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Sites that Speak:

Miami Through its Spanish Performing Arts Spaces

Lillian Manzor, Author

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Conclusion: An Ethnic Enclave Drives a World City

     During the last decades, Miami has experienced unprecedented economic growth, attracting thousands of immigrants mainly from Latin America. An estimated half of its population is foreign-born, which led the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to rank Miami the most multi-cultural city in the world in 2004. Miami has become a world city with bustling banking and tourism industries. Theater in Spanish has played an important role in this transformation. Throughout the 70s, theater programs even those for light comedies such as Luna de miel, 25 años después appealed to and began to construct subliminally a Latino community with a cosmopolitan, primarily European, taste.

     By 1980, the face of Miami as the capital of the sun had been transformed. Culture and creative industries, primarily those produced in Spanish, became an important source of economic as well as symbolic capital. Thus, Barnett Bank and Eastern Airlines begin to advertise in Spanish and underscore that a city needed to be known for something other than its sun: http://merrick.library.miami.edu/cdm/singleitem/collection/theater/id/1597
http://merrick.library.miami.edu/cdm/singleitem/collection/theater/id/4180
     Sites that Speak has presented this transformation multimodally. It has also shown the controversies elicited by these changes: political, racial and immigration conflicts. The development of Cuban and Hispanic theater in Miami, through the different sites mapped in this project, was one of the ways in which dissimilar groups of people from diverse backgrounds came together to participate in community building asserting Miami as their "home." Sites that Speak argues how a culture with different codes and signs has come of age, combining local and global histories, ethnic values, and languages, making Miami a crossroads for Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas.
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