Posted by: Kerry O’Reilly on Tuesday, December 2, 2014

11 lt15 day 4 Leadership Tampa Class of 2015 Discovers the HeARTbeat of Tampa By: Kerry O’Reilly, Tampa Bay Times [caption id="attachment_2523" align="alignleft" width="106"]O'Reilly, Kerry Kerry O’Reilly[/caption] Our minds were awakened by Renoir and Chagall. Our blood got pumping by the drumming rhythms at Stageworks.  Our imaginations were aroused by the beautiful, lovingly-designed prints at Graphicstudio. And that was all before lunch. On November 11, members of the Leadership Tampa 2015 class toured several of Tampa’s arts and cultural jewels. Our thoughts were also expanded by Dominique Labauvie and his rugged steel sculptures, palates pleased by the culinary arts courtesy of Mise en Place and conventions challenged by an activity at the Patel Conservatory. Through the process we all realized that everyone defines “good art” differently. However, I believe our experience taught us that we all agree on a few things:

  • We are fortunate to have dozens of world-class arts and cultural choices in our area. Within walking distance of Curtis Hixon Park, you could attend the Tampa Museum of Art, Straz Center for the Performing Arts, Florida Museum of Photographic Arts, Glazer Children’s Museum, Tampa Theatre, Tampa Bay History Center and Stageworks – maybe even all in one day if you hurry!
  • Arts and culture play a vital role in attracting visitors and permanent residents to Tampa. When family comes to town, you don’t take them to visit the new multi-million dollar section of interstate that just opened up (unless you don’t want them to stay very long). You take them to a museum or a show. When young and old are looking for a place to live, many ask the same question: “What is there to do around here?” Fortunately, the answer is “Lots!”
  • The arts add fuel to the economic engine. According to a recent study done by the Arts Council of Hillsborough County, the arts industry in Hillsborough County employs 8,300 people full time and more than $298 million is spent within the arts industry every year.
  • Life without art would be rather dull. Imagine driving home from work to silence on the radio, a tasteless meal for dinner, bare walls in your home to stare at, nothing to watch on Netflix, no novel to read at night as you head to bed. No thanks.

Looking for ways to support the arts? Visit You’ll find a directory of options and many ways you can get involved. [gallery type="rectangular" size="medium" ids="3354,3355,3356,3357,3358,3359,3360,3361,3362,3363,3364,3365,3366,3367,3368,3369,3370,3371,3372,3373,3374,3375,3376,3377,3378,3379,3380,3381,3382,3383,3384,3385,3386,3387,3389,3390,3391,3392,3393,3394,3395,3396,3397,3398,3399,3400,3401,3402,3403,3404,3405,3406" orderby="rand"]