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Sanford and Dolores Ziff Ballet/Opera House to be ranamed.

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I just found an article in the Miami New Times about a possible name change for our Ballet/Opera House. I won't make any personal comment on the issue, due to the fact that I happen to know very well, from my old hairdressing days, the bearer of the possible new name's candidate. In any case, here's the issue, and a little note of thanks and appreciation to the late Dolores, who was a wonderful arts patron and human being.

Sanford Ziff Wants to Remove His Dead Wife's Name From Performance Hall

By Kyle Munzenrieder

ziffhall.jpg The Sanford and Dolores Ziff Ballet Opera House

​For 15 years, Sanford and Dolores Ziff were perhaps Miami's top philanthropic power couple. Their name is prominently enshrined on the Sanford and Dolores Ziff Ballet Opera House at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, but Dolores died at the age of 85 this past January. Now Sanford wants to change the name of the hall by removing her name and replacing it with the name of his newer, younger, blonder wife.

Ziff married 68-year-old Baroness Beatrice Clancy in July, barely six months after Dolores's death. The multimillionaire Sunglass Hut founder wants to change the name of the hall to reflect the marriage to something like the Sanford and Beatrice Ziff Ballet Opera House at the Arsht Center.

"I'm considering name changes, especially at the Arsht Center," Ziff tells Jose Lambiet. "I haven't quite decided yet. I still have to confer with the board."

Dolores and Sanford married later in life, but Dolores had become a patron of the arts long before meeting Sanford and is widely credited with getting her husband involved in philanthropic efforts. Unsurprisingly, her son from an earlier marriage isn't too pleased.

Barr Keator tells Lambiet in the Miami Herald that he's "shocked and offended [Ziff would] even consider this. My mother moved him to supporting the Arsht project. She had the society connections."


Sanford and Dolores Ziff


Sanford and Beatrice Ziff

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It's tempting to hop on a plane and to go to the Sanford and Dolores Ziff Ballet Opera House with a can of red spray paint and "X" out "Dolores" and paint in "Beatrice."

Until now, the options to rename arts buildings have been 1. Tear down the building and build a new one and 2. Renege on your contribution and have your named stripped from the building, a la Vilar.

Sanford Ziff may have inadvertently started a new trend, like at stadiums: limited time naming rights, which they could sell and re-sell multiple times over the years. They could put up an electronic board with the current name-holder and update it with a simple configuration change.

There's a reason for the form "Mr. and Mrs. [Man's Name]: all of Sid Bass' donations are in the all-purpose form of "Mr. and Mrs. Sid R. Bass", which can span multiple marriages.

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The Koch theatre can be renamed after 50 years, although the family will retain the right of first refusal:

Under the arrangement the theater could be renamed for a new donor after 50 years, with members of the Koch family retaining the right of first refusal. “A naming opportunity should be a defined length of time to allow the institution to regenerate itself with another round of major fund-raising,” Mr. Koch said.


I don't recall specific examples at the moment, but I'm hearing that sort of thing for other named buildings (at universities, e.g.)

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The logistics and legal status of naming opportunities continue to evolve -- a local theater company that solicited underwriting for individual seats in the auditorium has had to rearrange the actual seat assignments several times as contributions wax and wane (and as marriages dissolve and new alliances are made) For a few years, updating the "map" was an annual intern task.

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If you want your name on an opera house what is now the incentive to give a large donation to get your name on there if you will be wiped off and the hall will be renamed the first chance someone else with more money comes along?

Originally, the Arsht Center was the Carnival Center, but they gave Carnival Cruises its money back b/c Adrienne Arsht gave a much bigger donation. However, the Arsht Center looks like a huge cruise ship to me, so when Carnival was the big donor and the place looked like a ship, it all made sense. I think Carnival was the big donor from the beginning to completion, but then a year or so later or maybe less, it was renamed and money was given back (I believe) to Carnival.

Oh, well.....

I think both Sanford and his new wife need to learn some manners. You don't do that to a deceased spouse. Why can't he donate to something else in Miami and put his new wife's name on it?

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