Ruth Shack Awarded Miami’s Cultural Champion Award
Reception Hosted by Gibraltar Private Bank & Trust
Miami Dade County Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava presented by a proclamation declaring February 9 “Ruth Shack Day.”
“When I first came here 33 years ago - I admired her from afar and then a dream came true. I got to know her know her and now I count her as a dear friend and mentor,” said Levine Cava.
Members of the awards committee shared their “Ruth Shack moment,” ranging from when they first met her, to marking pivotal moments in their careers, and seeking her insightful advice.
“Ruth Shack’s leadership contributions are far reaching, to national and international levels,” said Adolfo Henriques. “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 at the community level.
Ruth 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 Ruth 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. In addition she has been recognized for her commitments on human rights by the LGBTQ Task Force and her works in the arts by the Knight Foundation, among many others.
Along with her late husband Richard Shack, she has supported, through the 60 years during which she has lived in Miami, many emerging artists and served on Boards of nascent artistic organizations and community art centers. Together they developed one of the area’s most significant art collections.
Shack served as President of the Dade Community Foundation, now known as The Miami Foundation, from 1985-2009 where she spearheaded the campaign to foster philanthropy and charitable giving by developing a permanent endowment to meet Greater Miami’s emerging charitable needs.
A portrait of Ruth Shack by Martin Kreloff, 2016, was unveiled at the conclusion of the ceremony.