Thursday, February 2, 2012

AT THE HEART OF THE ART in Miami: Laura Bruney

AROUNDTOWN is excited to feature an extraordinary mover and shaker of arts in Miami as our Spotlight and Artist for the month of February.  

The Executive Director of the Arts & Business Council of Miami for more than two decades, Laura Bruney, has helped strengthen South Florida’s cultural community. Under her direction ABC has become a vigorous and effective catalyst for building working partnerships between the corporate & cultural communities.

Since 1985, the Arts & Business Council has been South Florida’s leading service organization for the arts.  Working to “keep the arts in business” by promoting mutually beneficial partnerships between the private sector and non-profit arts groups, Ms. Bruney has created innovative programs which leverage expertise, resources and leadership talent from the business world and direct them to the arts.

Ms. Bruney joined ABC during its second full year of operation and was instrumental in the development of the organization’s vision during its early years. She is credited with creating more than 20 innovative programs and services and generating more than $9 million in resources that benefit the non-profit cultural sector. Under Ms. Bruney’s leadership the Arts & Business Council has expanded by more than 1,000% attracting hundreds of volunteers and community leaders.

When asked why she chose a career as an arts executive, Ms. Bruney replied with passion, “I was a business volunteer for the arts while working at the University of Miami, where I met many artists and fell in love with the energy and creativity behind the scenes.” As a child she was heavily exposed to the arts. Growing up in Ann Arbor, Michigan, she recounts, “My parents would take us to museums and cultural events. We even traveled to New York to see Broadway shows.” Ms. Bruney travels extensively and always emphasizes her attraction to the arts, “no matter what city I go to, I always find the museums and cultural destinations to visit. I love the sense of place you get when you invest your time as a cultural tourist.”

Under Ms. Bruney’s leadership, the Arts & Business Council serves as a vigorous and effective catalyst for building working partnerships between Miami’s corporate and cultural communities. They accomplish this with programs that promote voluntarism, build capacity, develop new audiences, strengthen boards and leadership, encourage collaboration and increase networking and outreach. Business professionals interested in the arts can get involved in a myriad of volunteer opportunities including Arts Connection, Business Volunteers for the Arts, Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, Arts Board Match, BRAVO: Boomers & Retired Arts Volunteers and the pARTnership Movement.  

According to Michael Spring, Director of the Miami-Dade Department of Cultural Affairs, “Ms. Bruney is a vital partner to the Department in providing meaningful and instructive technical assistance to Miami Dade’s burgeoning nonprofit cultural organizations. Under her stellar leadership, ABC Miami innovates important and dynamic ways in which talented and interested business volunteers can access opportunities to participate with arts groups and for arts groups to identify necessary technical expertise to improve their operations or attract prospective board members. For more than 25 years, we have collaborated on many projects from which we have seen direct, measurable growth and improvement in the management quality in the arts.”

Community is very important to Laura Bruney. She was elected to Americans for the Arts Private Sector Council in 2008. Additional involvement includes: serving on the Executive Committee of the Arts Action Alliance, the Miami Beach Women’s Commission, the Coral Gables Chamber Arts Committee and the Miami Beach Chamber Women’s Business Council. She is a graduate of Leadership Miami and the National Arts Strategies Leadership for the Arts.

Ms. Bruney will be honored with an American Red Cross Spectrum for Women award this March. She has also received Miami Today’s Up & Comers Award - Arts & Culture Category, Miami Beach Chamber’s Non-Profit Leadership Award, Who’s Who of American Women, International Who’s Who of Professional and Business Women, Miami Arts Exchange Maxie Recognition Award, and Who’s Who of Women Executives.

Ms. Bruney received a Masters in Public Administration from the University of Miami, School of Business and a Bachelor of Science in Communications from the University of Florida. Prior to her work with the Arts & Business Council Ms. Bruney worked for the University of Miami School of Medicine and with CBS Sports on a freelance basis.
What you may not know is that Laura Bruney herself
is an artist; a professional photographer…
Laura has been an avid photographer for over two decades. Her passion for photography is fulfilled by her search for the glories of nature. “I have stood in awe of sculptured landscapes touched by the emerging light of dawn, the day’s last rays and the haunting glow of moonlight.”

Laura’s favorite subject is landscapes and national parks. She has traveled extensively to photograph the wonders of nature. Many of her images were created during before dawn or right before the last rays of sun are overcome by darkness. “I love being in wild and out-of-the-way places. It is while exploring secluded areas that you get to experience something exceptional.”

She recalls that her passion for photography began when she purchased a camera from a colleague while working at the University of Miami.  On a trip to Europe she took several rolls and fell in love with the art of photography. Subsequently, she joined a photography group, took classes and pursued her hobby avidly. This hobby has produced some gallery shows over the last 5 years and indulges her passion for the art.

“The reason I photograph is to experience the beauty of nature, of genuine untouched places.  Through my camera lens I get to discover the magic and mystery of scenic panoramas and the beauty of the changing light.”

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