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The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach Celebrates Sister City Designation with Odessa, Ukraine

The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach continues its Art For Good program that addresses global issues by celebrating art, innovation, and the limitless potential of human collaboration. For the latest installment, the iconic hotel hosted a thoughtful collection of community-driven, arts-based events on October 6th and October 8th to celebrate The City of Miami Beach’s sister city designation with Odessa, Ukraine, to welcome the visiting Ukrainian delegates and to champion freedom through the arts.

The celebrations began on October 6th with a ceremony in the ballroom presenting the visiting Ukrainian delegates with a key to the city to honor the very special sister city designation between Miami Beach and Odessa. This was followed by dinner hosted at The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach’s signature restaurant Fuego y Mar in partnership with the City of Miami Beach and Chamber of Commerce.

Later that same evening, the hotel and it’s ownership hosted “An Exhibit for Peace”, a private art exhibition for collectors, influencers, and tastemakers, directed by Ronit Neuman in partnership with the prestigious Manolis Projects Gallery, founded and co-owned by artist J. Steven Manolis and his wife Myrthia Natalie Moore. Dedicated to nature’s unifying colors of the sun, beach, water, and sky of Miami Beach and the Ukrainian flag - blue and yellow - over 30 specially commissioned paintings by acclaimed contemporary artists Ron Burkhardt, Carol Calicchio, Samuel Gomez, Jill Krutcik, Aurelia Majorel, Timi Ogundipe, Annemarie Ryan, and Camilla Webster were displayed in the resort’s restaurant for guests to admire and purchase.

As a continuation of the hotel’s Art For Good program and dedicated to the healing power of the arts, The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach hosted a city-key gifting ceremony, art exhibition, and private concert to celebrate the City of Miami Beach’s sister city designation with Odessa, Ukraine and to highlight the importance of hope and freedom.

Notable guests in attendance included Ronit Neuman, Co-owner of The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach; Dan Gelber, Mayor of City of Miami Beach; Kristen Rosen Gonzalez, Miami Beach Commissioner; Michael Gongora, former Miami Beach Commissioner; Paul Kanavos, Partner at Flag Luxury Group; J. Steven Manolis, Co-owner of Manolis Projects Gallery; Elysze Held, Stylist and Influencer; Oksana Sabo, Former Miss Ukraine; and Alina Sushchenko, Ukrainian Model.

The works were then examined and voted upon by a jury of high-profile judges including: Ronit Neuman, Art Director for Sagamore South Beach; Marcella Novela, Art in Public Spaces and Vice Chair of No Vacancy project; Brandi Reddick, Cultural Affairs Manager at the City of Miami Beach; Rhonda Mitrani, Director, Producer, and Art Curator; and Bruce Helander, Artist, Speaker, and former Fellow of Florida Artists Hall of Fame. The winning artist - Ron Burkhardt - received a Certificate of Recognition from the panel of judges.

Proceeds from the art sold in this collection are being donated to Jose Andres’s World Central Kitchen’s (WCK) support efforts in Ukraine. Working with restaurant partners across Ukraine and in seven countries welcoming refugees, WCK quickly mobilized to provide hundreds of thousands of nourishing meals for people in need every single day at shelters, hospitals, transit hubs, and more. As more people remain in Ukraine and the refugee crisis has evolved, WCK has focused its efforts to support Ukrainians staying within the country, working with local restaurants, volunteers, and community organizers. To date, WCK has served more than 160 million meals in response to the crisis in Ukraine. To learn more about WCK’s effort, please visit this link.

“Art has always been at the center of our programming at The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach. Through our hotel’s Art For Good platform, and by partnering with local artists and galleries, we create and help curate authentic exhibits that portray subject matters through the magic of art,” says Ronit Neuman, co-owner of The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach and Artistic Director at Sagamore South Beach. “This specific “Blue & Yellow” collection with Manolis Projects Gallery presents a unique opportunity for Miami Beach, now a sister city to Odessa, Ukraine, to educate and create awareness around the hardships facing the victims and refugees of this war.”

Later that week, on October 8th, The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach hosted a final event in partnership with Morris Lapidus Foundation, Seeds of Hope from Barry University, an initiative spearheaded by Ekaterina Elagina, a graduate student at the Adrian Dominican School of Education, Leadership, and Human Development at Barry University, and USA Help Ukraine Corp that invited Ukrainian child refugees between the ages of 9-14 to view the art exhibition and then participate in an interactive art project to learn about the history of the Art Deco and MiMo style central to Morris Lapidus’s career, the original architect of The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach and a Ukrainian refugee himself. The art lesson instilled hope in these children that incredible possibilities still lay ahead in their lives, as demonstrated by Lapidus’s impressive architecture career. It also gave these young minds a chance to channel their thoughts, emotions, and experiences into a creative outlet.

Morris Lapidus Foundation aims at funding educational programs and teaching about the history and the present day of Lapidus’ architectural and design styles. By organizing the interactive art event for the Seeds of Hope Program participants, Morris Lapidus Foundation also extends the legacy of the legendary Morris Lapidus by showing children who have escaped the war new connections between their home country and Miami. It also provides an opportunity for these Ukrainian children, the Sunflowers, to create a new vision of their talents, aspirations, life in Miami, and the future. Letting the Sunflowers bloom and grow.

“The Ukrainian-born Morris Lapidus is one of Miami Beach’s most prolific visionaries, whose influence can be seen across the city’s most iconic structures and on our own Lincoln Road,” said Peter Kanavos, Partner, Flag Luxury Group. “Our hope is to instill hometown pride in these children, amid the hardships their home country is facing, through the great work of Lapidus and help them feel immersed in his work at The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach. Our team is committed to protecting and revitalizing the legacy of this property, of Lincoln Road, and of Lapidus himself.”

The children were joined by the Ukrainian delegates as members of the Miami Symphony Orchestra performed an hour-long private concert, playing the Ukrainian National Anthem and other traditional Ukrainian songs to close out the series of events.

Thanks to the efforts of USA Help Ukraine Corp that supported the event, family members of displaced children were able to join the Seeds of Hope Art and Music Event. The children’s parents and the local community members shared a heartfelt experience expressed in visual art and music performance. Creating a new, big, and welcoming family is a constant endeavor for USA Help Ukraine and all the partners of the event.

Images of the key ceremony are linked here. A list of all works displayed at the October 6th art exhibition are available here. B-roll of the children’s art and concert event is linked here and images are linked here.

By ML Staff. Images Courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton


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