Lighting up Miami Marine Stadium

photo by: Tomas Loewy

December 11, 2015

The Power of Light at Miami Marine Stadium

Often, successful preservation depends on convincing people to look at old places in a new light. The boarded up church that is reborn as a community center. The dilapidated warehouse that is transformed into a charter school. The barn that becomes a bar.

Sometimes, though, all the history, beauty, and significance in the world isn’t enough to overcome the fact that, for many, perception is reality. So in those moments, to buy time for a place worth saving, we have to flip a literal switch to spark people’s imagination and empathy.

Just as in our day-to-day lives, light means someone is home (or at least pretending to be). It means something is happening and that people are watching. The same logic applies when, all of a sudden, a beat-up old building comes beaming out of the dark. It’s instant energy.

Today, we’d like to share our most recent experiment in this realm in the hopes that it will inspire you to think about how a simple strand or a single bulb might make a difference for a place you’re trying to save. Built in 1963, Miami Marine Stadium drew thousands to Biscayne Bay for everything from powerboat races, to Easter sunrise services, to concerts under the stars. On any given evening, hundreds of boats would surround the floating stage vying for the perfect “seat” and waiting for the festivities to begin.

The experience was authentic Miami, and there was nothing else like it in the world. Many would say there still isn’t. Shuttered after Hurricane Andrew, this National Treasure has been shut off from the South Florida entertainment scene for over 20 years—intriguingly off limits by day, utterly out of sight by night.

But this fall, the National Trust decided to change that for one special weekend when the stadium was once again the center of attention for the local community. And as dozens of boats full of cheering onlookers crowded the modern masterpiece’s iconic basin, it was clear once again—sometimes, all you need is a little light.

Jason Loyd Clement is the former senior director of marketing campaigns and partnerships at the National Trust, which means he spent his days (and most nights) talking with people about how they can save the places that matter to their communities. @GiveIt2Loyd

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