'Surrounded Islands' project that shined the global spotlight on Miami as an arts destination. She sponsored the county's first historic preservation ordinance, and urged reconsideration by municipalities to recognize the value of their historic resources, including South Beach's Art Deco District.
Shack has been honored for her contributions in a remarkably broad set of fields. She has received the highest award for her commitment to civil rights by the ACLU; to philanthropy by 'Leave a Legacy' and 'The Association of Fund Raising Executives'; to leadership by the Miami Foundation, to the humanities by the Miami-Dade Public Library System; to human rights by the LGBTQ Task Force; and to the arts by the Knight Foundation.