MIAMI, Oct. 17, 2016 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ — Mitchell Kaplan, founder of Books & Books Bookstore and co-founder, with Dr. Eduardo Padrón, of the Miami Book Fair International, received the prestigious ArtesMiami Lydia Cabrera Award on Friday, October 14, 2016, at a luncheon presented by U.S. Century Bank, one of the top ten Hispanic-owned community banks in the U.S. The award, named in memory of Lydia Cabrera, world-renowned writer and expert in Afro-Cuban culture, honors individuals who have made a significant contribution to the cultural development of South Florida. It included $1000 cash prize and a ceramics work of art by Miami artist Rodrigo de la Luz. The luncheon was held at noon at Fleming’s Steakhouse in Coral Gables. It was the first time that a non-Hispanic received this award. The event was promoted by ArtesMiami, PR Newswire and was supported by the Knight Foundation Fund at The Miami Foundation.
Aida Levitan, Ph.D., ArtesMiami founder and President of ArtesMiami and Luis de la Aguilera, President and CEO of U.S. Century Bank presented the award to Kaplan. ArtesMiami board of directors, benefactors and more than 100 local leaders attended. The Mayor of Miami declared October 14thMitchell Kaplan Day in the City of Miami. The Consul General of Spain, Candido Creis; Ambassador Marcelo Giusto, Consul General of Argentina, former Mayor Maurice Ferré, and other prominent leaders attended. Former ArtesMiami Lydia Cabrera Award winners also were there to pay tribute to Kaplan: Nat Chediak, Carlos Alberto Montaner, Olga Connor, Luis de la Paz, and Gloria Leal. Mitchell Kaplan’s wife, parents and one of his sons, as well as presidents of various cultural organizations, business and cultural leaders, were present, including Deborah Hoffman, founder of Funding Arts Network, Barbara Stein, founder and President of Actors Playhouse; Mario Ernesto Sánchez, founder and director of the Hispanic Theatre Festival; Meiyolet Mendez, UM Cuban Heritage Collection, and many others.
Dr. Levitan introduced the winner and said, “Mitchell Kaplan has dedicated his life to keeping alive the literature and culture of our community and nation.” She added that “Thanks to his vision and his passion for the arts, Kaplan has enabled South Florida writers and artists to shine at Books and Books and the Miami Book Fair International. We especially want to thank him for his support of many ArtesMiami Hispanic poets and writers who have been invited to present their works at his bookstore.” Luis de la Aguilera commented that “U.S. Century Bank is proud to support ArtesMiami and this important award. This award is essential because it highlights the position of Miami as a major cultural center thanks to leaders like Mitchell Kaplan, one of the great promoters of literature and art in South Florida. U.S. Century Bank supports and appreciates ArtesMiami because this organization enriches our cultural environment.”
Visibly moved, Mitchell Kaplan said, “I am very honored to receive this recognition from ArtesMiami and to be the first non-Hispanic award recipient. I love this community, where I was born and raised, and its multicultural richness. What we have done at Books and Books is to give back to all the many who support our independent bookstores. I thank ArtesMiami for this great honor, which places me in very good company.”
ArtesMiami, Inc. is a nonprofit, 501 (c) 3 organization dedicated to supporting and promoting Hispanic artists and cultural organizations, thus contributing to the cultural development of South Florida. For more information visit: http://www.artesmiami.org. To support ArtesMiami, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or donate at http://www.artesmiami.org/.
MITCHELL KAPLAN BIOGRAPHY
Mitchell Kaplan, a Miami Beach native, founded Books & Books in Coral Gables in 1982. The locally-owned, independent bookstore presents hundreds of authors to the South Florida community every year. Last year, Books & Books was named “Bookstore of the Year” by Publishers Weekly and has expanded to include locations in Miami Beach, Bal Harbour Shops, Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts and most recently Key West (in partnership with beloved author Judy Blume) and Wynwood (Books & Books & Bikes & Lebo). Mitchell has dedicated his entire adult life to keeping literary culture alive in our community and to that end, he co-founded Miami Book Fair (with Dr. Eduardo Padron and others), now, over 30 years strong at Miami Dade College. This is the first year that ArtesMiami extends its award to a non-Hispanic, but in the spirit of the many literary & cultural opportunities opened up by his passion and vision, we honor him this year and say, “Gracias, Mitchell Kaplan.”