ArtesMiami Award Gala 2016 / SW The Magazine.
Prominent cultural leader Nat Chediak, a Grammy and Latin Grammy-winning music producer, historian, and an authority on world cinema, recently received the prestigious ArtesMiami Lydia Cabrera Award at a luncheon co-presented by U.S. Century Bank, one of the top ten Hispanic-owned community banks in the U.S. and Biltmore Parc, a luxury condominium development in Coral Gables. 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 includes a $500 cash prize and a work of art. The luncheon was be held at Fleming’s, 2525 Ponce de Leon in Coral Gables.
Dr. Aida Levitan, ArtesMiami president; Alirio Torrealba, Biltmore Parc developer; and U.S. Century Bank’s Alex Acosta and CEO Carlos J. Davila presented the award to Chediak at the luncheon. Directors and members of ArtesMiami as well as 100 local leaders attended.
Dr. Levitan said, “Nat Chediak is an exceptional example of what Cuban Americans have contributed to Miami’s cultural development.” She added, “Now that Miami is one of the leading cultural centers of the Americas, it is easy to forget the uphill battles fought by the pioneers between the 1970s and 1990s. Nat was definitely one of these pioneers, and ArtesMiami is proud to inform the community about his many accomplishments.”
In 1973 Chediak opened his first art cinema in Coral Gables, Florida, the Cinematheque, adding two others – Arcadia and Grove Harbor – over the course of fifteen years.
Over the past decade as music producer, Chediak has recorded with the world’s finest musicians, winning three Grammys and three Latin Grammys, the most recent Latin Grammy (2009) and Grammy (2010) in the Latin Jazz category for the album Juntos para siempre. He is the co-author of the lyrics to the theme song of Chico & Rita, a 2012 Oscar nominee for Best Animated Film.
In October of 2014, when Chediak unexpectedly became director of programming at the Coral Gables Art Cinema, Miami Herald film critic René Rodríguez wrote: “Miami’s godfather of art cinema is returning to work.” Commenting on the proximity to the 1973 Cinematheque, where it all began for him in film exhibition, Chediak quipped: “It’s taken me over forty years to move three blocks south.”
Mr. Chediak is a founding member of the Latin Recording Academy (LARAS), and has served in its Executive Committee, Board of Trustees and Board of Advisors.
Community Newspapers contributed to this article.